Lobster! Who doesn’t love a lobster? Can you picture it? That Red Lobster commercial where the garlic butter is slowly dripping off the end of the red, steaming claw. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I love lobsters, and not just for their delicious taste when drizzled with butter and garlic, but also because of the cool, mindful creatures that they are. I know my first venture into learning more about the lobster was when I watched an episode of Friends, and Phoebe said that Rachel was Ross’s lobster. Anyone else love that episode?
I love lobsters so much that I even bought the Alex and Ani bracelet of the lobster. It actually is very significant to me. Trust me. I wouldn’t be sporting a crustacean on my wrist if it didn’t hold a great importance for me.
Other people also know that I love lobsters. My sister-in-law gave me a gift of lobster claw salt and pepper shakers. I display them proudly in my kitchen. Again, showing the significance of the lobster for all the world to see. To me, these homely critters are something that we all should honor and respect.
What makes the lobster so admirable to me is ability to be mindful. It is one of the few animals that can feel the internal stresses that are being put on its body. A lobster will crawl around out in the open of the bottom of the sea until it feels a little tension, stress or pressure…like its body is getting too snug inside its shell.
Once it is mindful of the sensation of tension, stress and pressure it heads for cover between or under some rocks, to protect itself from predatory fish and this is where it will stay, safe and secure, until it sheds its old shell and develops a new one. Isn’t that incredible. It knows when to remove itself from its normal surroundings and goes to be alone until it is ready to brave the underwater world again protected by its new shell.
A lobster is so much smarter in this manner than humans. How many of us deal with the stresses of everyday life, and keep pushing ourselves and pushing ourselves until finally we break down. There are many ways of our body’s reacting to these stresses. Some of us have anxiety attacks and resort to taking medications to ease this problem. Others can’t sleep and again, visit the doctor to try and fix the problem with medication. It is even scientifically proven now that they can connect different types of cancer to our emotional stressors. But we continue to just push and push in our shells that are too small for us to live comfortably in and constantly are in pain.
Why? Why do we crush ourselves internally like this? What are we trying to prove? Who are we trying to impress? Some stress in our lives is a good thing, but when we don’t know how to deal with it, that is when it becomes a bad thing. We are so wrapped up on the external part of our lives that we forget about the most important, internal part that makes us tick. We are nothing like the lobster who is all about his internal world.
We have to learn to start focusing on this internal part of ourselves and start being mindful of our feelings and how we internally govern our focus. Our emotions were never meant to crush us, but instead just push us to become all we’ve been created to be. We are supposed to experience hardships in our lifetime. That is what helps us grow as individuals. What we need are strategies for coping with this pressure, tension and stress that life throws at us.
One of my favorite quotes about stress is one from the Buddha, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” This doesn’t have to be just anger, it is any kind of negative emotion. Guilt, shame, stress, tension, anger, or fear…they are all just emotions that put pressures on our outer shells and make us sick in some form when we ignore them. We have to stop thinking that by holding onto any negative emotions that they will hurt someone else. How many of us hold grudges because we think they are hurting the other person? In reality, the only person they are hurting is us.
Proverbs 12:25 pretty much says the same thing as Buddha, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”
Step away from all this negativity in your life and be mindful like the lobsters when your shell is about to crack open from the pressure. You know the physical signs that you’ve had enough. Listen to these signs and find your way to shed your old shell and let your new one grow back on with room to breathe. My strategy is meditation, because I’ve witness the powerful effects of this method, but do what works for you.
Whether it is meditation, prayer, or sitting in silence in a bubble bath. Just make time to get in touch with your inner self, and learn to rid your body of this negativity that is crushing your inner being. Shed that shell that has grown too small on your life and is crushing you in so many ways. You’ll be surprised just how freeing it is!