Lessons Learned from an Iguana

The stuff that of which daydreams are made. The sky is without cloud, the sand is between my toes, and crashing waves sing a lullaby.

My attention wanders to a new friend that I have found. Some may not find him (or her — not sure really) their choice in friends, but I find him harmless enough. An iguana sunning himself calmly a few feet from me, just under the branches of a nearby shrub, yet not quite in the shade so as to absorb the radiating heat from the cement. He seems as unconcerned with me as I am with him. Eventually, we look at each other with eye, at first wary, then sensing that there is no danger imminently present, we proceed to measure each other’s value to the other. I guess I was just a nuisance to him.

Perhaps I represent a possible source of food — but sadly I have nothing to offer. On he moves, slowly, ambulating on down the walkway, knowing that this is his territory. He moves with some confidence, clearly he knows that his species has been here long before humans considered walking up-right and in all honesty will probably outlive our species into future millennia. On he goes with the side to side gait that is typical of his kind, not rushed and cautious, simultaneously watching for any potential food sources or threats to himself.

When he is out of sight, I resume my day of relaxation. Sadly, my friend has forever caused my mind to go in a different tangent. One that I am powerless to stop. Our minds are funny like that. Is anyone else able to control their stream of consciousness?

I fail miserably, so I go with it. Where does my mind lead me?

Lesson #1: We are all just trying to survive

As I looked eye to eye with my friend, it occurs to me that he and his reptile friends have inhabited the earth in excess of perhaps a million years or longer than humans. This is unimaginable.

As humans, we have been around for perhaps a ten to twenty thousand years and our prognosis is not good. We seem to always be on the verge of extinction as we strive to invent ways to kill ourselves. On the other hand, my friend, Mr. Iguana, and his species seems to only be concerned with survival.

Truly, their day to day activities are solely dedicated to ensuring their life continues as they assess their environment for threats, search out food sources, or simply undertake self-care.

While my life seems to entail a deeper meaning, isn’t survival at the root of everything? Honestly, the very reason that I seek out this location is for relaxation — that is recuperation and sanity. We find that our day to day lives are jam packed and have the need to take a time-out occasionally. This is not frivolous this is necessity. Recharging our spirits and sharpening our tools are about ensuring that we can persist in our lives longer — extending our survival.

Lesson #2: We strive to find our comfort zone — at all times

A fact of human life is that we all seek situations in which we are comfortable. Apparently this applies across species.

Despite the fact that our meeting was completely not a threatening situation, both and the iguana sought comfort.

For me, this entailed reclining on a lounge chair in close proximity to sand, surf, and cooling beverages. For the iguana, this means situating himself in close proximity to a heat source to warm himself up and then to find some sustaining food.

The fact is that the same territory served the purpose of comfort for both myself and the iguana. However, we found the comfort in completely different aspects of this place. Let that sink in. We BOTH found the location comfortable but for different qualities.

Lesson #3: We can live a happy healthy life among others that are not like us

My friend and I had a perfectly peaceful interaction. There was no display of overt aggression or dominance. I did not try to make him my lunch and he did not try to make me his.

It was a simple interaction, one that probably occurs daily times a million.

Proof that although we are literally different species, we don’t need to kill each other. This specifically strikes a cord with me. As humans, we struggle to be amicable to other humans that we judge to be different from us in any number of insignificant ways. Does that person have a different skin color? Does that person speak a different language than I do? Does that person disagree with my politics? Is that person a inferior sex? Does that person love someone that is not within my perceptions of ‘normal’?

Fortunately, my iguana friend and I experienced none of this.

Wrap it up…

In the crudest terms, both my iguana friend and I are looking to achieve the same goals. As humans we like to imagine that we are so complex and superior to the other species with which we share the planet earth. The fact is, we are not.

We are all striving to live in a world that is safe, secure and comfortable.

Let’s be that.



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