Lobsters live in a hard shell called an exoskeleton. For a lobster to grow bigger than its current shell, it must shed that exoskeleton and grow into a new one. The new one will be bigger than its current size, giving the lobster a little bit of room to grow into itself.
The act of escaping from its shell is called ecdysis — from a Greek word meaning “getting out.” The entire process of preparing form undergoing, and recovering from ecdysis is called molting.
Moulting isn’t unique to lobsters, or to species with hard shells. Cats and dogs moult by shedding their fur. The caterpillar becomes a butterfly through a series of five molting processes.
Molting is the process through which metamorphosis happens.
For the past several weeks, I’ve been working with a physical therapist to recondition my body’s dysfunctional movement patterns.
Every day I work with Carlos Rocha, my physical therapist. In addition to my work with him, I do my homework in the gym.
This is an intense regiment, and on many days I’ve been in pain. This is pain of muscles being stressed in new ways, of bones sitting in new places, of my body learning to carry it’s weight in proper alignment. It is the pain of weaknesses being exposed.
Change is a slow process, and I do my best to hold space for it to happen in its timing, staying consistent and diligent in my effort.
Still, I’m human. There are times when it feels like my body wants to break out of its shell, to move more freely in a wider range of motion.
Early in the process, I found myself one day in the gym, resisting the slow, controlled movements that Carlos prescribed in favor of big arm swings, like I was winding up to throw a pitch, or tear my arm off.
Suddenly, I stopped myself. I remembered the lobster and the butterfly, and I reminded myself:
This is not pain. It is the process of growth.
This is molting.