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.