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Unfinished Turtle

Unfinished Turtle sharpie and gel pens by me

This is an unfinished turtle I was working on filling in with colorful patterns. When I first created him, I didn't doubt that his destiny would be to be completed, but one afternoon when I had a piano student who was having a hard time,  and kept shutting down and closing up to any learning, I was inspired to pull out my unfinished turtle and to show it to her. I knew she was highly capable of the piano material, but something in her was pulling away from learning incrementally, crushed by mental thoughts that the road was too long, and she'd surely never make it, so why try.

I showed her the turtle, and told her how he wasn't finished. I told her how he was meant to have the four elements at each hand, and colorful patterns in each of the remaining blank spaces. I told her how each time I was faced with the task of touching marker to paper, with a new blank space to fill, I felt overwhelmed and in pain, doubtful that I could fill it with anything, and that it would take too long. But each time I just did it, even with the difficult thoughts there, something appeared almost as if by magic.

I told her how I found I had to at least stay open to just participating, and to letting the colors and patterns come as they wanted, but if I closed, there was nothing. No life, no possibility for anything. I had to let go of it needing to be good, but just give it my best.

Perhaps she was momentarily distracted by the turtle, but she started to unfurl and join me in the process of playing the piano. It was an incredibly rewarding moment, to let art open some white space for her. I wish I could say that it lasted at each lesson after that, but dealing with our reflex to close is a process.

Ironically after I shared the turtle in its unfinished state, it felt finished. The contrast of its white unfinished spaces, and its colored ones feel meant to live side by side in an unfinished state, and rather be that which speaks of staying open to possibility and moving forward, and tuning with this ebb and flow constantly.

Turtle speaks:
I am the unfinished turtle. Some of my tiles are blank, and some are full of colorful patterns. No one knows if these blank tiles will be filled or if they will remain blank. Feel energized by the colorful patterns, and see if you can feel a quiet, clear, space held inside the blanks tiles, or perhaps an exciting sense of possibility. 

Let the colorful tiles revitalize you, and the white tiles radiate peace and openness. 

Deep rest, recovery, or spark of joy at an empty canvas, or the invitation toward completion and innovation--slow, careful deliberation of moving toward the finish line. Which one sits most kindly with your being if you are fully honest and kind with yourself? 

Slow down and find which one is right for you at this time. Let yourself unlock each turtle tile like a door, take time to find the right keys and notice the wonder in the steps that make themselves known~stay quiet or go?. 

Don't be afraid to embrace an empty tile here and there if you journey gets to be too much about the race. Slow down and take in the wonder around you and let it inspire you to a new pattern, or go inside your shell for some centering. Meditate on what it is to carry your home with you wherever you go.

Whether blank or all filled in, or a little of both, stand back and take in the whole picture. Look at the world shining from your colorful patterns and the fresh light of your white space. Feel it reflected in you. 

Envision your sacred turtle moving and showing his tiles to the world. Feel his colors, patterns, and blank spaces, as your own, received, celebrated, understood. 

Make a commitment to share more unfinished parts of yourself and your creations. You never know who might be waiting for this gift.


Comments

  1. Describes my writing process to a T and every day it takes courage to dare that unknown, to trust what will come. Thanks for wisdom and inspiration. Your students are very lucky!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is so good to know. I am SOOO glad you have let yourself sit down and find the courage. What a loss it would have been if you hadn't. Thanks for letting me know!

    ReplyDelete

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