Slowing Down with a Seaturtle

I walked down the wooden boardwalk looking forward to sitting by the water. I love to write and had several projects I wanted to finish but I couldn’t stand to be inside on such a beautiful day. The thought of writing while sitting on the dock sounded perfect.

As I rounded the final bend of the boardwalk, I saw the familiar old metal chair. It was empty, unusual on such a beautiful day. Great! I sat down and I propped my feet on the end of the dock. I opened my laptop, peered over my screen to see the tips of my toes and saw the water stretching before me. Perfect! Sitting here was going to be inspirational, I could feel it. I’ll get something accomplished and be outside I thought as I began to write.

Shortly after I began, something caught my eye in the water. About two feet from the dock was a sea turtle that had surfaced and looked at me briefly. I’ve lived here for almost nine years and NEVER seen a sea turtle in the water. I was excited to see one in it’s natural environment, especially right in front of me!

I put down my laptop, grabbed my phone to take a photo. By the time I did that, the turtle disappeared below the surface. I went back to writing and a few minutes later the turtle surfaced again. I attempted to snag another photo and it disappeared below the surface. I stood there waiting for it to return. And waiting and waiting. Nothing. So I went back to writing. Well, attempting to write. At this point I was getting distracted and the urge to write was slowly diminishing.

A few minutes later it surfaced again to the left of the dock. Unsuccessfully I tried more photos and it disappeared. A few more rounds of this game of tag ensued till it finally happened; I closed the laptop and stuffed in its black bag. The urge to write had disappeared; I felt a deeper desire.

As I sat there, I looked up at the rich blue sky and noted the curvy white clouds that looked as if they were spray painted in place. I felt the perfect eastern breeze off the water blow into my face and then through my soul. Ahhh…… this is why I really came here.

Periodically the warm sun above me would briefly darken as a flock of pelicans effortlessly glided over in formation. As the water gently lapped the dock, everything appeared to be in perfect synchronization. Instead of it being a backdrop for my work it had become the centerpiece of this moment. I felt the joy and peace of just being right here.

Soon, my turtle friend popped up again as if to see what I was doing. I didn’t even try to take its picture this time. I just enjoyed the beauty of its spotted head and flippers and the privilege of seeing it so close.

The afternoon waned, like the sun in the deep blue sky, and soon it was time to walk home. As I slowly made my way, the joy of the turtle was obvious. If it weren’t for him, I would’ve filled a beautiful afternoon with more tasks. Instead, I didn’t do anything but be fully present, nourishing my soul and enjoying beautiful moments unfold right in front of me.

When I returned home, I looked up the symbolism of a sea turtle and smiled. One of the first things mentioned is not push so fast that I miss opportunities. To enjoy the journey of life and allow it to unfold in divine order.

Even though I didn’t complete any of my writing at the dock, I felt peaceful and amazingly fulfilled. Later that night, when I did sit down to write, the words just came to me effortlessly.

What a perfect reminder to slow down and enjoy the moments of life as they unfold. Knowing they’ll unfold perfectly in divine order.

Into the Light

Do you know anyone who might want this plant? I asked my friend who was on Skype and knows everything botanical. She wanted to see it, so I went out to the patio, drug it out of the corner and held the laptop in front of it.

It is a frangipani, or what I affectionately call it a stick plant. The shoots stood about 4 feet tall and were just bare sticks; nothing really interesting.

I left it in the middle of the patio so I could just grab it when it was time to take it away. After a week, it appeared to be have green on the ends of the nubs. The person who wanted it was unavailable and I was too lazy to move it back to the shaded corner.

After two weeks, the nubs had turned green and it was obvious this plant was growing. I didn’t call the person who wanted it because now I was curious what was going to happen.

Fast forward to 4 weeks later and this plant is alive!! The previous bare nubs have 3-4 inches (yes I measured!) of new growth and each one has many big green leaves and bright, fragrant flowers have appeared. Needless to say, it’s thriving and I’m keeping it.

So what was the change? I moved it from the shaded, corner of the patio where it just sat in oblivion. Sitting under a tree, there wasn’t much water, little sun, and no attention.

Moving it to the center of the patio, placed in the direct sun and it was fully exposed to soak up the morning dew or afternoon rain. Plus as it started growing, I’d walk over and notice it. Now I wander over and smell the fragrant flowers and amazed at how tall it’s getting.

