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Life Lessons of a Sea Anemone

 

The sea anemone waits patiently for food to cross its path.

Sea anemone patiently waits

As a native New Yorker, patience is not exactly a virtue I embody at all times.   While we New Yorkers have many redeeming characteristics, patience is generally not one of them.  We want what we want, when and how we want it – and we usually get it.  Note – I realize there are many patient NYers and I am generalizing here; I now live in San Francisco where we are never to say anything that may upset or offend anyone so I need to add that caveat.

Over the years, I have tried to slow down, to accept what is and not get frustrated when things are not happening as desired.  At times, I succeed and at times, well, I am not as successful.  When I am out in nature is when I am usually most observant and open-minded because I am focused on the moment.  My mind slows down temporarily and the swirl of thoughts vanishes.  I’ve come to realize that in this calm state, I have gained many life lessons from Mother Nature.

This week, I was on a photo shoot at tidepools on the California coast and was reminded about patience.  Beautiful creatures of all shapes and sizes inhabit every nook and cranny of the area.  When I slowed down enough to really watch, I then couldn’t move.  I had to pause, look and learn.

The sea anemone was my teacher for the day.  I was taking its picture when I noticed movement, put down my camera and watched it grab and swallow a small snail.  I had never thought about what or how they eat and now was fascinated.  OK, this next part is a tad mean I admit.  I found another small snail and dropped it near the anemone to see what would happen (sorry snail).  The anemone grabbed the snail with its delicate tentacles and enveloped it.  I realized then that this creature eats by sitting and waiting for whatever happens to cross its path.  This may not sound very exciting, but to me it was.  Patience…wait and good things will come to you; you cannot always make things happen when and how you want them. It felt like the sea anemone was a wise teacher almost saying those words to me as I watched it enjoy its afternoon snack.  I stood, breathed deeply and took in the lesson.

Thank you, sea anemone!  I know now if I find myself rushing or wanting something to happen faster, I will image the patient sea anemone and hear its wisdom…the treat is coming, just wait and you will be rewarded.

What have you learned by observing nature?  I’d like to get your input – use the comment box below.

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