Guest post by Erin
I am a baby sea turtle. On the outside I am protected by a strong shell which was built to withstand the elements, but on the inside I am delicate, sensitive. I have just been born, emerging into the crisp bitterness of the cool air. This world is a scary place. I feel the need to return to my shell, return to safety as I seek comfort in my solitude. It can be a peaceful and rejuvenating experience to seek silence. In my shell I can focus on me, and forget about the journey ahead of me, or the dangers that lie in the midst.
At some point I begin to feel comfortable to break out of that shell. With weak legs beneath me, I start down the sandy beach to the water. The sunrise draws me in, calm and bathing me in its rays of warmth. The sand melts away from below, and I feel free again. Then it hits me, the intense cold of the ocean wave. It crashes down upon me, causing me to stumble and lose my balance. I am slipping away from the safety of shore. I am tossing and turning in the water, being carried farther and farther away from my home, until I can see it no more. On my left the darkness is creeping toward me, to the right the brilliant rays of a new dawn are providing a light to guide my way. But in what direction? Where do I go from here?
I cannot remember where I came from. It is lost. I do not know which way to go. My tiny body feels like no more than a speck in a world that is so much bigger then who I am. There are dangerous creatures out there, lurking & looming, making their presence known to me. They could strike at any moment, and I become fearful of them. I focus on the obstacles standing in my way from finding my way back; back to the only place I have ever known.
Then it hits me. Mystifying and mesmerizing. It surges through me like an electric current. Acceptance is a powerful thing.
I realize this moment is not about my past. I must accept that I may never find a path back to where I came from, and that even if I did it would be different. The water has swept away millions of tiny grains of sand, resculpting and changing the place in which I used to find comfort. In this moment I know it is not about my past or my future, but about surviving in the present. Sometimes all you can do, when trapped in a dark ocean, is learn to stay afloat. I begin to paddle, harder and faster, every muscle in my body aching, but I grow stronger with each swift move. The struggle becomes easier in the sense that I can take time to simply rest when needed. I can curl up inside my shell, finding nothing but solitude, and surrounded in beautiful silence. I am able to stay afloat now.
Alone with my thoughts, I am able to focus on who I am and what I need in order to get through each moment. There is comfort in that. I know that out there in the darkness, the light is guiding me to others who are just like me, lost, floating, & alone. When I am ready, I will find them and they will come to find me. We will reach out to one another and I know that they will be there for me. If I grow tired again, and I need to return to my shell, I hope that they will understand. They will continue to be there. There shall be no need for constant reminders while tucked away in my shell, armed with only the knowledge that they are still out there. I hope that when I emerge once again their smiles will grace my presence. I find comfort in this. The path I used to arrive here, is no longer important to me, nor is the shore itself. I am at peace where I am, here & now, in this moment alone. It is mine to savor while I have it here. It is my new forever.