Sunday, 26 September 2010

Tortoise days

The last few days have been a learning curve for me and I have very much felt like the tortoise in Aesop’s Hare and the Tortoise fable. It is in my nature to race ahead, to try and juggle as many things as possible, to not really enjoy the now for thinking of what I need/should/could be doing in the future, and to do all this perfectly. However, my intuition has been greatly at work this week; I’ve come across tortoise/turtles in the most unlikely of places, be it in the form of toys, art pieces, blogs or poetry, that gorgeous creature has definitely been trying to tell me something. Usually I would carry on racing regardless but just this once I actually listened for a moment. This listening, being mindfully present in my world, manifested itself in many ways:
Art journaling. As I have voiced before, painting scares me; I don’t feel I have control of it, I don’t feel that I am any good at it, my paintings never quite turn out the way I wish them to. This happened on Friday with my latest page, I came quite close to throwing my whole journal away in temper as the painting was going completely in the shape of the pear and I couldn’t deal with the mess I was creating ( physically and creatively). But then that little tortoise voice inside whispered, for I always imagine tortoises to have quiet, calm voices, that I was only human, that actually it is a brilliant thing to have the time to learn a new skill, that my journal is a learning journey of discovery for me, that what I classify as imperfect can sometimes produce the most lovely surprises. As I brushed layer upon layer of paint to create something resembling what I was feeling, I realised that this patience, this slow but deliberate way of learning and making, is indeed magical. Whilst the finished product is not the most amazing piece I have ever created, I managed to finish it and let it tell its own story. I was the tortoise, treading carefully with determination and staying power.

My career. I love my new role supporting children with English as an additional language, the new challenges have given me the change I needed to feel alive in my job again. The children are gorgeous and I feel so glad that I can use a little of my languages background to support them. But then, as quick as a flash, I become frustrated that I don’t know it all instantly, that I haven’t got a nicely clear overview of what I need to do, that I don’t know immediately where the best resources are to be found, that I don’t know all the ins and outs of language teaching already. You see, I want to leap ahead when really I am only human, I am learning. I am that tortoise on its path, knowing its goals, working hard step by step and I am reaching my destination, just not in one giant leap!
Writing. I haven’t written for quite a while now, apart from this blog, and this has really been bringing me down as I have that secret aspiration of being a writer, of being able to see myself as a writer. I want all the tools and I want them now, yet really I haven’t known where to begin - where to learn those jewels that I need to progress, where to find that structured but constructively friendly support that I know I need to be true to myself in my writing. But then, by cosmic coincidence I happened upon the Alchemy online writing course, constructed by the amazingly talented Jennifer McGuiggan , whose inspirational website The Word Cellar I have been following in awe for some time. I had a tortoise moment; I could come alive in this course and work step by step at reaching that until now elusive writing goal. I won’t be a writer instantly but  I can feel that the guidance of this course has such potential, if I just take part and follow that path.

Thus, there you have it, I think the tortoise could well be my spirit guide, and quite apt too as a certain cuddly tortoise has been my companion since birth, oh the stories she could tell...


  1. Thrilled to hear you're doing Jenna's writing course. You're in good hands there. She and I shared a cabin at Squam last year. She's a seriously talented writer and a lovely girl. Do let me know how you get on, Milena - I'd love to know. :)

  2. Hi Milena, thanks for stopping by my blog for Wishcasting Wednesday. I love this post...I feel the same way most of the time. I know that I am a turtle too, but sometimes I have the heart of a rabbit and want to burst forth, but just don't how yet. Or if I do, I realize, wait a minute, there was something I didn't pick up back there. I'm going to check on Alchemy as well, looks very interesting! Here's to turtle power!