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Turtle Wisdom

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

My mom takes daily walks at the river by her house. There is a turtle conservation project and over time my mom has been witness to some of the goings-on of these ancient creatures. She has watched as they waddle slowly from river to grass in search of a safe place to build a nest and she has spoken often to the conservationists keeping watch, assuring the survival of the species in an urban environment.

One of the things my mom recently learned was that the female turtle will sometimes find very hard ground to build her nest in, this requires her to work super hard with her sturdy back legs to kick at the earth and loosen it enough for it to be dug out. It’s a long arduous process but the turtle doesn’t seem to mind, she just goes about her work. One of the fascinating things she was told by the guardian of this particular turtle is that the female carries water in her shell, so that as she digs at the bone dry earth she can soften it enough to become the shape she needs it to be. This struck me, here this wise turtle has brought along with her an element that will bring ease to the work she must do.

So. What’s your water?

It’s given me pause as I consider some of the beliefs I/we seem to hold true. I see two scenarios unfolding here and that I want to break down. Firstly, as for the momma turtle who so wisely has evolved to know to cart her own water around should she need it, what a lesson in adaptability she is teaching us. What do you carry around in your shell to ensure that the job you have to do is done with as much ease as possible? What tools have you adopted over time to ensure that your environment can be made comfortable and habitable?

For me this is why I cart around the same set of beautiful belongings, whether I’m moving house, living in my RV for a few months or travelling to a new country.

  1. essential oils and diffuser — I don’t go anywhere without them to use as my plant-based pharmacy on the go, to cleanse the air and to bring instant harmonious feelings to my mind and body through the memory correlation between our senses

  2. crystals and plants — one day I hope to be a fab green thumb with a vibrant garden and a house dripping in greenery, for now I have a few portable little succulents and they went thousands of miles with me when we travelled a couple years ago. Crystals on the bedside table, in my pocket, gracing any surface I’m present in for long enough; for their high vibration, the energetic boundaries they cast and the way they sparkle in the light

  3. oracles — a deck or Runes go where I go, maybe even just the mini Angel Cards, something that bring me instant connection to my higher source in any situation

  4. water bottle — like the turtle, we’ve got to stay hydrated!

Of course these are just the tangible tools. But what of resilience, confidence, trust in the unfolding of life, certainty in our wellbeing no matter what has been thrown at us? These are the real essentials, the ‘water’ I make sure to keep handy. What are yours?

I was contemplative on the nature of the turtle and her adaptability. Thinking of, what I believe, are cultural norms — is it just for us Canadians, or all North Americans I wonder? Or is it our European descent? We seem to have a ‘stick to it’ type of persevering spirit. I have always seen this as admirable, I know that I embody it as being ok no matter the situation. I will always have the self-reliance needed to make the most of whatever life hands me. But I also see the downfall here, because there’s something within this thinking that can box us in.

It is commendable to have a strong constitution that can weather any storm, that can stick to it no matter how challenging the environment might have become. It’s that stalwart essence, the indomitable spirit, that makes for explorers and people who apparently settle in a part of the world that offers seven straight months of winter, two broiling hot months swarming with bugs and a few more on either side that are temperate if not squishy. But I’m curious about the part of that spirit that yearns for more, to seek further afield, to pioneer a new environment altogether. I think if we’re not careful we could be standing by our resolve so much that we dismiss the struggle, we take on an attitude of it needing to be hard to worth it. That defies my own sense of logic and I’m starting to be aware of how often I’ve ‘stuck it out’ when I really could’ve just chosen again.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a whisper in my ear that I should be able to make a go of things here, for here is where I am after all. And I’ve always felt nomadic and adventurous, wanting to explore new countries and see what other cultures value, how they live. Somehow I’m always trying to reconcile my restless soul and my homebody heart. When “the time in which we are now in” began I knew instantly that something was amiss (for me). And as I watched over weeks and months as what I speculated (and was shunned for) became reality, as our ‘stalwart, stick it out, make the most of things’ society began to crumble under nonsensical orders and oppressive restrictions, I recognized that perhaps the water that I’ve got in my shell will never make this environment as pliable or comfortable as I need it to be. Perhaps it’s meant to help me stay hydrated as I journey anew.

There was something in that notion that felt like I failed somehow. As a hardy Canadian shouldn’t I be able to stick it out?? And yet, what of my pioneer spirit, my inner compass that points me to a new direction and my deep wisdom that tells me that now is actually the time to find my comfort in a new environment?

We have two options, always. Be with what is and find the best part of it to live to your fullest potential within it. Or, change it.

This is where I am now. My family is actively making our plans to seek a new path, a new frontier. It’s actually not new, we’ve been on the journey for 18 months. We’re getting closer to going on the terms we want to and it’s exciting but overwhelming at times when I see the end goal but not the dots that need to connect in the middle. So here’s where my real tools come into action.

I’ve been the turtle in her shell since we moved to the country, using my ‘water’ to make this wonderful place our home. I’ve been in a burrow of my own making and enjoying the respite, the inward time to reflect and resolve to make big steps forward. When the timing is right. That’s the part that I can’t control so that’s when my other tools of faith in a greater plan and trust in a powerful source that holds me along the way. All of it is within perfect timing thought it’s not on my timing.

The last month has felt like a culmination of sorts and I can’t quite say why. But it was like suddenly I realized my batteries were fully charged and I was able to move from being to doing. I’m on fire with creativity that is manifesting itself into wonderful projects and all of it is tumbling out now. Back to my jewellery making from a decade ago, back into the flow of creating programs for people ready to dream bigger. And back to a sense of confidence that where I’ve been beckoned is safe to go. More will be shared as more steps are taken.

What I know of turtle wisdom is little but the essence I see is that the turtle is the perfect nomad if that’s what she chooses. With her home on her back she can travel far or she can stay close to what she knows and make the best of it. I’ve been in the latter but am ready to embrace the fact that home will be where I am, in the security of myself and my little family, in the resilience that isn’t dependent on place and in the conviction that my restless spirit will tell me when it’s ok to land for awhile. We know the turtle lives everywhere in the world except for those places too cold to inhabit, but she’ll simply burrow over the winter in our land. I’m done with burrowing for now, I’m ready to emerge and see if a new environment can bring a new life with it. I’m pointing myself south, I’ll let you know when the adventure begins.

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