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Lessons From a Sea Sponge

Lessons From a Sea Sponge

I’ve always referred to myself as a “sponge” when it comes to learning things. Reason being, I tend to soak up a lot of information on an almost constant basis.

sponge lessons | Life, Unleashed

I love to learn! In fact, while researching some things for this post, I also learned some things about sponges that I didn’t know before! For example:

  • Once cut, a sea sponge will re-grow within a few years, often to become bigger & healthier than it was originally.
  • Sea sponges have a life span of a few months to 20+ years.
  • Even the tiniest fragments of the original sponge can be used to regenerate & grow new sponges.
  • Sea Sponges are capable of regulating the amount of water that flows through their bodies by the constriction of various openings.
  • Sea Sponges are capable of drawing in and out 20,000 times their own volume of water in a single 24-hour period.
  • Sponges survive by anchoring themselves permanently to other solid objects on the ocean floor (eg. coral, rocks, shell beds, etc).
  • Sea Sponges are composed perfectly for their environment by means of the hole-ridden structures, and could not survive without their unique design.
  • While sea sponges are technically “animals,” for all practical purposes, they grow, reproduce, and survive as plants

And, also…

sea-sponges | Life, Unleashed

Fascinating, right? At least, I thought so.

Originally, this post was going to be about using what you’ve learned. I tend to consume so much information in one sitting, sometimes, that it’s almost impossible to put any of it into practice {Input is one of my StrengthsFinder “top 5”, after all}. For example, I can get on a site like JamesClear.com (which I absolutely LOVE), and follow the links, reading article, after article, after article — because it’s all so good! But, even though I agree with what he’s written, and think, “Man, these are amazing & simple ideas — I should implement this stuff!“, I have already consumed so much that I get overwhelmed with where to start, and then choose what is easiest… which is doing nothing at all; meaning all of the information I consumed is practically useless. After all, if we don’t practice what we learn, then what’s the point?

But, in researching sponges, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to our Christian walk. So, here are a few lessons I believe we can learn from the Sea Sponge:

PERMANENTLY ANCHORED

The Sea Sponges permanently anchor themselves to the ocean floor by attaching to something that doesn’t move. This is how they survive. Likewise, God is our unmoving and unchanging “anchor”. When we attach ourselves to Him, He becomes our unshakeable hope, and the way that we can stay grounded, despite the turmoil in our lives.

We have this hope as an anchor for our souls, firm & secure.
 — Hebrews 6:19 

 

SELF-REGULATING

Sea Sponges regulate the amount of water that moves in and out of their bodies. In similar fashion, we need to monitor what we put into us, whether that’s food, or information. Too much of anything is not good for us. As evidenced by my own information overload, it’s more helpful to consume things in moderate or bite-sized amounts, and then use that up, or practice it for a while, first, before taking in more. That way, our intake is actually useful and doesn’t go to waste (or to waist!).

BETTER THAN BEFORE

God likes to prune us, removing anything that doesn’t help us live the life He has planned for us. This pruning can often be painful. But, like the Sea Sponge after being harvested, we, too, can then grow to be “bigger” (with a deeper, stronger faith and character) and healthier than before.

UNIQUELY DESIGNED

The Sea Sponge’s unique design — with all of its pores and adjoining channels — helps it to be able to survive and grow.

For example, look at its hard outer layer and soft interior. We, God’s children, aren’t called to be timid, but to be strong & courageous, bold, shrewd, and discerning! This is our “outer layer”. At the same time, we are called to be quiet & gentle, kind and compassionate, and innocent as doves … our hearts are to be soft, and not “hardened” with unbelief.

But, the most important aspect of the Sponge’s design is its ability to let massive amounts of water flow through its body. This makes me think of Jesus, and how He describes Himself as “Living Water“. When we have this –when we have Him– we have everything we need.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

So, there you have it. Lessons from the Sea Sponge. Bet you didn’t realize you could learn something about God from something you use when you take a bath! Ha!

BOOK REVIEW: “The Renaissance Soul” by Margaret Lobenstine

BOOK REVIEW: “The Renaissance Soul” by Margaret Lobenstine

This was a re-read for me, but it’s one of my favorite books. And, since I was in a slump — and, since this book was calling to me, loudly, from my bookshelf — I had to give it another go. And, sure enough, it did the trick.

