We see them all over rocks around our sea shores, the limpet. Its name has become a metaphor - clinging on like a limpet. It suggests desperation and implies a certain stubbornness.
I admire its persistence, though. The limpet finds a rock and sticks to it. It CAN move, should it choose to, but when it needs to resist strong currents or storms, it adheres itself to rock with such strength that it cannot be removed without being injured or killed.
When looking at nature and reflecting on what has caught my eye on a particular outing, I often see messages for myself. Holding on and letting go are frequent themes. When do I need to hold on to something, an idea, a relationship and when is it safe to move?
When we perceive danger, we hold on. We grip so firmly that threats to move us feel life-threatening. In times of adversity, scarcity and uncertainty, we cling to what we know.
I can see it now in our politics, ideas are polarised and adhered to when good sense might point to compromise.
I see it in children who are stressed by difficult home circumstances, school pressures and broken relationships. They cling to what they know too - behave like this and I know what happens. The need to stay close and hold on to the people who make them feel safe is amplified in times of stress.
So the next time you see someone holding on tightly to someone or something, ask yourself where the storm is? What are they protecting themselves from?
They may just be holding on to a connection that keeps them safe.