Several years ago, when I was teaching pots for tots, we were making turtles, one of my favorite projects. I had been taking the colorfully glazed turtles out of the kiln when a forest green turtle leapt onto my back. She tapped me on my shoulder and said, "Nicole, I would like to tell you a story that my grandmother told me. Do you have time right now to listen?" "Yes," I said, "I have a few minutes before the tots come."
The following story is what she told me, to the best of my recollection:
"Once upon a time in a very ancient valley surrounded by jagged high mountains, there lived an order of turtles. The turtles were known to all far and wide as the guard turtles. The guard turtles offered protection to the villages and monasteries, day and night. From birth, each guard turtle received training in recognizing, playing with, and controlling the life energy that moves within us and animates us all. The ultimate aim of such training was to become a clear channel and transmitter of love vibrations."
"These love vibrations are also known as Life Force, Loving-Kindness - metta, prana, and qi, etc. The guard turtles spent their days sending out metta in circles around the walls of the monastery and village. When a "stranger" approached, even if the stranger's intent was to harm (which the turtles could sense), the guards increased their flow of loving vibrations. Without taking up weapons in defense, the turtles focused on greeting the heart of the stranger with Love. These strong metta vibrations had the effect of causing the stranger with unwholesome intent to flee."
As turtle finished the story, I heard the door of the studio open and with it an influx of bubbly young energies. I thanked turtle and turning to go, asked if that was all she wanted to tell me.
"There is one more thing," she continued. "Please listen closely." I nodded.
"We can effect weather patterns and Earth energies with our practice of sending out Loving-Kindness."
"Remember, the Earth is a living being and the manipulation of Life Energies is vital." "What we do to another, whether s/he is a plant, an animal, space, the ground we walk on, a human, or a fish in the sea, etcetera, we do to ourselves; our every thought, deed, word, and action will cause reverberations." "Let's love everything; it is time."
"Yes," I said, glancing up at the clock, "It is time - and, I need to go! Bye, now, Turtle, and Thank You!"
I could hear laughing and little voices coming from the studio as I carried in a tray of shiny glazed turtles.