I first read this book back in late 2010, and it really got me excited. I shared it with my sister, and she, too, got really excited about the book — after purchasing a copy and reading it.


Margaret writes about people who fit the following profile:

  • prefer variety over repetition
  • illogical and seemingly chaotic
  • don’t like to stick to schedules & to-do lists
  • impulsive
  • flexible
  • prefer many options, rather than one clear choice (hate having to choose just one)
  • easily bored after having mastered something
  • most alive and engaged when learning something new
  • unpredictable
  • respond eagerly to new possibilities
  • constantly chasing new hobbies and interests
  • naturally curious
  • thrives on wearing many ‘hats’
  • enjoys learning new languages & exploring new cultures
  • at peak performance, can be very detail-oriented & focused
  • creative
  • somewhat indulgent
  • passionate and inspired
  • chafe at limits
  • need constant new motivation
  • opt for change over continuation in the face of success
  • don’t like rigid long-term goals, or action plans
  • love to learn
  • interact and evolve with their surroundings

This is very much me. I have always thought I just lacked the perseverance to stick with things, or that I was lazy, or that I was too fickle. Family constantly tell me that I shouldn’t be so “picky”. But, apparently, this is all just a part of my nature! Not to be lazy, fickle, or lack perseverance — but to want to move on as soon as I’ve mastered something, or as soon as my interests change.

This also explains why I frequently change the layout and theme of my blog. 😉

And, I realized that it also explains my crazy desire to pack up and move house every 5 years or so! LOL. Mind you, we’ve been at this house for 10 years now, because we haven’t been able to afford to move. But, I’ve been itching to go for about 5 years now.

For a great review that gives a bit more detail about this book, click {here} to visit The Clear Minded Creative’s blog.

Also, find out if you, too, are a Renaissance Soul, by taking the quiz at the author’s blog!

How Personality Quizzes Set Me Free

How Personality Quizzes Set Me Free

I love personality quizzes! Mind you, I’ve always been very self-reflective, and I love psychology (knowing what makes people do what they do).

Either way, I honestly believe that knowing my personality type has brought me freedom. Let me show you how…

How Personality Quizzes Set Me Free | Life, Unleashed

 

A LITTLE HISTORY

I started learning about personality types back in 1997. Florence Littauer’s books were the first to introduce me to these, and from there, I have taken several others.

THE RENAISSANCE SOUL

Margaret Lobenstine has a book called “The Renaissance Soul“, and it describes me perfectly! When I found this book, I immediately recommended it to my sister, and she, too, feels that it perfectly describes her. She and I now frequently reference this aspect of our personalities. ;)

STRENGTHSFINDER 2.0

Tom Rath’s book, “StrengthsFinder 2.0“, had a code for you to go online and take the Clifton StrengthsFinder quiz. From that, I learned that my “Top 5” are Empathy, Connectedness, Input, Intellection, and Strategic.

This explained for me my love of keeping empty boxes around in case I might need them some day (Input), and my love of books & reading (Intellection / collecting knowledge!).

MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR

Through reading several descriptions online, I learned my MBTI — only to then take a quiz at 16personalites.com and have my findings confirmed. I am predominantly INFP (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving), but also ENFP (probably about a 60% | 40% mix).

[Fun fact: One who has a fairly even split between Introvert & Extrovert is called an “Ambivert“! Thanks, Pinterest!] LOL

ENNEAGRAM

I haven’t done enough research on this one, yet, so I don’t know enough about it. But, from the quiz I took, my Enneagram number is 5.

HOROSCOPE

Generally, I tend to stay away from Astrology & horoscopes — they’re never very accurate, anyway. However, there are bits of the Sagittarius profile (my horoscope) that fit me perfectly … fiercely independent? Yep! A fiery temper? Not so much. I’m quite easy-going, in fact.

CORE VALUES

I also researched my core values, and came up with a list of my top 10 (plus a few extra). Suffice it to say, Freedom is my #1 core value, and Life, Unleashed has that as its overarching theme — the thread that ties all of my various interests, and all of the topics here at Life, Unleashed, together. ;)

So, having done all of these quizzes (plus, a whole slew of the ones through BuzzFeed… Thanks, Facebook! LOL), I now feel I have a really good grasp of who I am, what makes me tick, and why I do what I do… especially on default/instinct, when I’m not really responding, but reacting.

