Got Barnacles?

Did you know that the largest barnacles are less than an inch in diameter?

Did you know a barnacle often chooses to settle in the areas where plenty of other barnacles already exist indicating that life conditions are optimal and that food is plentiful? Close long term relationships of different species, like a dog and a flea, like a barnacle and a ship’s hull, are where one benefits and the other suffers. Even after barnacles are removed they leave a ring, some reminder that they once inhabited a particular area. However, when barnacles are removed just after attaching, the barnacle does not leave a trace, as if it had never attached. Barnacles can only be removed by scrubbing with scouring tools, applying strong removers, and repeating the process with precision. Oh, wait a minute, I forgot to introduce myself. I’ll do that now and come back to barnacles in a minute.

My name is Lisa Lackey, I am absolutely driven by the passion to support people as they journey toward being the best version of themselves from the inside out. I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with an expertise in the treatment of sexual addiction, childhood trauma, and working with couples. I am a co-owner with my husband of an expanding addiction and trauma healing center, Insideout Living, Inc. I get to work with a phenomenal clinical team. I’m a proud mom of 3, I ❤️them fiercely and respect them greatly, they have been my most impactful teachers. I am a grandmother of the most precious baby boy. I am a wife of 27 years; my husband has helped me to face fears, challenged me to grow, and loved me, when I wasn’t too lovable.

God’s plan. I’ve been hesitant to move forward at times; I didn’t feel deserving. I’ve also found a reason to laugh and experience joy throughout twists and turns, I believe in miracles, and that there is a valuable lesson in everything. I never, ever give up on believing, expecting, and being more than I thought I could. I face fears while afraid. I absolutely trust God and love learning. So, that brings me back to the opening questions about Barnacles, of all things.

My sister-cousin and I were working side by side on our various work related projects at my dining room table, when I shared an idea. We began talking about buried treasure, pirates, and then she began talking about barnacles. We were off and running learning more facts about barnacles than we ever could imagine. When I look at the picture above, of the boat that is just ladened with possibly thousands of barnacles, it does two things:

- makes my skin crawl

- makes me consider with curiosity and cautiousness, what barnacles have easily attached in my life?

Barnacles are little sea creatures that attach themselves to all sorts of things like anchors, boat hulls - even the tails of a whale. Once attached, they begin to form a very hard shell around themselves for protection.

From the time I was quite young I was very sensitive, you know, my feelings were easily hurt. Somehow, I figured out that acting as though things didn’t bother me felt less painful in the moment. After years of that, I noticed for a while I didn’t feel much at all. I began to emotionally shut down. It took me a while to even notice because it became a way of being. This shell of looking independent, aloof, strong, yet nice, was so well-rehearsed that I fooled myself. As this shell became harder so did my heart. I had the unconscious belief that a protected heart could keep emotional pain far away. These gathered hurts, disappointments, losses, and tears attached to my heart in a tangled fashion. That first realization of this barnacle infestation caused me overwhelming shock, it caused me to fall to my knees, and just weep.

This very hard concrete-like shell is extremely difficult to scrape off. It takes chemicals, scrapers, scrubbers, and patience.

Those tears had been locked up for a long time, as they began to seep and then flood, my heart slowly began to open and soften. I gradually began to share those tears outside the confines of my own home; the tears flowed with or without my permission. I went against my norm and asked for help in all sorts of ways, from all kinds of people, in places I never knew were available. The tears, began to prepare for the scraping and scrubbing. That particular deep cleansing required me to look at things about ME that I avoided; to look at some of the repeated patterns that I could so clearly see in others but not in myself. It was excruciatingly painful and after a while I began to notice some internal changes that were showing up in all kinds of ways. There were also those times when I’d feel hurt and see the faint ring of some of those removed barnacles. Depending on the depth of hurt, those reminders of the removed barnacles became thoughts of escape back to hardness or an opportunity to remember that without so many barnacles; I could move through experiences more fluidly, using pain as a provision for wisdom, rather than an undertow that would keep me from moving.

When someone says or does something that doesn't feel very good - perhaps, it's hurtful or unkind or even untrue, it can stick to us. Sometimes we let these things that are stuck to us harden. They can become nearly impossible to remove or scrape off. It requires a great deal of effort to remove these feelings from ourselves. Having barnacles attached to us slows us down. We don't glide through life as easily when we have old junk or barnacles stuck to us. It creates a real drag!

Sometimes we are the ship's hull with barnacles attached and sometimes we are the ones that are creating the barnacles on someone else. In either case, remove the barnacles sooner than later.

Just for thought:

What barnacles are attached to you that are creating drag and need to be scraped off?

What barnacles have you attached to someone else's ship and you need to go and help them scrape it off?

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Chicago, Illinois 60601

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