Holding him steady in her hand I moved in closer and spied his little beady red eyes, with slits for pupils and wondered what he was thinking in that shell of his. Turtles get to walk around wearing their home on their back and a hard shell, a safe place in which to retreat when the going gets bad along their path in this life. We humans are just like that turtle when we get scared we retreat when we can to the comfort of our home. When we are too far from home we just pull our head and limbs back into ourselves so no one can harm our most vulnerable parts of who we are.
We have all been there moseying along through life and suddenly we encounter a person who is ready to stomp on us with their criticism and harsh tongue and we have no place to run so we just stand there and look as though we are listening but we are trying to close down our sensitive side and trying to access that hard shell so it won’t hurt so much. We try to use our inner self defense mechanism with distance from those who are negative and only bring the darkest parts of life into our view threatening to bring us down with them. Self defense is definitely needed in our culture especially in our working world we have to develop a shell so we can make it through.
Although we have that shell and are ready to retreat at any given moment we need to remember that there are times in life we need to keep our head outside and let our hearts grow as well. If we never let our limbs extend from that safety zone we cannot go anywhere. When we are with friends, family and in healthy environments we need to give ourselves permission to be vulnerable with others we trust so that we may grow to our fullest potential.
You see the turtle is not stationary. He moves at a slower pace but he keeps moving. He is acutely aware of his surroundings and retreats when needed and when the threats have passed he moves once again. We should learn from the turtle, use our shells when necessary but keep on moving, slow and steady our whole lives through.