Day 16 – Dr. Ruth has a lot of turtles

Did you know Dr. Ruth has a huge collection of ornamental turtles? She says it’s to remind her: if you want to move forward you’ve got to stick your neck out.

I nearly titled this post: …on the 16th day she freaked out. ’cause that’s what I’m feeling today. I fear I may have stuck my neck out so far I’m going to fall on my face. Not that that would be the end of the world – I know I have friends who will circle around me, have a good laugh at the spectacular nature of my crash, and help me pick gravel out of my face. But still, being waaaaay out there is a scary place to be.

I once threw a party in Junior High (in fact, my first boy-girl party since puberty ruined everything). And nobody came. I have since hosted many a gathering without being left standing alone in my livingroom; but I still carry that teenage horror with me, and it’s rearing it’s ugly head as I organize this Sambafied event [insert shameless plug here]. This is my first big public undertaking and I don’t know how that’s gonna go, and this time it’s not just me and the punch bowl, but a whole bunch of people who are counting on me to pull this off.

I’m on a new instrument in Samba (lots of samba angst in my brain today). A Surdo, which is a great big drum, the heartbeat of the band. Samba is a whole bunch of different patterns all fitting together, and particularly for rookies, there’s a bit of room to just listen to that groove train and then jump on board when you can. Surdos are the engine; I need to be diving in right from the get-go. Solid, driving that train. I’m stepping up what I expect of myself as a drummer, and giving more to a band that’s counting on me.

And this amazing community has taken hold on this website – and surprised the hell out of me (though it shouldn’t, based on who I am, what I value, and how I interact with people). Unwittingly, I created a space, and something wonderful grew. I feel a profound sense of stewardship of that, and utter cluelessness as to what I’m supposed to do, where this is going. That combined sense of responsibility and lack of direction is angst inducing. People are counting on me, and I’m not even sure what for.

Oh yeah, and every day I have to get up, sit (or procastinate a lot… then sit), and then post. Tales of fears, struggles, insights, triumphs (10,000 views YAY!). Balance that heartfelt sincerity and willing vulnerability (vulnerability… bleh!) with a private life and world I’m entitled to protect.

I’m sticking my neck out in just about every facet of my life right now, and I’m terrified.

I’ve been reading a book by Cynthia Bourgeault on Centering Prayer (and really happy to find all those practices I’ve learned through Taoist and Buddhist means have a place in Christianity). In it she talks about using a sacred word. Akin to a mantra, it’s not something for you to be contemplating, but an anchor to bring you back to the meditation. So as I tried to sit with my freak out today I knew I needed something to hold on to: peace…love…openness….bleh… not working. Then…TRUST.

Trust. Just allowing that word to be there while I sat made me cry. Trust. Every risk is an exploration in trust, and I don’t know if I’m ready for it, but I’ve set myself up for it all the same.

Over two decades of chronic illness means I’ve very little trust in myself. People are counting on me, and when I’m not really used to even counting on myself, that’s a really scary idea.

But I’m never going to move forward if I don’t stick my neck out.

…and trust.


7 thoughts on “Day 16 – Dr. Ruth has a lot of turtles

  1. Do tortoises count? One of my favourite childhood stories was the Tortoise and the Hare. That small, ugly-looking, frustratingly slow creature just plods along through the story. His beauty was in his patience, persistence, and trust in himself that he’d get to where he needed to go.


    1. I’d agree with Bob. I think that I may have forgotten to include that in the fables I described on another post – regarding the two wolves who do battle within us. For sure the one wolf who embodies greed, etc. also embodies fear. If we feed fear it becomes a monster that is harder to tame.

      I struggle with this particular coin flip almost every day. Fear, Trust what’s it going to be today? The nice thing is that instead of leaving the toss to randomness, I can actually manipulate it so that the flip is positive. I have a choice.


  2. Many years back there was an exchange student who told me he could never figure out if I was being serious or joking.

    The answer, of course, is that I’m joking. Always. Every time. Without fail. Except, of course, for those times when I’m being absolutely serious. You can always tell when I’m being serious because I start off by cracking a joke.

    I’ve spent the last two years getting the trust pummeled out of me. Not universally everyone, just a select few who should have never broken trust. Instilling trust seems riskier when my trust has been diminished – both in others and in myself. There just isn’t as much trust left, so any more lost hurts that much more. The funny thing is you can’t build trust without taking risk.

    So I can turtle or I can put my faith beside me and try to move forward.

    You’re a very dangerous creature. I should go back to lurking.

    I’ll do my very best to get Sambafied and I’ll certainly be there for #10kparty.


  3. Donna, Bob, Zarquil, Valerie,

    I was going to go back where I left off, but your braveries and fears just grabbed me. I stopped posting out of some contagious internet paranoia. Possibly justified. I don’t so much have secrets, as I have other people’s secrets. Shh! Of course, I also ran out of words, will, whelm, and was way too busy doing sudokus to post.

    Trust. Trust in myself. When I don’t have much to say, and I’m not sitting daily (because that hasn’t been realistic for me.) Trust that I can write an eked out sentence that I think isn’t worth reading. Trust that I am part of some 100 days, even without sitting.

    Valerie, I am counting on a daily sentence from you. So if I can trust you, why not myself? And in between all those sudokus, maybe I could read the titles of your posts each day, too. (I do read them all eventually.) Thanks.


    1. I’m forever balancing sincerity and being candid about the juicy stuff (’cause otherwise this would all just be pap) with my own certain need for privacy and a life that doesn’t get to be displayed in 12 point font.

      You go ahead and find whatever balance works for you. You are definitely a part of this 100 days, listener, speaker, shouter from the rooftops.

      It’s all good.


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