LEARNING TO “SEE”

Because I know my personality type and core values, I can now see why certain jobs never fit me (mainly any of them where I work for an employer! LOL), and why I’ve acted as I have — or made certain choices — in the past. Knowing that I’m a right-brained creative, for example (INFP is “the Artist”), shows me why the left-brained, secretarial jobs I’ve had never worked out for me (I had 3 of them in 3 years!). I was trying to force the proverbial square peg into a round hole, so-to-speak… acting in a way that was in opposition to my type.

glasses

During the second of those secretarial jobs, I was super-stressed because of work, and decided to make up a list of all of the things I both loved & hated from all of my previous jobs. Doing this, plus taking into account my personality & values, I was able to make my next job a much better fit for me, even if it still wasn’t perfect. Of course, at that time, I still hadn’t realized the bit about my right-brained creative side (I knew I had it, but it’d been buried for years at that point). Therefore, I still didn’t see that secretarial jobs weren’t a fit for me. After all, I’d gone to college and had gotten a certificate in Office Administration! So, I assumed that that’s what I needed to (should) be doing! I knew that, eventually, when finances allowed, I wanted to start my own business — I didn’t know what business, yet, but I knew I wanted to work for myself. But again, finances at that time didn’t allow for that.

Well, fast forward nine months, and I found myself out of a job — again. And, being that the job market was pretty sucky (especially in the small town where I live), hubby suggested that I go through the government-run self-employment program (here in Ontario, Canada) and try starting up the business I’d told him I’d been considering (virtual assistance for authors). So, I did!

LIGHTBULB MOMENTS

BulbSince October 2013, I have been self-employed (yay!). As previously mentioned, I’ve always had a gut feeling that I was meant to be an entrepreneur — long before I got the chance to be one! I come from a family of entrepreneurs, actually (both of my grandfathers, two of my uncles, and my sister), so I like to say “it’s in my blood!” LOL

Mind you, even this last year-and-a-half of self-employment has been a learning curve. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, the “virtual assistant” thing didn’t last long, partially because it was yet another secretarial gig.

I then thought about doing Life & Business Coaching and took the steps toward that, but I realized I’d need years of training first, which I don’t currently have the time or money for. So, that got set aside.

And now, here we are at Life, Unleashed, where I’ve decided to just do what I already love — blogging. Add to that the fact that God’s been pushing nudging me to be a Writer for years, and it seemed to be the right path for me to follow right now.

I love that I can combine all of my passions — books, creativity, psychology, faith, music, etc — in this one site/career path. I even get to say that reading is a part of my job! (hee hee…) So yeah, I’m totally loving the “pro blogging” thing, so far!

FREEDOM!

stockvault-brushes149264The biggest thing my path has shown/taught me, though, is first, to know myself (ala Socrates), and second, to trust my intuition. All of the various versions of my “business(es)” over the last few years have been me getting an idea, trying it, feeling that something was still “off” (not quite “it”), and then pivoting to the next thing. It’s been frustrating, at times, and somewhat discouraging, too. However, I’m blessed to have an amazing business coach & friend who helps me work through all of that, as well as my sister — a business-owner herself — whose business is thriving after just 2 years being open!

Another thing that helped add to my feeling of “freedom” is that I started going to an Art Journaling class once a month. This has helped me to reconnect with my creativity.

I used to spend a lot of time doing “creative” or artsy things, but motherhood pushed that (mostly) into the background for the last seventeen years.

I also met some great new friends, in the last couple of years, who are musicians and creatives, themselves — which has helped me to realize (after having spent time with them) that they are my “tribe”, my people… the creatives and the dreamers are with whom I feel at home.

TO MY FELLOW DREAMERS, ARTISTS, AND CREATIVES…

I know a lot of you, here at Life, Unleashed, are also creatives & artists (writers are artists — as are wanna-be writers!). And I love that about you guys! So I hope that this blog can become a sort of hub for not just books, but all sorts of creative, right-brained things (don’t worry, you left-brainers… I’ve got psychology and other things for you, too).

Your turn... | Life, UnleashedDo you know YOUR personality type? (Share it here! I’d love to see what mix we have!) If so, how has it helped you?