One of my favorite things about visiting Kauai is seeing the wide array of wildlife. Tropical fish can be seen in scores when you snorkel and scuba dive, honu turtles swim effortlessly through the water. But my favorite of all is the Hawaiian monk seal, an endangered animal that inhabits the Hawaiian islands.
The curious thing about the monk seal is that its natural behavior is to beach itself during the day and then sleep for hours on end, often 7 or more hours. Since they are an endangered species, they are protected. There’s a group of volunteers on call that come and rope off the sleeping giants once they come up on the beach so they can rest and not be disturbed.
We were lucky enough to see monk seals every day this week. And after observing them up close and in person, I was struck with a few lessons we can all learn from these lazy, sleep all day, animals.
- Regardless of what’s happening on the beach, no matter if it’s crowded or calm, the monk seals do what they came to do… sleep. There is something admirable about having a clear focus, and the will to follow it through to completion. We would do well if we could do the same.
- As you can imagine, crowds gather pretty quickly when these lumbering 600 lb. animals flop their way onto shore. The monk seals ignore the crowd entirely. They roll around until they get comfortable, and then they just go to sleep. I was reminded of how often we deviate from our plans because of the crowd, specifically, we change course because of what other people might think. We would be better served if we could learn to ignore the crowd in order to pursue the goals we want to achieve.
- When the sun begins to set, the seals usually wake up and head back into the water in search of something to eat. There is a consistency in what they do that is well worth emulating. How much better would we be if we consistently exercised? Consistently ate a healthy diet? Consistently wrote or read or painted or played the piano so we could reap the benefits of a consistent pursuit of something we desire.
My favorite moment came when one of the seals buried his entire head in the sand and then proceeded to scootch his way a few feet up the beach. By the time he stopped moving, his entire face and head were buried deep in the sand. But he had effectively formed a trench-like wall of sand that served as a pillow for the side of his body and head.
Another good reminder… when things aren’t quite right, make the effort to get things the way they should be. In the end you’ll be a lot happier with the end results. Aloha