“Follow your Heart”…detail of a collage.  I love turtles, of any kind or size.  I have an odd collection of various turtles (not the real kind), some I have found while shopping, others have been given to me by one of my children.  I started my obsession with turtles when my kids were little.  There was even a time when I created a series of stories for a kids newsletter at church in which the main character was a turtle named Trusty D. Turtle.  Someday I will gather those stories together and see if I can adapt them into a children’s book.  I’m not sure what it is about turtles that I identify with so much.  I’m pretty much an introvert so admiring a creature that carries her protection with her everywhere she goes has a definite appeal.  I also admire how turtles take life one little step at a time and though it seems they don’t get very far very fast, they seem to make steady progress to me.

At this moment in time I am relating once again to the symbol of the turtle.  Four days ago I had surgery to replace a ruptured disc in my neck and I am definitely spending a great deal of time in my shell recuperating slowly but surely.  My neck issue has been a chronic problem for over ten years and I have learned to deal with it with anti-inflammatory medicines, bedrest, and avoiding activities that aggravate it.  But I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, so when the neurosurgeon recommended surgery after a recent MRI, I agreed.  When I heard that same recommendation many years ago, I didn’t give it a second thought because there was no way I was going to have surgery!  It took me awhile to get my gumption up and move past my fears, just like a turtle.

I still have a ways to go until I discover a “new normal” for me, one that will hopefully be pain-free and allow me to follow my heart in new directions.  Like the sea turtle making her way back to the ocean after laying her eggs in the sand, she knows which way to go and though her steps are slow and small, she WILL get there one day!  

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