If you’ve ever been to or heard anything about Jamaica, one of the things you should know is how mellow the Island is. With tourism slogans like “Jamaica No Problem,” “Irie Jamaica,” and “One Love,” you can see that this attitude is one of the things that sets us apart from the rest of the world. In 2013, to cement this theme, The Jamaica Tourist Board ditched the old slogan “Jamaica – Once you go, you know” and unveiled the new slogan “Jamaica – Get All Right,” in New York City, using the world’s largest stress ball. Clearly, it’s apart of our culture and something we want to be known for!
As a Jamaican, I can honestly say that I’ve lived by this slogan. I once overheard my Dad saying to my Mom that I looked worried. This came a few weeks after my first car got rear-ended and the driver responsible kept ignoring my calls. My Mom’s response to that was “I doubt that, Tamara never worries about anything.” Even though I could have been worried, she was right, I wasn’t. There was nothing much I could do about the situation because I hadn’t reported it to the police when it happened – at his request, and I didn’t have his insurance details. All I had was his phone number and he wasn’t answering – Good Job Tamara! I was a little upset about the whole situation, but I wasn’t worried. Eventually I figured out how to get him to take responsibility and I learned that you can trust people while exercising due diligence.
Fast forward to living in America and how I felt when stress hit me for the first time. I was so confused and frightened. My head was constantly feeling as though I was in the presence of ghosts…swollen and heavy. Me? Stressed? No Way! I AM JAMAICAN! We don’t get stressed. The realization that I’m a Jamaican living in America and how different it is here was something I had to get use to fast. The opportunity is here but so is the pressure…lots of it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing it takes because it gives us more opportunity to know who we are. Once we get to know ourselves and our capabilities we gain confidence to go into the direction of our dreams as they say. When we get to the point where we realize that stress is a natural part of growth, we will look at it differently. We will begin to see stress as the stimuli that causes growth.
This brings me to the case of the lobster and how it grows. Recently I saw a video with Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski in which spoke he about how the lobster responds to discomfort. It’s an old video, but I just saw it, so it’s new for me. Had I not realized that we can grow through adversity before, this video would have taught me that. We sometimes find ourselves in situations where we feel stuck…I know I have. We feel backed into a corner with no way out. Whether this means being stuck in a dead-end job or in a relationship that’s going nowhere, the emotions evoked can be quite similar. We feel stressed! When this happens, my friends, remember the Lobster. You see, when it’s time for the lobster to grow, it’s shell becomes very uncomfortable. The shell doesn’t grow with the lobster, and so once growth begins, the lobster becomes confined and even more uncomfortable. The lobster, recognizing this stimuli as a signal for growth, sheds its shell, and grows a new one. We can learn a thing or two from the lobster… Use discomfort as our cue to grow! Get out, break out of your shell…the world is ours to discover!
Love and Light.