Be More Sea Turtle
I was blessed this past week with being asked to give two talks on BodyWise in Hawaii, and in between talks got to bask in the natural beauty and aloha spirit of the islands.
I was touched by a few messages I received while there, that I wanted to share with you.
#1) Be more sea turtle.
In the Chinese medical tradition, the sea turtle is the animal for kidney chi (or energy), and is associated with gentleness and stillness, and the element water. I had the great pleasure of swimming with turtles, from babies to very large adults, and was struck by their ease, simple calm, and even grace in their big bodies. It occurred to me that they can be gentle and still because they carry their very strong homes with them, keeping them safe from attack and into which they can withdraw at will. How much more still and at ease would I be if I always felt at home in my own body? When we do the healing sounds and visualization for the kidneys in qi gong, we breathe in gentleness and stillness, and release fear with our out breath. I am committing this spring and summer to sinking into more gentleness with myself and moments of stillness in my life—recharging that kidney chi that my body needs for joy and creativity. And being more bodywise—more connected with my body home, and safe within in it—releasing my fear of what may or may not happen in the future
#2) Go slow to go fast.
This is a similar concept espoused to me by my surf instructor as I learned to stand up on the board and ride those waves. The concept is, that if you go slow and learn how to do this correctly the first time, you will become swift in the future, with all the separate movements melding into one fluid motion. I feel that this really does apply to my life in general. If I am gentle and slow, and truly connected to my body and deep intelligence as I move through the world, and I act with discernment, I will have fewer missteps and messes to clean up along the road of my life. I’ll go slow to go fast.
#3) Be the wave.
Nainoa Thompson is the lead navigator for the Hokulea, a sailing canoe built in the traditional Polynesian tradition that he has sailed now, literally, across the world, using only traditional navigation: reading the stars, the patterns of the waves, and using the deep intuition that is the internal compass of a Polynesian navigator. I have had the great privilege of spending time with Nainoa, and he told me this story of his teacher, Mau, who was born in Micronesia:
Mau’s teacher, his grandfather, began to teach Mau Polynesian navigation at the age of 1, as was the tradition. Mau was set around the island where the waves came in a certain way, the wind blew a certain way. At the age of 5, Mau became ill on the sailing canoe, with the waves moving up and down. His grandfather then tied his hands together and drug him behind the boat, telling him, “You feel like you are on top of the wave. You need to feel like you are the wave.” And when Mau became a part of the wave, he was no longer ill.
I actually had a little success trying to do this in some large swells off the coast of Hawaii, when I was feeling a little queasy, but the greatest lesson for me has been this: Stop resisting and being “on top of” my life, especially when it is uncomfortable. BE in the discomfort and in the reality in front of me and within me—it is the quickest way to find the way forward and move through the discomfort. Resisting prolongs the process. BE in the wave of my life.