Last week while on vacation, we took a boat all around the islands of Captiva and Sanibel in southwest Florida.
Three pods of dolphins followed our boat at different times and, being in the back row, I could almost reach-out and feel their slippery skin glide under my hand like a satin scarf.
They’re fascinating, really.
And the more I watched them frolic behind the boat, the more I began to realize I might be able to learn a thing or two from dolphins.
Like how they live communally in pods consisting of eight to fifteen dolphins. Everyone has a purpose and they exist to help one another. If one is injured or having trouble breathing, they will rally and push him or her to the top so they can catch their breath.
Sometimes, we need to lift others up so they can breathe again and sometimes we are the ones who need to be lifted.
Or how they shed every single skin cell covering their bodies every two hours so they can retain the slippery surface that helps them glide through the water.
When we shed our own layers, we get one step closer to complete freedom.
And how they prioritize the simple act of play. Riding the waves behind a boat serves no purpose for survival but it is a rip-roarin’ good time to a pod of dolphins.
My children prioritize play to a fault and I’m guessing yours do, too. Yet it’s the first thing to go for me when the day is overscheduled and jam-packed – you know, the kind of day when I need play the very most.
And, lastly, how pod members circle a mama dolphin when she’s giving birth and as soon as that calf hits the water, they begin to push him or her to the surface of the water so the newborn will learn how to breathe.
It absolutely takes a pod to get these children off the ground. I can’t do this mothering gig alone.
And so I watch in awe and I see how I am the culprit behind so much complication when really, there just doesn’t need to be. When we boil it all down to the essential elements, the simplicity is breath-taking.
Live in community. Shed. Play and have fun. Ride the waves. Help raise each other’s kids.
I can say yes to all of that.
It sure sounds a lot more appealing than living in isolation, holding on to baggage, working all the time, and trying to do the mothering thing alone.
I choose the dolphin’s way.
What do you do when it’s time to play?