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October 27, 2023

How to Be Present Even When There are Sea Turtles in The House

This morning was hijacked by a waking nest of sea turtles, sleepily finding their way up through packed, damp sand, blinking lidded eyes into the morning sun, the sway of the nearby ocean calling their ancient newborn souls to the waves.

How lovely was their morning, as the sea turtles set out to fulfill their roles in our oceans.

Fulfilling my role this morning was not as purposeful as theirs, as I sit at my desk and write, but it does feel good to work in my office again.

The last few weeks have been shifty . . . my office doubling as a guest room, which is actually Tino’s room, due to the driftwood tree perched decoratively that allows her to climb to the top of my wardrobe.

Here, my little kamikaze kitty snuggles into her favorite suitcase (mine) and curls up to sleep all day long, totally free from disruption, completely safe, and mostly out of view, except for a sleepy paw I can sometimes catch a glimpse of as it dangles off the side of the suitcase, reclined in total relaxation.

This is how Tino lives her life these days. Curled up in my suitcase, on top of the closet, in the spare room/office/guest room.  From there, she gets a bird’s eye view of the flowering bushes outside the window, the hummingbirds and butterflies that easily flutter nearby, and the tall Guanacaste trees beyond, reaching towards the endless sky, sometimes blue, sometimes stormy.

Stretched out on the guest bed behind my desk where I sit, also in total relaxation, is Roo, my three-legged pup.  She’s had her walk, her breakfast, and her jaunt through the sand with a doggy friend, and she’s good.  She’ll snooze and only wake to follow me with her eyes around the room, waiting for any clue that she’s about to get a snack or go outside or learn whatever else I might be up to.

Just outside the room, sits a bucket of damp sand and 4 of the baby sea turtles I’d released this morning.  Sometimes the sand that nestles the sea turtle eggs is packed too tightly, either from the pounding of recent rains or the too-firm patting down of human hands.  This makes it tough for the little guys to dig their way up from their nest, about 2 feet underground, to the sandy, sunny, surf-soaked surface.

This morning, instead of my usual coffee morning routine, I took Roo to the beach where she could run and play while I helped release 23 hatched and wriggly sea turtles who were buried too deeply to escape on their own.

The 4 that ended up in my home temporarily were fully hatched, but still sleepy – so I placed them with some sand into a bucket until they felt more awake and energetic, and ready for their life in the sea.

That’s my morning. Fledgling sea turtles, a sleepy kitty, my bouncy pup, and writing.

There were actually about 15 things I had planned in today’s line-up, but as has happened with much of this week, my plans were side-swiped by other offers that I allowed to redirect me.

Not distract me – redirect me.

It’s actually a kind thing that life has done for me today: redirecting me with the hatching of baby sea turtles and my lovely companionable pets.

This past week, the redirection I’ve experienced from life has been messy – literally.

I have been extra klutzy, and broken and spilled things. I’ve jammed and slammed things. It’s no good when my mind is not in the present moment and I elbow glassware off the counter while gazing out the window. These are all signs that scream, pay attention . . . Or actually, be present.

I am paying attention to so many things in one moment.

I’m paying attention to what’s going on down the road. Paying attention to the conversations in my head.  I’m paying attention to every rocket-fired thought in my brain that could be deep and intense, or ridiculous and entertaining, or I’m making lists in my mind of future to-dos.

But none of my thoughts tell me to be careful holding that porcelain plate.  They don’t say, “Watch yourself, that open-mouth jar of spicy salsa is about to spill all over everything electronic.”

The attention I’m paying is not paid to these present things.

My attention is paid everywhere but here . . . thus, calamity has ensued.

Be present.

When we aren’t aware and present, that’s when knick-knacks get knocked out of place.

We can ask ourselves, where is our mind at that moment?

I’ve had so many klutzy moments the past few days that, as I knock into a shelf and its contents rattle and surrender to their sides, or cascade to the uncarpeted floor below, I think . . . where is my mind right now?

(Actually – my first thought is usually a swear word – but I’m trying to follow said swear word by checking my thoughts.)

Where were the thoughts that failed to warn me that I was about to stub my toe, break a glass, or knock over all the things . . . where were THOSE thoughts when I needed them?

And then I think – oh yeah, I was thinking about things to come in February.  I was remembering a puppy I used to play with and did I ever successfully train her like I want to train Roo.  My thoughts remind me to water my plants.

Our thoughts are many, and multiplying, and kamikaze-ing between the membranes of our mind, and  – truth be told – are more important than glassware on the counter, or the upright arrangement of knick-knacks on a shelf. Our thoughts are so much more important than the placement of any of these.

Until these breakable things call us to the present and insist on their importance.

When our minds are way over there and our in-motion bodies are here.

We could extend this to our relationships, and how so many of them break down (or break up) when one or the other just isn’t present enough to take the care that’s needed to keep it in place.

I wonder, how do we give our thoughts free agency to roam in the mental, or emotional world, without risking chaos in the physical world?

I don’t know,  But I do know I hate breaking things in my house or making a bigger mess than I intended.

And, I love my thoughts that roam.

I’m not sure how to allow for the wandering, explorative patterns of thought to have their day, because surely these thoughts have value. In their wanderings, we can reflect on our experiences, allow understanding to root, and realign our inner selves with the outer world we are creating.

I suppose that is what long walks are for, or writing, or time to sit on our porches and do nothing and permit our thoughts to run amok.

So how to end this week’s post? I’m not sure.

But my kitty Tino is now peeping over the lip of the suitcase and watching me with interest as I type (or maybe she’s giving Roo the stink-eye. I’m still working on that friendship).

Roo is probably hungry, or at least I am hungry, so off I go to the kitchen.  The animals will no doubt follow.  I’ll check on the sea turtles, make some food, chat with the 3 and 4-legged/ 4-flippered creatures in my house, and do my best to be present.

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