Tuesday, January 8, 2013
I am a Turtle
I am a turtle. No matter what happens to this shell (my body), it does NOT effect my spirit unless I allow it too. True, my wounds occurred as a child before I had that realization. So for many years, I believed that I was irreparably damaged. As the turtle, I didn’t realize that I had pulled my vulnerable parts tightly inside my shell and continued to live wounded. Long after the wounds stopped, long into adulthood, I still lived wounded. To be within my shell, I was safe. I couldn’t be harmed. I was comfortable and happy there. I had survived my ordeal.
What I didn’t realize, was that even as an adult, I was only surviving. I still allowed my wounds to effect my spirit. By choosing to stay inside my shell (walls or whatever other analogy used to describe protective measures), I was still choosing to live wounded. As long as I continued in that choice, I’d never heal or grow. After all, a turtle tightly tucked in his shell, doesn’t move. I wasn’t moving, spiritually, emotionally or physically until I decided to brave the vulnerability of exposing my turtle legs…then my turtle arms and eventually my turtle head.
With the confidence of not having any appendages ravaged by a predator, I gained the confidence to take a step, then two. And just like the apprehensive turtle, at any sign of danger, I suck right back into my shell. Having seen the world, I’m no longer content to stay inside. So, I venture out of the safety of my shell again and again, still retreating back in at times but with growing courage and confidence to continue moving. Moving toward life. The life I want to live. A life of love and trust instead of fear and suspicion. A life of joy and hope instead of complacency and disappointment. A life of beauty and wonder instead of dark clouds and pessimism. A life being lived instead of survived.
I have become very fond of the turtle as symbolic to my emotional healing. Truly, it is as slow as the turtle and really does happen by building on one baby step at a time. But this journey all began with the realization that I wasn’t living, I was still “surviving” and purposefully choosing to muster the courage to be vulnerable so I could heal and grow and live. One day this turtle will have the confidence to cast off that shell, completely free of the damage that was inflicted upon it. Showing the world my spirit, my essence, the real me. But today is not that day. Today, my head is peeking out to see this beautiful world, wondering if it is indeed safe.