The Lobster Knows Best

Truth Byte #12: Growing is gruelling.

Have you ever wanted to truly know yourself, from the inside?

Do you look around sometimes and feel like you are stuck on a hamster wheel where everyone is running really fast and getting nowhere?

Do you kinda sorta believe in yoga, veganism, inner peace, and meditation but think it would take too much effort to really live like that?

We live in a world that tells us it’s okay to want meaning and depth. It’s okay to want happiness and passion. It’s okay to want connection and laughter. And the best way to get it is to simply buy ________ (book, seminar, weight-loss product, fitness gizmo, online relationship quiz, new app that will change your life). So maybe you get duped, and buy it, and maybe you even feel good for a few minutes or a few weeks, but then, the hunt begins again….something is missing.

And here’s the hard part: you have come to realize that no amount of money, friendship, physical fitness, or positive thinking is going to fast-track you to personal growth. In our fast-everything context, we have forgotten that growing something takes time.

Including growing you.

A seed was planted many years ago. The Elders tell us it was seven generations ago that the idea of you was born. And it took generations for the circumstances to line up just so, just so that you could be born at the moment you were, in the context you were, to live the life you came to lead.

And then you forgot.

But some part of you didn’t forget, call it the Soul, the Creative Spark, the Higher Mind, some part of you knew that you came here for something that only you could do.

So that part kept growing.

You would see glimpses of it sometimes, perhaps in the beauty of the sunlight as it slanted through the leaves, or the majesty of the raging water as you watched a waterfall. Sometimes you saw it in other people, in their smile, or laugh, or the warm way they made you feel. Sometimes you saw it in the loving eyes of the dogs and cats and children that keep showing up wanting you to pet them.

And that part kept growing.

And lately, the shell you had developed to keep you safe is getting a little too tight, as that soft part of you keeps growing larger form the inside. And you may be getting a bit uncomfortable.

And now is when it gets gruelling.

Last week, I cancelled everything. I was feeling suffocated, and needed air. I slid by on the barest of commitments, because things were getting way too tight. I reached out and asked for help and a friend of mine sent me a video clip of a Rabbi teaching about personal growth and lobsters.

Stay with me here, it’s all connected.

He had a long, thin, bristly, beard and laughing eyes. He talked about a show he was watching where he learned about lobsters, and what happens when lobsters grow. He explained that a lobster is a soft, squishy animal that slowly keeps growing, but it’s hard outer shell doesn’t. At some point, the shell becomes too tight and the lobster gets uncomfortable. When it starts feeling the pinch, it scuttles under a rock to hide from predators, sheds it shell, stretches out, and starts to develop a new shell. When the new shell is fully formed, it comes back into the world, bigger and stronger than before.

With nothing to ease the pain.

The pain is an indicator that it is time to change.

So maybe you feel the pinch. Or maybe you are in pain. Or maybe you are already under a rock. And maybe…probably…..it is gruelling.

If you want to grow, there will be times that you have to face the damp, deep darkness inside. You can’t avoid that. There is no microwaving yourself into a new you: growth, like cooking, takes time, and effort.

But unlike the lobster, you don’t have to do this alone.

And once you have done what you need to do, don’t forget to come back out into the world, into the light, bigger and stronger than before.