TIME TO TURN TURTLE, Part 2 || By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA
Turn turtle: Flip your way of thinking, as I wrote in my last blog.
New Year’s resolutions can be quickly made and then quickly forgotten. I’m proposing one that only requires a conscious change in one’s thinking: live the “as if.”
Again, we do not know what the inside of an atom looks like, but scientists have theories that created our cell phones and computers, and so we live with the atom acting as if. Scientists took the plunge and acted as if their theories were correct. In addition, the creatives and the mystics around us have pulled back the curtain of our often-cloudy vision and shown us an as if of a spiritual world, an ultimate reality, a divinity, whatever you call it (2, 3).
When you live as if, you can tentatively and gently commit yourself to something, knowing you may be wrong, which is okay. It’s an experiment: NOT an absolute of good/bad or right/wrong. Living as-if not only frees you from fear, but also opens up a space inside you for unthought of possibilities.
Turn Turtle Thoughts & Actions: Choose a healthier path
See the world from a different perspective; that’s what happens when we turn turtle.
- Live as if nature is holy. Walk gently on the earth.
- Live as if nature is imbued with spirit.
- Live as if you co-create with divinity, with the cosmos, that you can create more good in the universe, more consciousness.
- Live as if your choices matter.
- Live as if you are one with the natural world. Instead of seeing yourself as separate from your natural environment. Use your imagination to insert yourself into it. Commune with the trees, swim in the air you breathe. Visualize that when you walk on the ground, you walk on yourself.
- Live as if the market economy isn’t the only way. Our current economic system is based on private profit and public loss. CEOs and shareholders create private profit for themselves: think Jeff Bezos or any of the resource extraction industries. Public loss is when these industries don’t clean up their mess (basic kindergarten rule). The rest of us experience that public loss in our pollution-poisoned air; freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes; and the earth. And we pay for it through medical bills: asthma, allergies, and gut problems. Ask the Navajos about their loss through irresponsible uranium mining companies and their complicity with the US government (4). And taxpayers foot the cleanup bill. Capitalism isn’t wrong; it just needs an update.
Our economic system is based on lies:
- Lie number one: That we can dump our pollutants into the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the ground that grows our food and, that somehow, these poisons will magically disappear. Note also that some religions teach that we can abuse this natural creation and that “God will take care of it.”
- Lie number two: That there will always be enough to satiate humanity’s greed—not our needs, but our wants.
Status quo: Don’t step outside the line!
In Roald Dahl’s Matilda, the evil headmistress sings, “…you have to stay inside the circle all the time!” and viciously punishes the children who don’t.
That’s what the status quo tells us, whether it be our politicians, economists, or religious leaders: Stay inside the line.
Humanity needs a flip.
Turn turtle. At a minimum, see the world as alive, as interconnected. We don’t need absolutes at this point—we need to see potentialities and possibilities.
Sit mindfully with this as you ponder the new year and how you want to live. Use your creative imagination to think outside the status quo fed to us repeatedly by our politicians and CEOs. After all, they are the ones who financially benefit from the rest of us when we live as mindless consumers.
Notes & Sources:
- Kripal, Jeffrey J. The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge. Penguin Books. 2019.
- Barbour, Ian. Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997:110
- Edwards, Mary Coday. To Travel Well, Travel Light: An Adventure Memoir of Living Abroad and Letting Go of Life’s Trappings: Material Possessions, Cultural Blinders, and a Patriarchal Christian Worldview. SBNR Press, 2022.
- Many sources exist detailing this abuse and poison. This is just one article. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/04/10/473547227/for-the-navajo-nation-uranium-minings-deadly-legacy-lingers
- Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, says mindfulness is “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”
About the Author: Rev. Mary Coday Edwards is a Spiritual Growth Facilitator and People House Minister. A life-long student of spirituality, Mary spent almost 20 years living, working, and sojourning abroad in Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America before finding her spiritual connection at People House and completing its Ministerial Program. Past studies include postgraduate studies from the University of South Africa in Theological Ethics/Ecological Justice, where she focused on the spiritual and physical interconnectedness of all things. With her MA in Environmental Studies from Boston University, abroad she worked and wrote on environmental sustainability issues at both global and local levels. In addition to working in refugee repatriation, she was an editor for international, English print, daily newspapers in Indonesia and Mexico.