Monday, June 8, 2009

Be A Shark...Emotionally That Is

I don't much care for sharks. Have never found them fascinating. Am old enough to have found myself on the BACK of the theater seat when the stupid, friggin', jagunda shark comes out of the water in Jaws. Yeah...me, screaming with every other living soul in the theater. Thanks Spielberg for ruining my beach vacation that year and for several afterward. Uh huh...yep...sharks. Dah du...dah du...du...du...du...du...du...

Even having the benefit of watching them gracefully glide through the massive tanks at the fabulous Baltimore Aquarium...I still couldn't like them. Oh, I guess I have a morbid fascination with them and, at least, a healthy respect for them. But, find them interesting? Too, I don't know, menacing...cold...calculating. Killers. Isn't that what most of us think?

Turns out, it's not true. You're more likely to be killed by a cow than a shark. Most of them are gentle and solitary. It's not like they go looking for trouble. They just want to eat and live in peace like anything else. I began learning bits of info about these animals... things like they've not changed much for 400 million years. I guess when you become the perfect package for what you're supposed to do...why change?

I also learned that many of these animals are facing extinction...can you stand it? Another animal could disappear? Why? Even if you're not a fan, why? I also learned that some of them can leap out of the water. Oh, yippee! As if they're not scary enough, now they can fly, too? Oh ma ga...

I found it fascinating when I was told that some don't have eyelids...creepy...that flat black eye just staring at you, eww! They can see color. Hmm, remember that great fuchsia colored bikini you thought would look so great when you were all tan? You might want to rethink that...

The fact is, most sharks have senses keener than ours. They actually can smell. In the water? Yep. And, their eye sight is better than a cat's. They can sense movement in the water as vibrations across their skin. Whew...the more you know, the more you have to even grudgingly admit, they're pretty impressive. And, I'm fairly certain the fact that I'm not a fan would not bother a shark, one small morsel. Poor choice of words, there.

So, why am I writing about them today? Well, it's because of one shark fact that I find pretty interesting and it's something for us to think about. It's been said that most species of shark must keep moving forward perpetually. Not stopping. Never really sleeping. It glides like a silent mystery in the water, and even with all the other remarkable things it can do...

...It can't stop moving or it will die. Drown. A fish can drown?! Who knew? Weird. Yep, keep moving or sink like a stone. Imagine having to keep moving or ceasing to be. It has to do with how the shark pulls oxygen out of the water as it passes over its gills...so, there you have it...it's gotta keep on keeping on.

I am thinking about someone who has allowed life to stop because of a significant emotional hurt. Just stopped moving on. Everything else around has. Every other person who was involved has...but she hasn't. And, now her life is a half-state. She's never really happy; never really sad. Just existing.

Don't you know people like that? They get wounded and then seem to become the wound. They are defined by their wound. Thought of as the sad person who had this or that happen to them. They allow their sadness to control them, make life small. Almost as if they take perverse pleasure in being defined as, 'tragic,' like a character in a Tolstoy novel. They're not willing to push pass the disappointment or hurt to find what else could be out there waiting.

They become someone who is satisfied with being a Victim of circumstance instead of a Crafter of Destiny. They willingly stay frozen in a bad place. They simply stop moving. And, just as the shark would if it stopped, their spirit starts to die inch by unseen inch until there's nothing...else...left.

You can try to talk with them. Try to support them; be there for them. Try to be understanding. But, after a certain point, you give up because it seems they prefer to give their life away to the hurt. What can anyone do? Nothing really; we all get to decide how we will live...or not.

The only thing we can do is learn from their example. Determine to develop the faith that everything in life, no matter how hard or painful, is crafted for our absolute growth and development as a Real Human Being. We can learn from it. Move on- perhaps slower than you did before the hurt, but resolve to keep moving. Keep swimming. Keep being. Keep living. Keep hoping. Keep trying. Keep loving yourself. Just keep going...

...and learn to trust again. Risk it. Try it. Attempt it. Give it another chance. Because life is worth it. Your growth into the Human Being you wish to be is worth it. Developing the spirit you know you are meant to be. These things are so very worth it.

