Conversation With A Tortoise – Part II

T & Me – On Faith And Freedom

Me: It is my last morning. And I have been having the most miserable time. Here I am, sitting on this seat for the final time, crying my heart out. Then I hear some rustling and I think to myself …

“That can’t be another tortoise can it?
On my last morning –
As I saw one on the first.
That would be quite something.”

So, I wander over to the fence where I had seen you before and, after a quick scour on my side of the fence, I spot you. On the other side of the fence! Sitting in the sunshine, looking calm and content. You are not pushing up against the fence. You don’t look as if you really want to be getting to anywhere else. You are just sitting there, soaking up the sun. You look happy over on that side of the fence. I had imagined that you would.

T: I always knew I would come back and see you. It was just going to take me a while to make my way. But I knew I would, with persistence and patience and faith. I knew it was possible. I knew I had to just keep on trying and eventually my gap would show itself to me. And it did. Then I made my way back here, to my favourite place on the planet. I wonder, if you ever find your way through the gap in the fence, will you come back here too, to your favourite spot on earth? I hope you do, and I’ll meet you here, and we can sit and enjoy soaking up the sunshine together.

I know you would enjoy sitting in the sunshine with me, but I think you may have your own fence you are battling against right now. Be patient, be persistent, have faith. The universe will help you. I am a creature created to keep trying, no matter how long things take. You were made in the same way. You too have the strength to keep trying until you find your gap. I know you had wanted to help me. But this was a challenge I had to overcome for myself. You were right not to intervene. That would have frightened me – possibly damaged me – it may have prevented me ever reaching this sunbeam. But here I am now, where I always wanted to be, and I am grateful for you allowing me to travel my path, as only I can, in order to get here.

Me: I felt consoled seeing you there in your sunbeam my tortoise friend. I couldn’t quite believe you had come back to visit me on my very last day. Seeing you, and trying to understand what you were trying to show me, comforted me somehow. Especially in that place – as close to Heaven as I have ever felt. But I still felt some despair – a fear that I will never find my way through the fence. I keep banging and scuffling up against it, but I do not know where my gap is, and I don’t know how to find the sun like you have. To find contentment and stillness. I feel my whole life has been battling against the fence, and it made me sob to think I may never make it. I cried for some time about that.

And then I congratulated you on your success and asked for help to find my own way through. The problem is I am not sure what my fence is made of, and I have no clue where my gap may be. And what if the other side of the fence is not lusher and more peaceful as I believe? What if the sun is no warmer on that side than this? What if it is a mistake to make my way over the fence. What if something bad happens to you on that side that would mean you would have been safer on this?

T: I don’t see it that way. And, none of us know what is to come. An eagle could swoop down at any moment and take me. And that could happen on either side. There are no guarantees. But for now, I am where I battled to be. This sunbeam, this patch of light, this area of lush vegetation, this side of the fence – for this is freedom. And that is all I wanted, freedom from the barrier that kept me from all of those things.

Me: I am scared tortoise. I am scared of not making it through my own fence, and also of what might become of me if I do. I don’t know what to do for the best and I don’t know how to reach the sunshine I am seeking, or if it even truly exists?

T: You’ve felt the sun here right? And you have felt it before haven’t you? That was many years ago now. In meeting me, you are being guided to find your sunshine once again, and live it and breath it in every day. I know you are scared, but you are up against the fence now anyway aren’t you. You are looking over here at this sunshine and thinking …

“If only, just once, I could experience that freedom, that peace, to bathe in that glorious sunlight”

Am I right? So you are battering and stumbling along the fence just like I was. How long are you going to keep doing that for? It is not very fulfilling is it? And meanwhile, you are missing the beautiful view right behind you. You are staring at a fence, making little headway toward the sunbeam you claim to crave.

So, can I make a suggestion? Just as I was guided to find my gap, have faith that this too is the intention for you. You were made to find your sunbeam. You believe that now more than ever don’t you? Having seen me again, in this place, so close to Heaven.

“May I suggest you carry on up the hill as I have done.
Continue along the fence as I have done.

And, when it is the right time, you will reach your gap, and be guided to the patch of sunshine that is meant for you. It is waiting for you, and it will be seen to that you find it. Have faith. Have patience. And know that you have the strength and the persistence to make it to that sunbeam. No, it may not be easy for you, as it has not been easy for me. But do I not now look at peace, do I not look calm, do I not look content in my sunbeam? It will be so for you too. You will be helped through the fence at the right time. Yes, there is a little more hill to climb yet, but believe me when I say the effort is worth it. I wish you well, and I look forward to seeing you back here in this heavenly place. There is a sunbeam waiting for you, and you will find your way into its light I promise.

