Get Your Turtle On

turtleA few weeks ago, I talked about NaNoWriMo and the combination of awe and fatigue I feel when I think of producing that many words so quickly.  At the same time, I also admitted that I wanted to boost my productivity, including my daily word count, and I was determined to find a way.

After dumping some bad habits I picked up over the last few months, my productivity is up.  But my word count still isn’t anywhere near as high as I’d like it to be. Part of that is my process (see last week’s blog post) but the other part of it is, well, a little more depressing.  I realized the other day that I’m more like the tortoise than the hare.

And, sure, the tortoise eventually wins the race but honestly, I’d rather be a hare. Hares have a lot more dash and flash than turtles.  They’re sleek and fast and productive. Plus, they’re cute. Turtles, not so much. They’re ground creepers. Members of the reptile family. Turtles have thick, leathery skin, an armored shell, and they are slow.  Painfully so.

I can’t remember the last time I received a compliment for going slow. Or gave one out. I like fast. I celebrate fast.  I hate getting stuck behind the slow driver on the highway. I’m impatient if I have to wait more than two or three minutes when I make a phone call. And let’s not even talk about all the waiting around on book submissions.

Unless it’s a soup that needs simmering or a garden that needs growing, we embrace fast.  It’s a mark of pride if our kids talk or walk at an early age. If our dogs finish first in agility. If we get our Christmas shopping done in October.  If we write three books a year instead of two. Or two books instead of one.

No wonder the thought of being a turtle held little appeal.  Then I found a book about totem animals. Here’s what I learned about the symbolism behind turtles:

Turtle wisdom is linked to the power of Earth. It gives us the ability to stay grounded, even in moments of chaos. It is the way of peace, whether it’s inviting us to cultivate peace of mind or walk our path in peace.

Turtle wisdom is also linked to the spirit of water. Since turtles are fast and agile in water, it has much to teach us about the fluid nature of emotions.

Turtle wisdom encourages us to slow down, to pace ourselves, and to take a break to look within.

Turtle wisdom lends us determination, persistence, emotional strength and understanding.

Turtle wisdom teaches us to travel light . . . to let go of those things we have outgrown.

Because the turtle carries its home on its back, turtle wisdom teaches us to own our space and to take all the time we need to do whatever it is we feel called to do.

Turtle wisdom encourages us to remember that we there is no such thing as failure as long as we are inching towards our goal.

Turtle wisdom reminds us to enjoy the journey and to remember that life is a never-ending process of arrival.

Turtle wisdom reassures us that we have all the time in the world . . .  and that we are always where we are supposed to be.

After reading all of that, I suddenly didn’t mind identifying with the turtle. After all, the turtle is also the symbol for longevity. And I’m in this gig for the long haul.  So my advice? Get your turtle on. And forget about the hare.

2 thoughts on “Get Your Turtle On

  1. I love this post about the wisdom of turtles! It reminds me of a recently read interview with Ursula LeGuin, who said that, at 85, she’s too old to give advice about writing novels today, but that she intends to continue as she always has: write what she wants to write.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *