Last week, I was walking on my favorite San Diego beach. The tide was very low, so I discovered many large shells. I called them clamshells, because I had no idea about the nuances of which creatures had inhabited which type of shell.
Then I began thinking about the tropical fish in the ocean.
The Pacific Ocean is vast beyond imagination. Tropical fish and clams deal with this vastness in far different ways. The tropical fish swim about and reveal their beauty and grace to the world, while the clam hunkers in its shell.
Notice the range of motion a tropical fish has compared to a clam. A clam is constrained by its solid walls of protection. A tropical fish enjoys a freedom of movement that is impossible for a clam to realize.
It occurred to me that as humans we have the capacity to act like tropical fish in some parts of our lives and clams in other parts of our lives.
Furthermore, I started to realize that when I paid attention to my thoughts some of my thoughts were Clam Thoughts and some were Tropical Fish thoughts.
The same went for my actions. Some of my actions were Clam Actions and some were Tropical Fish actions.
For example, I like to type my blogs in the upbeat, social atmosphere of coffee shops. But sometimes, I let my Clam Thought that I won’t find a table with a near-by outlet; create my Clam Action of staying home. My choice to act on my Clam Thought keeps me in the shell of my apartment, instead of enabling me to “swim” in a public space.
A Tropical Fish thought on this same subject might be, “I’ll simply drive between coffee shops until I find one with a free table and near-by outlet.” Then by acting on this thought, I would take the Tropical Fish action of finding a coffee shop that met my desires.
Sometimes as we deal with the vastness of our lives, we choose to act like clams and retreat into our shells and sometimes we choose to swim about like tropical fish and reveal our confidence and grace to the world.
May you find the balance between living like a tropical fish and living like a clam that brings joy and satisfaction to your life.
Game of the Day
1. In what parts of your life do you act as a tropical fish?
2. In what parts of your life do you act as a clam?
3. Are there parts of your life where you now act like a clam, but would prefer to act like a tropical fish?
4. Are there parts of your life where you now act like a tropical fish, but would prefer to act like a clam?