Awhile back, I inherited a red eared slider turtle.
The thing with turtles is, they poop way more than fish. They release a ton of waste that sinks down and settles into the rocks. As long as you didn't wait too long between water cleanings, it wasn't really noticeable. But if you did wait too long, the water would turn brown and make the turtle sick.
This, in itself, is a striking visual of what happens when we hold onto our emotional waste.
You might not see it at first. You might feel okay for awhile. But eventually, it's going to pollute your mental and emotional system. Unresolved anger, guilt, and pain, it settles down into your rocks, where it seems innocuous. But just like how the bacteria from the turtle feces slowly poisons the water, all those feelings are slowly poisoning you.
As the turtle will surely tell you, living in your own shit is the worst. It makes you fatigued. It can cause chronic pain and illness. It can make you believe you're weak and incapable. And then it can trick you, making you think there's something wrong with you, leading you to feel more shitty feelings, which also get trapped. But there is nothing wrong with you now and never was. You just need a good tank cleaning.
Knowing the shit has to go is the easy part. Getting it out? That's when things get, ahem, a little messy.
You see, in order to change the tank water you've got to pump out the old. I used a large filter/siphon combo that I would let drain out through a window. But it's not enough to just drain the water. You have to move the pump through the rocks, or the whole thing is pointless. And this is when I began to see the bigger picture of change.
Moving the pump about stirs up the rocks.
All that waste that I ignored and pretended wasn't there, it began circulating back up into the water. It would turn into a dark brown, water poop cloud. It was such a filthy mess that I would take the turtle and fish out first.
It always frustrated me that I had to first make the water dirtier in order to get it clean.
But the thing is, there's just no way to get the shit out without stirring it up. As the water would cloud up I would always think, "My God, how did they live with that!" But the same is true of me also - when I start poking at my triggers, turning my own inner world into a murky mess, I always end up thinking afterwards, "Geeze, how did I live with that for so long!"
As the water drained, I would keep moving the pump around, getting the rocks as clean as possible. I never really enjoyed this, because it looked so unappealing. But I also knew it was going to feel amazing afterwards.
Once the water was all pretty much out, it would be time to start filling the tank with fresh, clean water. Now this part felt good! Pouring in bucket after bucket of pure, straight from the tap water was so satisfying.
It's the same feeling we get when filling ourselves with love after polluting ourselves with doubt, guilt and insecurity.
After the tank was full, there would still be a little bit of sediment floating around. It would take a few hours for everything to fully settle. This I've found to be true for me also. Just when I think I'm through it all, I find there's still a little bit left to release, a little fine tuning left to do.
And then would come the best part. The tank filter would process out what was left floating around in the water. Everything would settle. And it would look so BLUE and so CLEAR that it was mesmerizing. It was practically euphoric.
Always, at this point, I would pull up a chair, sit back, and stare at the tank. The turtle and all her little fish friends would go back in. I swear I could feel the happiness and relief radiating off of her.
She loved a clean tank the same way we love a good sage smudging.
It was during these times I would enjoy the turtle the most. Sitting in my old wooden rocker, I'd watch the tank, listening to the soft burbling of the water filter. The fish would swim back and forth in excitement, checking out the changes. The turtle would lounge under her heat lamp, stretching her neck up like she's the queen of the world and she knows it.
I would sit quietly, relaxed, reflecting on my own path, my own challenges and triumphs with change. I would gently rock back and forth, totally at peace, soaking in that feeling of crystal, clear water flowing and flowing and flowing.
If you are in the midst of change, or struggling to release things yourself, I would suggest trying my Heart Healing Light meditation. It's specifically made to clear your energy, to release things you took on from others, and to fill with you love and positive energy after you've gotten all the gunk out of the way.
Just because a leap of faith is small doesn't make it any less important.
It may, in fact, be the most important thing you ever do. Your leap may be so small no one notices but you. It may be so small it seems you're only a few inches further than before.
But that's all it takes to shift your world.
All you are required to do is love and cherish your courageous leap, just as you would this little frog, who also makes small leaps. But to her, they are the grandest leaps of all, because they are hers, and she knows each small leap helps her legs grow stronger.
She must grow them now, because it will prepare her for when she's bigger. And when that time comes, she will effortlessly take the big, huge leaps that she can only now dream of.
The following is an excerpt from a book by Jane Roberts and Seth. Jane Roberts was a mystic who shared spiritual exercises, insights, and tools for self-empowerment in a series of books in the 1970's. Although she's long since passed, her teachings live on.
The exercise below is one of hers that I've had profound results from. If you're at all curious about the Universe being a product of idea construction, or a projection of inner reality, then this will especially appeal to you. It's also great for people who have tried and tried to change patterns and circumstances in their life and continually fallen flat. If you want to learn more, the book this came from is The Nature of Personal Reality.
Many people assign great power to a hypnotist, yet whenever you have the undivided attention of another, you act as a hypnotist to a large degree.
Whenever you have your own undivided attention, you act as hypnotist and subject simultaneously.
You give yourselves post-hypnotic suggestions all the time, particularly when you project present conditions into the future. I want to impress upon you the fact that all of this is simply the natural function of the mind, and to dispel any ideas that you have about the 'magical' aspects of hypnosis.
For five or ten minutes a day at the most, then, use natural hypnosis as a method of accepting desired new beliefs. During that period concentrate your attention as vividly as possible upon one simple statement.
Repeat it over and over while focusing upon it for this time. Try to feel the statement in whatever way is possible - that is, do not allow distractions, but if your mind insists upon running about then channel its images in line with your declaration.
The repetition, verbally or mentally, is important because it activates biological patterns and reflects them. Do not strain. This exercise should not be done along with the point of power exercise given earlier. (See the 657th session in Chapter Fifteen of the Nature of Personal Reality) One should not run into the other, but should be carried out on separate occasions during the day.
During the period, however, do remember that you are using the present as a moment of power to insert new beliefs, and that these will indeed be materialized.
When the exercise is finished do not dwell upon it. Put it from your mind. You will have utilized natural hypnosis in a concentrated form. You may have to experiment some for the proper wording of your message, but three days at the very least are necessary before you can tell, through results, how effective it has been. A change of wording may be in order. When you feel right about the statement, then continue it. Your attention should be completely relaxed otherwise, for time is needed. You may experience spectacular results at once. But continue the exercise even if this happens.
Inner channels must become re-patterned. There will be a feel to this that will serve as your own individual guideline. There is no need to continue the practice over ten minutes. In fact, many will find that difficult to do. Spending a longer period of time simply reinforces the idea of problems involved.
- Jane Roberts/Seth The Nature of Personal Reality
Often times, the things we want to accomplish or do seem overwhelming and even impossible in their scope.
This is usually because we are looking at the whole thing as if it all has to be done now. No one, in the history of humanity, achieved their dreams or ambitions overnight. It is a step by step process.
Sometimes, that step is to simply take rest. We often fear taking downtime because we associate that with being lazy, or worse, with the fear that if we aren't constantly going and going nothing is happening.
When I look back over some of the incredible things that showed up for me, they always worked out when I least expected it. It wasn't when I was stressed out, burning the candle at both ends. It was after I put in the effort, set my intention, and then turned my focus else where. I let it go. Sometimes consciously, sometimes not.
Trusting it's being worked out behind the scenes, and that powerful forces are assisting us, is crucial to not only our success, but our well-being and happiness.
Consider today what choices you make in a moment to moment basis. Are they bringing you closer to what you want, or perhaps entrenching you deeper in habits you wish to release? Your life, and your dreams, are built of those small moments.
If you find yourself in a moment of worry and exhaustion, pause, breathe and pivot your thoughts to what's going right. And if things are going right, notice how you feel, breathe into it, and expand that feeling of joy and gratitude.
What is left of the caterpillar in the butterfly?
Recently, someone shared the above quote with me.
When I read it, I had so many thoughts of what this means. I continued to sit with it, and the more I thought about it, the more meaning it had for me. I love how this question so perfectly captures the mystery and depth of change.
When we change, what is left of our former selves? We are made from it, and yet, is it a part of us? Or are we a part of it?
I hope you find some time to reflect and meditate on this question also. It brought me an unexpected feeling of comfort, while also revealing things to me I had felt, but had no words for.
This question also relates to one of my favorite mantras to meditate on, which I shared here.