Toads, Turtles & Messages from the Woods
It started with toads. (Yes, toads!) For months, while rambling along the woodland path, I would notice that a toad would leap out in front of me, then quickly hop across the path. But it wasn’t just one toad. There were heaps of them every time I went hiking. One morning, with seemingly more toads than ever, I thought to myself, “What’s with all these toads crossing my path?” As soon as I asked the question, I received the answer, “Opportunities!”
Who was giving me this message? The helping spirits of the woods? Higher Consciousness? Gaia herself? Or was it just a random thought? Whatever the source, it didn’t matter because it brought me information that I needed in that particular moment. The message for me was this: “While walking life’s path, many opportunities will present themselves. Learn to recognize these opportunities. Choose which ones to pursue, but know and trust that the Universe is bringing you opportunities as numerous as toads in the forest.”
I felt very comforted from the message and I loved the humour of the delivery, since we don’t normally associate opportunities (something positive) with toads that often have a negative connotation and a high gross factor. I’m now keeping my eyes open and am finding lots of toads, a.k.a. opportunities, where I least expect them!
The New Path – At Meadowlily, the path in the woods follows the river’s bends. Trekking along the path provides a high vantage point and one can look down upon the river, the ducks and geese below. There’s something special about seeing the world from up high and it was one of my favourite parts of the hike. Then, one day, the path was closed and I was not pleased! Reluctantly, I followed the new path, and abandoned my favourite old walkway. Sometimes when I came to that forced fork in the road, I would stare longingly at the old path. I wanted things to be the way they were before. I wanted the familiar old way: it was comfortable and held many memories. The few times that I gave in to my longing and took the old path, I was filled with guilt knowing that the trail was closed to allow for natural reforestation. After all, the “Trail Closed” sign did state, “The long term health of this environmentally significant area depends upon your cooperation.”
One day as I stood at the fork in the road, longing for the old way, I heard the words, “Follow the new path.” And so, reluctantly, I did. It was that day that I saw a turtle on the path which may seem like no big deal, but it was the first time I had ever seen a turtle at Meadowlily in ten years of hiking there!
The message “follow the new path” was, of course, not just about the path in the woods, but had much wisdom for what was happening in my life at that time. The message is about being willing to let go of the old and experience the new. It was about trusting that new paths are opening up for a reason. “We are being new shown new ways. It takes courage to follow them.”* If I hadn’t followed the new path that day, I never would have seen the turtle. And I’ve now created a new memory for the new path. Yes, I still remember the old path fondly, but now I’m looking forward to experiencing what the new path brings.
Obstacles on the Path – When hiking, sometimes one will find an obstacle across the path, perhaps a stream or a fallen tree. If the tree is too big to climb over or under, naturally we go around, using our inherent ability to find solutions to problems. I often marvel at the ingenuity of other hikers in overcoming these obstacles. At one stream, sticks have been piled together to form a makeshift bridge and I picture each hiker that has travelled this path before me, adding his/her own stick, so that over time the bridge becomes a community collective of resourcefulness. Although we have never met, we have built a bridge together and, each time I walk across it, I can feel my fellow hikers saying, “Hello, fellow journeyer. Here is something to help you on your way. I am pleased to be a part of your passage. Enjoy your ramble.”
These path obstacles also have shown me that we each have our own way of dealing with complications. At another stream, a tree felled by lightning had collapsed creating a natural footbridge. The tree has at least a 6” diameter, so is wide enough for even an adult to walk across. I observed how the two grandkids each approached this hurdle in their own unique way. The oldest, being very cautious, sat on the fallen tree and skooched across on his butt. Since the log was mere inches above the water, perhaps he was being overly wary. His younger brother, on the other hand, ran across the log without any thought of falling. A different approach entirely, one that has its place too. When we encountered another log across the stream, this time several meters above the water, his devil-may-care attitude needed some tempering from his brother’s let’s-be-careful outlook (and additional words of caution from gramma). Different approaches, each appropriate in its own time, to each person.
The Turtle – Remember that turtle that I met on the new path? Seeing it was a delightful surprise and the memory of that continues to bring me joy each time I walk that path. Turtle also reminded me about the nature of the Reconnective Healing work that I do.
When I first saw the turtle, it was on the new path which is actually quite a distance from the river. The path was dry, dusty, and in full sun. The turtle was small, the size of toonie. It was motionless, laying in the middle of what I perceived to be an inhospitable environment for a turtle. The turtle was speckled with sand and dust. I actually thought it was dead and, instinctively, I began to do Reconnective Healing with the turtle, bringing in the healing frequencies. Immediately, perhaps frightened by the shadow cast by my hands, the turtle tucked in its legs and arms. Its head, too, was tucked in slightly, but it kept just enough of its head out so it could keep a wary eye on me. I continued moving my hands around the turtle, bringing in the frequencies, and within 90 seconds, it suddenly popped out its head, arms and legs and took off at a pace that would certainly rival any hare!
A few days later, I returned for another hike only to find the turtle, once again, in the middle of the path. This time I pondered what to do…Should I pick it up and carry it to the river? Don’t turtles belong in water? What if this turtle was a land turtle? Is there such a thing? Is it just sunning itself? What if I interfere and cause it harm?
Uncertain what else to do for this turtle, I knew I could at least give Reconnective Healing. And so I did. Within seconds of engaging the frequencies, the turtle opened its eyes and took off again like a rocket. (Who says turtles are slow? This guy could MOVE!) Obviously, Turtle knew better than I what it needed most. And that reminded me about Reconnective Healing. You see, after a session, clients will often ask, “What did you notice?” or, after telling me what they experienced, will want to know my interpretation of what it means. But my interpretation would simply be my interpretation, and the client’s experience is for him/her to determine what it means. Just like the turtle, the client knows best. If they don’t know in the moment, it is for them to discover later. There is great learning in seeking and finding the answers.
With Reconnective Healing, we also do not direct the frequencies or give a specific intent. For example, we don’t give intent to heal a knee or direct the energy there. Instead, we work from a broader, general intention for healing (non-specific), trusting that healing will come in the form that the Universe has specifically designed for the client, whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
In shamanism, there are many generalized teachings from Turtle totem wisdom, but it up to us to discern the individual teaching. The message for me that day was a gentle reminder about not needing to direct the outcome in Reconnective Healing, but simply to be present in the healing process to allow for the 3-way interaction between Source energy, my energy and that of the client.
*”The Reconnection”, Dr. Eric Pearl