Swimming with Turtles

[gallery columns="1"] I have written quite a bit in this journal about acceptance, and lately I have been thinking a great deal about traversing farther down the road of complete acceptance of myself than I've ever gone before.  A rather tragic and unpleasant course of events that I have been dealing with over the past few months been the catalyst for this exploration, and I am fascinated to see how the connection between these two things formed.  For through this unpleasantness I have been able to truly free myself from a certain emotional prison that I had unwittingly locked myself in long ago, thinking I was doing "the right thing".  I know this sounds melodramatic, and I apologize for being vague, but it is shaping up to be a transformation of fairly epic proportions.  In spite of the fact that it is an emotionally seismic event, my recovery has been swift and sure and brought me to a place of wonderful peace and a very clear conscious on every level.

I am reminded of an experience I had last year when I was vacationing in Kauai.  On our last day, we went to a beach with coral reefs and beautiful snorkeling, and when we looked out in to the water we saw a large group of giant turtles.  After making my way out towards them, I put on my snorkel gear and went under the water.  There weren't waves crashing over me, but the tide was definitely pulling in and out, so I began watching the turtles underwater while holding onto a huge rock formation on the edge of a twenty foot drop off to a sandy ocean floor below.  I was nervous and excited and using quite a bit of energy trying to hold on to the rock while the tide tried to pull me this way and that.  Suddenly I focused on the turtles all around me - there were a dozen or so - and I watched as they just floated with the tides.  Up, down, this way, that way.  No resistance.  No holding on.  No trying to swim against anything.  Just one with the water.  As I observed this, I let go of the rock and just let the water take me, which wasn't anywhere really, as it pushed me back in as quickly and gently as it pulled me out.  And then there I was, swimming with the turtles, and using my energy to enjoy my time with them rather than trying to go against the easy force of the water.  It was one of those moments where I felt that all was right with the world, because all I had to do at that moment was to let go and trust that a stronger power - the water - would take care of me.

For a long, long time I was trying to hold on to something that was never mine to have in the first place.  I believed that this holding on was the appropriate thing to do, the best course of action.  But once I was faced with the very plain truth of what was before me, I made the choice to let go completely and walk away with the satisfaction of knowing I did the best I could do.  That alone is enough for me to feel like I climbed an extraordinary mountain that I wasn't sure I'd ever conquer, but the beautiful little bud that is beginning to bloom among this pile of ashes is this:  that the best thing I can do for myself is to accept myself just as I am, flaws, fumbles, foibles and all.

I have written of this before, so it is not a new epiphany, but there is something different in the way this is sinking in this time.  This is something purer.  I always strive to try harder, do more, be more of this and that, and this will always be a part of me.  But beneath all the goals and convictions and desires to "be the best person I can be" a newfound acceptance of my self exactly as I am in each moment is making itself known, and I feel almost giddy the more I celebrate it.  Where I used to feel anxious over the thought of upsetting someone, I now accept that, hey, I might upset someone, and they'll either get over it eventually or we'll have to work on it.  Or everything will fall apart.  And that might suck but it is not necessarily my responsibililty to fix the problem or fix myself in order to solve the problem.  I accept that my life is supremely good right now, and I have no reason to feel any guilt over that, because life might totally suck in a week or a month or a year and I want to leap through all this goodness and lap it up while I have it in front of me.  There is most certainly room for improvement in my self and in my life, but right here, right now, I feel content.  I must be doing something right, even in the midst of all my imperfection, because I would not have the friends I have otherwise.  I would not have this life.  I would not be Swirly.  I would not have this joy in my heart.

I'm sure I'll be called upon to face a few more demons as time passes and have to "work" on myself, but for now I'm sitting still in acceptance, or rather, I'm floating in it, with the giant turtles and the brightly colored fish, and the sun sparkling brightly above me.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide