Obstacles on the Road of Life: A Turtle Story
Updated: Jul 30, 2022
“The obstacles on the road of Life don’t take us off track, they put us on it.” ~ Yvonne Adams
Life is teaching us all the time, and communicates through many different “teachers.” Recently I had an encounter with just such a teacher, in the form of a Turtle. As I drove down a long, straight stretch of country road, I saw this turtle up ahead. Rather than meandering slowly across the road as they usually do, this guy was walking with great determination (and dare I say, speed!) straight towards me down the middle of my lane. Even with my car approaching, he had no hesitation and was not deterred in the slightest from his path. I stopped my car in the lane and put on my hazard lights, to protect him from oncoming cars and to warn other drivers; then I got out and attempted to encourage the turtle towards the shoulder of the road where he’d be safe in the tall grass and wooded area. He did not appreciate my intervention. Not the least bit afraid, he was simply annoyed and frustrated with me, expressing himself in little grunts before retreating into his shell momentarily as if to say “Leave me alone! Let me get on with what I’m doing!” Then he'd burst back out of his shell and into full forward motion again. We went through this repeatedly, as I directed cars around us while continuing my attempts to steer him to safety. As he refused to go to the nearest side of the road, I then tried encouraging him to the other side where there was mowed lawn and a driveway, and finally he conceded. From there, he could at least travel safely to wherever he was trying to get to. Phew! Sometimes we are just like that turtle- stubbornly determined to continue on our familiar or chosen path, unaware that to do so may not be in our best interest. Life keeps trying to look out for us, to redirect us, but we misperceive those redirects as “getting us off course” or being lead into a dense thicket where we fear we’ll be lost. We charge ahead, resenting and resisting the helpful guidance Life attempts to offer. One might think that moving forward with speed and determination on a straight open road would be the quickest way to your destination- the shortest distance between two points is, after all, a straight line. But sometimes that straight path is a certain “death”- as it would surely have been for this turtle. Going “off course” can actually get us to our metaphorical destination faster and with all aspects of our Self intact. Many times, we arrive at an even better destination than we could have imagined when we began our quest. If we can surrender our need to be in control and have it all figured out, if we can trust that Life does, in fact, have our back and is always working towards our highest good, then we can start to align our internal compass with that higher guidance that is always available, always trying to support us. We can cooperate and co-create with Life in a way that ultimately brings harmony not only to ourselves, but to everyone affected by our choices and actions. Self Care suggestion: Reset your internal compass by connecting to your own “center” several times a day, even if only for a moment, so that it’s easier to do so when you really need to. When you are calm and centered, you come into right alignment with your Self, and can more easily receive the guidance Life offers. When in doubt, get still, go within...feel your breath, feel your body...mentally try on different options, imagining what it would feel like to go this way or that, and move in the direction that feels most harmonious and peaceful to you.