I came across this image last week and have been engaging with it since. When I first saw it, my eye spiraled in toward the center and I felt a deep sense of peace, as in the center of a labyrinth. But as I continued to look, I realized that the shell had been formed from the center, spiraling out as the animal inside grew and needed more room, ever expanding. What a hopeful metaphor! Would that I might be formed from my center and keep growing and expanding throughout my life.
As I returned to the image, more came: the chambers in the shell grow ever more spacious. On the physical level, the body of the animal needs more room as it grows. But on the level of metaphor, I sense that the container of my own shell started as a very tight orbit around my smaller, more egoic self, and grows ever more spacious, allowing more room around that tight self-referential self. More of spirit, less of the small self. Yes, please!
Invitation to Action
What do you see as you gaze at this image? Just let your eyes rest on it and see what comes. What emotions does it evoke? What thoughts does it stir? What other images or metaphors come to mind? What message might it carry for you today? Does it invite you to any action?
Sources of Images
The image above is an illustration of a cross section of a nautilus shell by Orra White Hitchcock. I came across it on The Public Domain Review, which provides a rich variety of images.
Sight Psalms from the Upper Room is another source of evocative images. The daily Sight Psalms include a title and a line of text, which you might find helpful or you might find distracting.
But in my experience, the “best” images are the ones that come to you as you go about your daily life. If you stumble across an object or image that captures your attention or brings up a surprising feeling, I invite you to spend just a few minutes with it to see what wisdom it may hold for you.