If you stay still- stop swimming emotionally, it certainly will mean the death of you. Just as it means to the shark.

When it comes to your emotional life...be like the shark. Keep moving ahead. Feel your life glide over your skin as you slice through the waters away from the sadness and onto your next experience. Don't stop. Keep moving! Everything, your very life, depends on it.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly
All photos courtesy of the Internet

27 comments:

Alison said...

Holly, you have a gift with words. I really like your shark analogy - thank you!

sema said...

Holly,
I agree with Alison,you have a gift with words.You create such great posts with messages so very true.I have chosen your 'move on 'thought to create my affirm-mantra for this week.Thank you for inspiring.I'll post it as soon as I create the painting.
blessings
sema

Mel said...

What a fab analogy...so very true that keeping moving is what keeps you *alive*....sheesh, how many people have I known that preferred to hover and wither? Sad, very sad...that they should think it was their only option...

And I'm with you on being Not A Fan of Sharks...I have a healthy respect for them but..quite frankly, they terrify me with their ancientness...them and crocodiles...*shudder*

~much love on this grey Monday~

PS. Did yooze send your weather our way?!?!

LionKing said...

Wait a minute now...As a representative of the Cow Anti-defamation league, I DEMAND the backup statistics that put our constituents in the same league as "JAWS"! I've never heard of a movie called "HORNS" or "UDDERS" or even "HOOVES" It is stereotypical mudslinging like this that encourages the global warming nuts every time one of us passes a little gas...Let's just MOOOOOOVE along, shall we?

Peaches said...

Thank you, Holly. I am inspired to keep my tail moving.

QueenBee said...

I love the shark analogy! I'm impressed, but they still scare the behoozits out of me. We should always try to encourage and inspire. However, from someone who is still suffering from depression, we aren't always in control of the motion needed to stay alive. I, personally, have gone from hours-long crying and not getting out of bed to being up and about somewhat. I know what is needed and what I want to do and experience in my life, but am still without the tools to get over the proverbial brick wall and just live life. It feels good to see and hear others getting out and enjoying life the way you do, and then sharing it with others. Your pictures and words are amazing!

Holly said...

Q.B.
I want to thank you for being open and sharing what some of us are dealing with in terms of the chemical imbalance in some of us, that keeps us from being and doing.

I suppose for someone such as you, who has been diagnosed, and tries to do what she can to work within the confines as she has been given,

You are not stuck...you're simply slowed.

We all have issues that keep life from being easy. The trick is to each day, be curious about what you have learned and experienced, regardless if your day is vastly different from the rest of the world's.

We have a tendancy to allow ourselves to be limited by our struggles instead of relishing what our uniques issues offer us in order to grow and learn.

I hope today you will be gentle with the things that you cannot control, and push past those that you can so that you can say, "I lived well today...in my way...I lived well."

Bright Blessings on you for your honest sharing.

Kyddryn said...

Nicely put, ma'am.

I've been shut down, before(Depression! Yay!)...and likely will again. When one's neurons insist in misfiring, one sometimes is simply along for the ride.

That said...I always say keep slogging through the swamp...it does get better...eventually...but only if one keeps on with life.

Move on, let go, live.

My motto: "I'll muddle through somehow..." usually followed by a sigh and a smile.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K (wandered in from Cygnus' blog...)

Sarah said...

Wow Holly - what a wonderul post!! I do so love analogies!!! Wonderful and you tied it all together with such grace!!!
I have always been facinated by sharks - they scare the crap out of me - but facinate me. I still get goosebumps when I see films of great whites leaping out of the water - yikes!!
I saw Jaws the summer before we moved to LA - It took me a couple of years to "swim" in the ocean!!! I still get nervous - even in a lake - silly but true. There are limits to how much I enjoy our water goggles!!! Wonderful post hon!!! Hugs, Sarah

Kavindra said...

Beautiful as always. Love the idea of being a crafter of destiny. Might have to put that phrase up on my refrigerator for a bit.

