“The moon moves slowly but it crosses the town.” African Proverb
Turtles have been all around me. My son’s new favorite stuffed animal is a little turtle he was given at the doctor’s office. He has aptly named him ‘turdy’. I grew up with turtle figurines throughout the house and in the gardens, my mom’s touch. Essentially I have been book-ended with turtle energy, given it is the primary animal totem for both my mom and my son. They are tight. They see eachother infrequently and were just reunited today. When they come together it is like magic, and the love between them is palpable. They will spend the month together in Vermont, while I am working in Rwanda.
Turtle tells me to slow down and to tune into my inner self, my surroundings, and to the needs of those closest to me. The creature shows up when I am most distracted and have determined that I am too busy for that which is in fact most important: relationships with self and others. During such times, when the task master is in full force, ‘turdy’ is literally in my face to tell me to stop and get still so that I can reconnect with source. When I do not listen, I start to get worn down, sick, tired, anxious, distracted, and accident-prone.
I went on my longest run ever this morning: 50 minutes. I did not know that I could run for that long and I could have even continued, through the 30 degree damp air and with a headwind on the way back. Instead of a 7 minute mile, I forced myself to slow way down, and I paid attention to my form, to my breath, to my thoughts, to nature all around me, to the pounding of my feet, and even allowed some slow music to come through my ear buds.
I have grown to enjoy running, though I up until recently I viewed it as a means to an ends, as something to rush through so I could finish and get on to the next thing. I was a sprinter in highschool and I had little endurance for long-distance. I pushed myself to the breaking point and quickly quit due to shin splints and lack of interest. Ironically turtle is teaching me how to really run for the first time, and it is a metaphor for life.
When I posted this week on Facebook that ‘my’ red-tailed hawk totem had shown up just in time for a new journey to Rwanda, a friend commented, “Jeez and all I have is a lousy turtle for a totem!”. Turtle is a powerful animal and is one of my greatest teachers at the moment. I will be sharing more about my research findings in the coming months. Please email me if you would like schedule a Pace Strategy coaching session this spring. Happy running – slow down and go far!