One of my favorite contemplation spots these days is Clark Gardens in Weatherford, Texas. A couple of weeks ago, I got up early and headed over. Luckily, McDonald’s is right on the way. So I went through the drive thru and got my favorite drink, an iced vanilla latte. With that in hand, I began my exploration. Even at the beginning of summer, there was still a lot in bloom. That day, I had my heart set on seeing the sunflowers. I was told by the guy in the gift shop who checked my pass that they were still in bloom. He directed me to a part of the gardens that was new to me and off I went.
On my way to the sunflowers, I was distracted by a beautiful lily pond. When I saw it, Claude Monet (perhaps my favorite artist) sprang to mind. I felt connected to him in that moment. I wanted to take the scene, capture it and carry it home with me. So I got my phone out, took a quick video and literally put the scene in my pocket to take home. Sorry Claude, technology has come a long way. I about to continue walking, but the Oxbow Overlook pavilion was calling me to come a rest awhile.
The pavilion and the pond were telling stories. I picked up where the last visitor left off. The chair was perfectly situated to overlook a large gathering of lily pads, the fountain in the middle of the pond and trees slightly beyond that. I settled into the chair, finishing up the last bit of my coffee, I pulled out my journal and the the pond continued its story. It was beautiful on the surface; purple blossoms, being supported by large lily pads in varying degrees of age. I began to think about my life and how there were people in various stages of age and wisdom, fully supporting me. But this was not the story the pond wanted to tell that day.
My attention shifted to something moving slightly below the surface, under the lily pads. About that time a small turtle head appeared. I was pleasantly surprised. There were several turtles playing - darting (as quickly as a turtle can dart) above and beneath the pads and then a couple would circle out of the batch and swim quickly back in to do it all over again. I noticed that there was a lot of moss under the pads and begin to wonder if the pond needed to be cleaned soon. About that time one of the turtles surfaced with moss on its back and trailing behind. My first thought was - oh my goodness, I’ve got to help get that off its back, how uncomfortable that must be. My next thought was how can I do that? I did have a visual of jumping in the pond and removing that oppressive moss right away. I mean, how could I just let this poor turtle carry this heavy moss on his back like this? Just as I got up from the chair that was supporting me to look for something to help me get this albatross off this poor animal’s back, I saw the moss simply slide off and go a bit deeper into the pond. Later I could some black fish feeding in that same area.
The pond continued its story. . . in this scene, if I had been successful in ‘helping’ remove the moss from the turtle’s back, I would have succeeded in disrupting several lives. I would have startled the turtle who was going about its day playing in the lily pads, the flow of the pads themselves and I would have stolen the opportunity for the fish in that area of the pond to get fed. The pond softly asked the question that I pondered for the rest of my sit there - how many ‘turtles’ are you carrying with you today?
One of the turtles I am carrying around with me today is money. In this scene, I have actually jumped into the pond, flailed about, and have probably caused much disruption. I have this picture in mind’s eye of what my money pond should look like. My pond did not look like that picture at all, still doesn’t. I must accept that I am not in control. This is very hard for me as I like to think I have everything in my life ‘under control’. Does that mean that I should quit my job tomorrow and go with the flow? There is a voice that is screaming yes, but my final answer is no. What this means to me is to accept what comes as being in the flow, just like the lily pads in the pond. The Divine will provide everything I need (and everything everyone else needs). My task is to stay in meditation and contemplation, help the flow when I am led to do so and observe when I am not.
What turtles are you carrying with you today?