The ocean provides us with a beautiful image of personal growth and opening to new possibilities – the chambered nautilus. Initially, the nautilus occupies only the smallest chamber at the center of the spiral. That is the whole shell. Yet, from this core, as it grows, it adds new chambers as it needs more space. The nautilus takes the natural shape of a spiral.
Think of your life. Many chambers are behind you and many are yet to be added ahead of you. Each chamber has an opening and an emerging channel into the next chamber. When the old chambers feel cramped, as we have outgrown old places, people and purpose, we feel the need for more space to move ahead into different spaces, as our purpose evolves. We, too, move through different phases or chambers to make way for the new to emerge.
Contemplate the chambered nautilus.
What does this image teach you about the nature of your life’s journey?
What “chamber” are you in right now?
How does it fit your purpose in life?
Consider this poem “The Chambered Nautilus” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1809 – 1894
Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step it’s shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more…
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!
May you be blessed through all of the winding passages on life’s spiral journey
today and all days.
May it be so.