Emperor penguins live in the harshest of environments, but they sure know how to live in community. In the bitter cold, as they huddle together for protection they do this amazing thing. As they shuffle in a spiral each penguin has its turn in the middle and then the outside of the circle,
Its nature’s way of acknowledging that we all have seasons where we are on the protective front and other times where we need to be protected.
Over the past few years I’ve had to learn to be the middle penguin and it’s not easy. It can be embarrassing to admit to that you need to be cared for, especially if you are used to being a protector.
Its not glamorous in the middle, huddling in the centre can make us feel useless, tired and jaded, but by then the other penguins are not concerned by how flash you are, they are just busy trying to hold you up.
Being in the middle validates your part in the community as much as being the strong protector did, and admitting your weakness makes you a better friend, counsellor and family member.
1…Enjoy it. This may be the first time you have ever really allowed yourself to be vulnerable enough to be held up. Lie on the couch, order cups of tea and make the most of the sympathy vote!
2…Stop fighting. Nobody wants to help a penguin that keeps snapping at them to go away. Thank God for the people he has placed around you, be gracious and accept the position you are in for the season that you are in it.
3…Take heart. You will get your turn on the outside again. One day you will be well and whole and taking your place as the protector and inspirer that you were born to be.
Penguins of all positions, Kia Kaha. be strong, be brave, be open to support. Allow the seasons to carry you and embrace them all.