I am being stalked by Turtle. I am not running, only moving at my own speed. But when I look over my shoulder, Turtle follows. Always the same distance, always the same speed. No lazy pace or slow cadence just a step and a step and a step.
Several months ago I read about Koichi Tohei, founder of the Ki society and an aikido master. There were many interesting and enlightening stories about the man and his life for the book was part biography and part guide. An exercise he advocated is called Ki breathing. This is when you take a slow deep breath and slow complete exhalation. A full respiration last close to sixty seconds. The point is to maximize the lung’s opportunity for gas exchange and thus rid the body of the highest amount of toxin possible and refresh a large amount of blood at once. It is calming. It resets your mind and lungs. I have used it while training and meditating to focus. The most difficult thing is to be patient. As I end the exhale, my body wants to inhale quickly, I feel like I am starving for air. I can relax and breath in slowly and know that i will get all I need and more but slowly. I can focus now on feeling the gas exchange, feeling the waste exchanged for fresh. I feel my lungs and my body performing the functions they were made for, slow deliberate and good.
Last month a freak fall in the dojo cost me a torn ACL. Next month I’ll have surgery to repair it. In the meantime I’ve learned to have a mobility limiting injury, something I’ve never had. I can walk without a limp but I cannot kick or run or stretch all the way. While I can make my walk look normal, I feel every step as different. After the surgery I will quickly get full mobility and use back but it will be a few months time before my knee is the same. My challenge with all this this come in the dojo and at the ER. I am used to bouncing and kicking and locking my joints out with tension with every kick or punch. My right knee won’t do that right now. I am used to being able to run circles around the ER. I am one of the fast nurses. While you won’t notice a limp, I can’t move that fast right now.
Lauren is 27 weeks pregnant. Everyday my eyes measure the growth of her belly and I feel our child growing closer to being born. My heart melts. I get the chills. Time with her now, we focus on the slow quiet growth of another human within her. We go on walks. Our speed is comfortable but neither slow nor fast. Each meal we eat, I think of the nourishment of her body and mine to the healthy growth of our child. That makes me think and focus as to the nutrition in each bit of food. Again I see the function of our bodies feeling so good for doing what we were made for……metabolizing, digesting, walking, growing. It feels so good to carry out your designed function.
At the end of last summer I put a few apple seeds in a coffee cup full of dirt. I eat apples core through you see so there are always seeds to spit out. The dirt was no organic garden soil, no enriched or fortified stuff but ordinary Earth pulled up from a bald spot in the backyard. To my amazement a few weeks went by and a seed sprouted. Now I have a small six inch tall apple tree growing by the window. Everyday without effort I look at it. Sometimes it gets water sometimes it gets words always it gets love. Watching it grow has been lesson in patience for me. For I am a quick decider, I think best on my feet, so and careful deliberation is not high in my skill set. To let something grow at the pace it was made for, to let someone speak and not hurry their thoughts, to watch our child slowly form a place for him/herself that we’ve made especially for them. This is to stay still for hours to watch a bud open.
This is to stop and watch the sun dance across the Earth. This is to slowly breath in and out and not cause a breeze. This is reality from now to now to now. In its own time and in its own way.
So Turtle follows letting me see behind the veil of time. Teaching me my own nature as a protector and nurturer. And helping me to transition into a new place of my own growth.