|I slowed my car down when I saw the animal crossing in front of me. It stopped right in the middle of the road and turned to look at me.Thankfully there weren’t any other cars on the road, so I stopped in front of him, blocking him and protecting him from possible traffic.
Getting out of my car I approached. He seemed as excited to see me as I was to see him.
It has felt like a drought in my life the last few months, living in the city, away from wilderness. The drive in the country was helping me to feel my connection to Spirit and the natural world once again.
In the car I prayed. I considered where I am, where I have been and I asked Spirit for a sign, a sign to guide me. Since I was going to be spending the whole day far away from the city, I knew Spirit would respond to my request, but I didn’t expect the answer to come so quickly.
I asked for guidance about Love, about Life and most importantly I asked, “How shall I serve?”
The words were barely out of my mouth when Spirit responded, speaking into my left ear. It whispered, “Here’s your sign, Cat.”
And there was Turtle – right in front of me.
The last time I saw Turtle was late last summer. He was in his shell, and never came out for me. My dog had found him.
She barked to alert me to the great find in our yard in Florida. With one paw on the back of Turtle she looked at me with great pride.
I thanked her for showing me Turtle and then I brought my dog inside. I hurried back hoping to connect with Turtle that day, but he had quickly disappeared. I had no idea turtles could travel so fast.
And the time before, two years ago when I was on the road I encountered Turtle. I scared him with my exuberance. He withdrew into his shell when I said ‘hello.’
At that time I listened to Turtle’s wisdom. He taught me to quiet my energy, to not be quite so enthusiastic and big. He taught me how to lure him out with a soft voice and open heart.
We had a marvelous time together way back when, once I understood how to change my energy to match his.
This time he was sticking his neck out. His head followed me as I came around the car and sat down in the middle of the road next to him. I greeted him warmly and he continued to remain present with me.
This day he didn’t mind my energy at all. He didn’t shrink back. He stretched his head towards me as far as he could.
And he said my energy was even softer now. My heart more open…
I told him I am back in the city now. Spirit relocated me back to this world, to be of service. And I confessed that it is difficult remaining in a deep place of peace and love when there is so much confusion and fear all around.
Turtle and I spoke of how easy it is to be at peace deep inside your shell. How much easier it is to feel loving toward others when you are safe inside and alone with Spirit.
He understood my need for retreat and appreciated the time I took last year to be alone, in nature, feeling safe to heal old hurts and wounds. And he reminded me there is a time for everything…and now is time to be of service.
I argued that the world here overwhelmed me. I acknowledged my open heart, but told him it made me feel more vulnerable than ever.
Since arriving in Kansas City I have often wondered if the house in Florida is still vacant and if it misses me as much as I miss it. I wonder if it will wait for me so I can retreat just in case this world gets to be too much. Physically sick and wishing I could go home I have longed more than ever for the sanctuary of nature.
And now I look at Turtle bravely sticking his neck out, in the middle of a gravel road, somewhere in Kansas. And I know I am exactly where I need to be.
Turtle says it is time for me to stick my neck out, too.
Eventually a car approached. It slowed down and the people in it looked ponderously towards us.
I let Turtle know I would have to move him to the other side. I expected him to retreat as I lifted his heavy form. Again he surprised me as he continued to stay with me, his head stretched out and at peace as I carried him.
I told Turtle, “Bye for now,” and set him in a safe place in the grass by the side of the road.
I jumped into my car and moved ahead, getting myself and my car out of the way for those waiting to pass – all going in the opposite direction.
I continued to listen to the wisdom of Turtle as I headed down the road.
“Fear will come, and the desire to retreat will always follow. Even when you feel like crawling back in your shell,” Turtle tells me,”stay.”
Fear is a part of life, we can not avoid it, but must confront it. There is a time for retreat, and that time is in the past.
Even when you feel afraid, even when large moving objects come at you, just smile and keep sticking your head out.
I shall do my best to greet what comes cheerfully, like Turtle, stretching myself like never before.
Out of my shell, in love and peace, I am here.
I am here to serve and I am here to stay.
Because how can we serve from inside a shell anyway?
In Service and In Love,