As I look at changes I’m planning in my life that sometimes seem just short of overwhelming, I look at this plant. It wasn’t a massive change that made it thrive, it was a shift in position. From the shade into the light was all it needed.

Maybe some of these changes to aren’t that difficult after all……maybe I just need to shift more into the light, where I can be exposed to the experiences that help me grow.

Attention helps us Thrive

This is an excerpt from my new book Climb that Fence, take that Leap which is a compilation of animal stories and the life insights I observed. I wrote it to encourage people to make positive changes and bring more awareness to the animals. Available on Amazon, I hope you enjoy the stories and I’d love to hear yours, so feel free to drop me a line.

Things Come Alive with Attention:
Ever since I took Keiko (my cat) to the park that day and let her out every evening, she was wired. Every morning she was under foot, walking around the kitchen and living room. I’d be upstairs getting dressed and here would come this spindly, almost wobbly cat blasting up the stairs.

At times, it was really annoying to hear the constant meowing, so I’d pick her up. “What is your problem?” I’d ask. I thought she might be in pain. As soon as I picked her up, all I heard was the familiar sound of contentment: purring.

What had changed with her? I had not given her any different medicine, and she had become skinnier by the day. But something was obviously different.

Let’s see, she went from just hanging around the house and receiving whatever “leftover” attention I had to being the first to receive attention. She received my attention first and foremost, and we spent quality time together.

Even if I had other things I “should have” been doing, I took time to make sure she went outside and had fun. The more time I spent with her, the more alive she became.

Just like a plant that requires water regularly, we all need regular, meaningful attention—validation that we are loved, that someone cares, that we make a difference. Without that knowing, we become lethargic and lost, and we lose hope.

When we think that no one cares, it often shows. It is easy to put on a tough exterior and give the appearance that we don’t care, but deep down it can be pretty lonely on our own.

The basic need to be loved is universal among people and animals. Pets fill that need and do it unconditionally. No matter the day, our relationship, or our status, our pets love us anyway. That’s why we enjoy them so much and why they’re often used in therapy. There’s something soothing about petting a happy fur ball.

Stop and think right now: Where can you show some attention that would make a difference? Where have you taken someone/a pet for granted? Write a thank you note, make a phone call, bring home dinner, turn off the TV, etc. Take a few minutes out of your day and give some love.

Just a few minutes is all it takes. You’ll be surprised how alive someone will feel. Guess what, so will you!!!

Letting Love Out

As I held the heart shaped crystal in my hand, all you could see was a tiny sliver. The rest was covered by my fingers. I didn’t think much of it, that’s how I always held it. Then one day, I decided to open my fingers and let the stone rest in my palm. The full colors and beauty shown and could be viewed from all angles.  Wow, it was pretty when it wasn’t covered up.

I bet you think this is a story about opening your heart. Close, but not what you think.  I began to look a little deeper and realized an important lesson. With the stone sitting in my palm, its beauty could radiate in all directions.

Here’s what I realized that made an amazing change in my life.   We’ve all heard about letting love in and opening our heart. Agreed….but for me, letting love OUT was a big key.

Recently I’ve experimented with opening my heart and letting love flow from all directions to everyone. I have my boundaries of course and no way am I being a doormat!!

But, I’ve just allowed love to flow as much as possible without expectations.  Drivers not paying attention, less than motivated co-workers asking the same dumb questions, rude people, etc. Of course don’t forget the big one; myself and my quirks. I’ve made a conscious effort to be kind and either attempt to find the good in all interactions or just let it go.

Guess what has happened in literally days? People go out of their way to be friendly to me, major issues seem have become much easier to resolve and several of my goals, are just falling into place almost effortlessly.  Even my cats sit next to me more instead of hanging outside.  You know if your cats accept you, you’re doing something right!!!

This doesn’t mean everything is just blissful. Life challenges still arise and have to be dealt with, bills need to paid, groceries bought, the cars still need fuel, dinner has to be cooked, laundry done and the house still doesn’t clean itself.  Darn!!

And don’t think I’m perfect now either.  Ha! I still feel fear, pain, anger, and can spout off a tirade of expletives at the drop of a hat. But hey I’m on a journey of learning. I’m not perfect and thank god, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself!

As you wander this road of life, try letting love out and see what happens.  If we all did, there’d be a whole lot more love in the world and that would be a very good thing.