The Turtle: Quiet Inspiration

The Emerald Coast Holistic Health Expo is always a vibrant event. Between the crowds and the exhibitors, the convention center at Fort Walton Beach practically hums with energy. So it might seem a little strange that we chose the turtle, a notoriously quiet and plodding animal, as an unofficial mascot. (You can see it as the “o” in the expo logo.)

But when you think about what Natural Awakenings and the expo promote—mindfulness, peace, simplicity and, of course, appreciation for and connection with nature—no mascot seems more appropriate than this unassuming creature.

One of the earth’s oldest animals, the turtle is considered a powerful totem. Indigenous cultures, and the people who have adopted those cultures’ spiritual practices, admire it not just because of its association with ancient wisdom, but also because of its deliberate character.

“As we practice mindfulness, we can look to the turtle as a model of how to behave. Consider how it moves through the world. It stays calm and undistracted, even in the midst of manmade chaos. It moves slowly, staying on the course it knows is right, maintaining its physical connection to the earth or water; it is persistent, propelling itself forward despite sometimes overwhelming obstacles. “

The turtle is in no hurry. It moves at its own pace—a pace dictated by nature. Wouldn’t the world be a more peaceful place if we all had the wisdom to trust our inner guide, to follow the instructions that nature has so clearly laid out for us?

Here on the Gulf Coast, many of us have been lucky enough to witness a sea turtle’s tedious journey from nest to ocean. Have you ever noticed how quiet people become when they happen upon this miracle of survival? People stop everything they’re doing to watch, and as a crowd gathers, there’s no need for the spectators to hush each other. Somehow, this ancient creature commands our reverence and respect—not because it’s fast or beautiful or agile, but because it’s fulfilling the prophecy of Mother Nature, and accepting its path with resolute innocence.

Finally, let’s not forget the symbolic message of the creature that carries its home on its back. The turtle reminds us that for as long as we live, we are attached to our “homes” in both the smaller sense (our bodies) and the larger one (the Earth). It’s our sacred responsibility to appreciate and care for both.

That’s the message we try to share every month in the pages of Natural Awakenings, and every year at the Emerald Coast Holistic Health Expo.