Me: Tortoise, you have inspired me more than you will ever know. I am so sad to be leaving you today. I am sad to be leaving the warmth of this sunlight I have felt. But, there will be more sunshine. And on another day, the sun will be drawn to me again, and bathe me fully in its glorious light. I will miss you tortoise. But I am so thankful for you. You have helped me to believe I can find my way up the hill, to the gap I am meant to go through, in order to find the sunlight I crave.

Copyright © 2018 · Forty and Everything After


Conversation With A Tortoise – Part I

First Encounter With An Unlikely Spirit Animal

Me: So, I came to this seat on that first morning, to spend a little quiet time, to watch the butterflies and the paragliders floating by. It was beautiful, serene, the closest to Heaven I had ever felt. And then you came along. My first wild tortoise. I could hear scuffling in the undergrowth. For some time I heard it, but didn’t know it was you. Eventually I had to go and explore and there you were. My heart filled up with joy to see you.

I thought …

“This is perfect.
Look at who I have found.
How lucky am I”

Read More »

The World Is My Oyster

Recently I started a course in Counselling and Psychotherapy. As part of this course I have to undertake my own training therapy. My first session was last week. I am already hooked. I find this stuff absolutely fascinating. The things I have been learning just make so much sense to me. I want nothing more than to dive into a bath of all of these books I have been buying, until their nutrients seeps through my skin and I have become a knowledge-filled, prune-skinned, wise woman.

It reminded me of a favourite blog piece of mine, written whilst I was undergoing my own counselling a year or two ago … when my head and my heart hurt and I couldn’t say why.

That whole process was life-changing for me, and it has now inspired me to finally follow my passion for all things human, and sign up for the course I am now engaged in.

And so, as a new year approaches, and the world seems to be my oyster once again, I wanted to share this personal fairytale one more time.

The Path To Wise Counsel – A Tale

Once upon a time there was a small version of me. This girl had chutzpah, she had self-confidence and just the right amount of sass. This small version of me had utter certainty that the world was her oyster, and she fully intended to be the creator of pearls.Read More »

Today I Am Grateful For …

I have spent the last few days at my best friends house. Circumstances had sadly prevented me from visiting for a while, so I am especially delighted to be here now. I’ve been having lots of fun with her two sons who are full of cuddles and “I Love You!!”s. I can soak that kind of stuff up all day long. Who wouldn’t enjoy such squishy salutation every half an hour or so?

In a quiet moment (which to be fair come few and far between in a house that contains young boisterous boys) I thought I would share a little practice I took up a few years ago, which helps me to capture such smile inducing moments as these, as well as giving me a space to consider the gifts that the harder days in life may have to offer.Read More »

Poison Ivy & Ninja Skills

It is the darndest thing. When you have a mind that, for whatever perverse reason, would rather see you suffer than be at peace. It looks for things to worry about. It looks for things that will hurt you. And, if it cannot find them readily, it will invent them. And my God is it good at that!

I have such a mind.

As I wrote in my last post, some good things have happened for me of late. They had been a long time in coming. Prior to their arrival, I was battling hard to keep on top of the anxiety monsters that were growling and growing in my stomach. Though winning most rounds in this bare-knuckle fight, some days it was a very close run thing. There were many days I had to talk myself down from a full-blown panic attack.

Then these good things came along all of a sudden. And my anxiety got really confused, and not a little angry. And ever since, it has been trying its damnedest to find new things to trouble me with. Read More »

Inspiration From The New Kids On My Block

I spent a few days at my brother’s last weekend. It was so lovely to see him and his gorgeous family. I felt the most myself I have felt for a good while – briefly stepping away from current stresses (which have been causing regular nausea and anxiety), and just being with this person – who in many ways feels like the other half of the person I am. Though we do not live near one another (sadly) our shared experiences attach us with a bond that I could feel with no other human being. I don’t have to ‘Be’ anything with my brother. I am just me and he is just he. I don’t have to pretend I’m fine if I’m not, or hide the things that are not working right now, and I am pleased to say he doesn’t do that with me either. Even though we are both struggling in our different ways at present, it felt good to be there for one another. As it has always been. As it always will be.

It was so joyful (as ever) to see my niece and nephews too. What beautiful, humour filled, captivating people they are. So full of what they are doing and what comes next in their lives. I am truly envious of them sometimes. With it all ahead of them.

All of their choices there for the taking

All possible mistakes there for the making

And their young hearts open to the inevitability of breaking

Read More »

Lessons Learned Log: My mind is not a sausage machine

Some of the best advice I was ever given was by a friend of mine who knew I was wrestling with a particular problem, and making myself sick trying to force the answer to emerge. She bought me a greeting card and gave it to me, a few days before I took myself off on my first ever silent retreat, to try and figure out what on earth I was going to do next with my life.

The card shared the following words from Rainer Maria Rilke:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves”

These words (taken from a letter written by Rilke in 1903) continued ….Read More »