(And yeah, I used to love to swim in the ocean at night until that so and so made that darned movie. Just cannot do it anymore.)

KnittingJourneyman said...

Wow. Did you mean to speak directly to me with this post or what? I may not be standing still, but sometimes I feel as if I am moving in circles...at least I do keep moving.
Thank you for this. You reminded me why I do get up and why I just keeping swimming....
and we watched Findng Nemo yesterday so the tune of 'just keep swimming, just keep swimming' is bobbing around my brain now....
:-)

joyce said...

You gave me a lot to mull over here. When I started reading I was thinking you were overcoming your dislike of sharks by learning about them, but then the truth came out and I had to gulp and look inwards. Because I have done that...stayed in one place for a long time. And though I'm swimming now, sometimes its upstream, but its still swimming. (ps, maybe an upcoming post could be about salmon and swimming upstream!)
pps...I don't like sharks either. They look mean..Hows that for not judging a book by its cover?

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

What a wonderful and inspirational post! How very true to not stand still and watch the world move by...get in and become part of the whole process! What a great analogy...and especially one with such a beautiful creature. We all need that reminder to put one foot in front of the other...life still moves on. You should post this over at Here and There and Everywhere for the World Oceans Day...especially with the sharks. One fabulous insightful post...love it!

Rain said...

Great photos Holly!

clairedulalune said...

Really, really enjoyed reading your post today, hope you are well!

CrazyCris said...

What a gift with words! You had me started out worried ("poor misunderstood sharks" I thought) and then you just flipped the whole thing on its head!
And thanks for the laughs! You'd great as a guide in an aquarium by the way! Getting the public to laugh is a great way for them to remember the stories you're telling them!

And yes, figuring out how sharks "sleep" is one of their bigger mysteries that science has yet to unravel.

Oh, and some bottom-dwelling sharks can stop swimming without asphyxiating. (technically they don't really drown...) As they evolved they developped a serious set of neck muscles that allows them to create a water current through their gills without swimming. Useful when you realise the other reason sharks never stop swimming is they'd SINK! Well sinking's not really a problem if you live on the seabed... so why bother wasting all that energy swimming non-stop? Evolution really has provided all the answers hasn't it?

Thanks for sending this to the blog-a-thon, it fits right in! :o)

Toni said...

I freakin' love this, Holly. I want 42 copies with gold-gilded edges to give to people who have decided to be passive ... not they they've been wounded so much as they just seem determined to choose Status Quo over motion, change. Anyway, I have some degree of empathy for those who are knocked flat by a wound, if it doesn't petrify them ... less empathy for anyone who deliberate selects 'as it is' (when they are unhappy in that) over doing something about it. To distill your words, so beautifully written and gentle and encouraging, down to one of Toni's kinda crude private ways of looking at it: 'shite, or get off the toity, man!' But I prefer your elegance ... I'm so hoping it begins to rub off on me.

Brian Miller said...

great post. loved how you brought it around to how we deal with pain. sometimes it seems so much easier just to stop, to protect and shelter what we have left...great truth you shared. happy oceans day

Cam@Journey Wildly said...

Others have said the things that I wanted to say to you...

of how true these words ring.

of how we have to keep moving as if our lives depend on it, because our lives depend on it.

So, I will just add this:

I will never pass another cow without hearing "Dah du...dah du...du...du...du...du...du..."

and I will laugh, and think of you.

Colleen said...

I, too, enjoyed your post immensely! I was worried that there might be something wrong with me for thinking of "Finding Nemo" as I was reading your inspirational words, but Knitting Journeyman joined me in that respect! I, too, was hearing "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." in my head. What a great connection between sharks and life philosophy. Thank you!
Colleen

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

I'd say go ahead with the fuschia bikini-- I get a flowery image at the word 'fuschia', and sharks be carnivorous, so...

:D

Yes... keep moving, keep your (emotional) eye open...

i will say this for sharks, though... they really DO make a great steak for the grill... (sorry-- no hit on their extinction possibilities; here on the Gulf Coast, they're abundant enough to enjoy a cooking now and again, though...)

