Meditations on Jellyfish

Jellyfish intrigue me. They are invisible in their translucency.  They glide without care, and typically eat plankton and shrimp that happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I fancy myself a jellyfish of sorts.  It’s usually when I want to be invisible and harmless, only having to deal with that which crosses my path.  It’s usually when I am most desperate for the simplicity of drifting with life’s currents.

I’ve been a jellyfish for several months, away from my usual haunts of relationships and interactions.  This blog has had no new entries for almost a year, my personal journal entries are few and eons between, and I struggle to post personal things on any social media.

I used to consider this self-imposed exile as cocoon-ing, but that implies sitting still. Stationary I am not.  For many months, I’ve been traveling to Hawaii for a project, sometimes twice a month. It is not a particularly difficult project, nor is it easy.  It involves helping a client make a major change to the centerpiece of its 1,100-acre project.  If made, the change is irrevocable in the foreseeable future.  If done right, the change will bring unprecedented opportunity for the Hawaii .  The change pleases many, angers a few and intrigues the business-minded.  While the fundamental change is set, the process of evolving to the chance is still being defined; hence, my discretion in identifying the project and client.

I am retained to help the client, but the how, when and why of my consultation are sometimes unclear.  In fact, there have been times when I feel extremely out of sync.  Nevertheless, rather than force my views, or rail against what seems contrary, I did something out of character.  I chose to wait and see and I might best help.

In this waiting, I have become . . . a jellyfish.  I learned to move with the current, to migrate when necessary, to beware of predators, to accept sustenance that happens to be in my path.  I also strive to be transluscent.  I seek anonymity, and shy away from socializing, scrutiny and visibility.  All this so that my senses are heightened to what I need to do to help.

I think it takes confidence to wait and listen.  Some call it faith – if I listen well, act accordingly, what needs to happen will.  Others think of it as fear – should I not boldly proclaim and insist on my vision if I believe in it?  Still others consider me lucky – it’s a good thing I didn’t screw up before this.

Whatever it is, my jellyfish existence has been prudent. I am currently able to contribute skills to the project team, at least for a few months.  I have learned to be more tactful, constructive and productive, a better team member hopefully.  I learned that, on one hand, I’m not as good as my self-advertisement purported.   On the other hand, I’m better than I feared in my night sweat awakenings.  I can live with this balance.  Quite comforting, actually.

Back to the jellyfish.  In reality, they are not passive or simply gliding through life.  While they capture algae, plankton, and shrimp that drift through their space, jellyfish also have a defense mechanism that attack predators and capture larger prey with their painfail sting.   They heed tthe moon and tide to know when to drift closer to shore to breed; they long to survive.  And though they may seem invisible, when the ocean currents conjoin our two worlds, the elusive jellyfish hover near swimmers as their tendrils seek to sting bare apendages.

So I suppose that there’s always the option to sting if threatened.  But for now I prefer to glide.  Perhaps some waves will bring me into shallower waters where sunlight illuminates my membranes and I may catch a glimpse of you.

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