Nicky said...

Amazing, and thoughtful post. That was a wonderful thing to read, both for the shark info. and the emotional boost. I certainly know people like that and at a few points that's probably been me! You made a wonderful analogy, and it fits well with the blog-a-thon. It's an approach I never saw coming!
...and apparently my url is illegal! So, it's http://www.neolibarium.com...

Life With Dogs said...

Perfectly inspirational Holly, a new favorite for me. And so very true!

Stephanie J. B. said...

Damn, I'm not kidding or trying to be melodramatic when I say that this post made me cry. Amazing, amazing. You have no idea how uplifting that last paragraph was for me.

You've read this in my blog post, but I've suffered with major depression for a long long time, so I know firsthand how it feels, suffocating from your own life's strangulation every single day.

Again, I'm not trying to be melodramatic, but you literally feel like a living corpse--everything, inside and out, is numb and gray. You barely have enough energy to analyze your own feelings, let alone find ways to conquer them.

I'm not sure if you were specifically talking about people with depression or people who are healthy but are having hard times, but people with depression can't just summon up the powers of optimism and forge through life full steam ahead.

If they could, they would, believe me. No one with depression, absolutely no one, is suffering through it willingly. And that goes for anyone who feels any type of negative emotion--we can all agree it sucks.

Telling a person with depression to just suck it up and live life to the fullest is like telling someone with cancer that their fine and they should just walk it off--because depression is a disease, a very serious one.

The victim does not have the will to help themselves or reach out to others, especially with the stigmas associated with mental illness.

You just need to listen to them. You need to let them know that you're there, and you care, and that you agree that their depression is a serious and painful thing.

However, with counseling, maybe medication, the support of others, and their commitment to heal once some of the depression's debilitating effects have cleared, there is guaranteed hope.

Like the sharks, we're all just trying to survive this fucked up world in our own, unique ways.

Everyone wants to experience life. Everyone wants to be happy. That's why we're here.

Once you embrace that, you can embrace anyone, and realize that there are always reasons behind a person's feelings and behaviors.

Agh, I'm sorry this comment is so long, this subject is just really meaningful to me.

Thank you for that post, seriously.

Holly said...

Steph:
Thank you for your very clear and telling comment about what it is to live with depression. Much of what you say mirrors comments others who have struggled with depression.

And, to answer your question, no, I wasn't speaking with those who are dealing with the chemical imbalance that is depression. I was talking about those who abdicate their lives to the past and the hurt in it.

What you say mirrors, also, what I say about claiming your life and moving forward...as you say in the case of depression by determining that you don't want to let your life slip away...so you seek professional guidance, maybe chemical assistance. But, YOU determine that you must move forward. Like the shark.

As I said to Queen Bee, all of us need to deal with something or another that keeps life from being a joyride. But, that said, it's on each one of us to push past the things that limit us so that we can say at the conclusion of each day, "I lived well today...in my way...I lived well."

Chris Ruebel-Lantz said...

Holly, You hit a home run on this one. As I read everyone's posts I see that everyone is hearing your words from their own perspective. Some think you are talking about depression,some think you are talking about being hurt, some think you are talking about the fact that some of us just are not living our lives instead watching it go by. As for me It brought back memories of an old heart break that I was not able to handle mentally. It took me some 2 1/2 years to recover and not even completely then. from the outside I seemed fine.....I look back knowing now that I am better and better off for having experienced it. I now know that I was in a relationship that was not good for me. Sometimes really really good things come from having to experience really low emotions. This is how I see what you wrote.........OH and yes you have a way with words. Personally knowing you has made my world a better place.

Ana said...

I am happy that you found a connection with sharks. I love sharks myself, and spiders and all the other amazing creatures that live on this beautiful earth. They are our family. You are a very inspirational person and relate human experiences well with the expression of a sharks life in this instance. This is a very honest expression, and I feel it gives support to many, including myself when feeling at a halt or affected by the environment we live in. I wish for you to have many joyful moments of inspiration. Peace and kindness to you friend.

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