“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ― Anais Nin
In the town where I live we are privileged to welcome one of nature’s most elusive creatures – the flatback turtles. Port Hedland is one of the few places in the world where these magnificent creatures come to lay their eggs.
The entire operation – from laying of the eggs to the hatchlings emerging occurs over a period of a few months, and is quite a sight to watch.
At the start of the season, the females scurry up the beach at sunset on the high tide and dig deep trenches in the sand with their flippers well away from the waterline, before depositing their eggs and burying them deep within. Each clutch could have about fifty eggs on average. Their job done, they then return to sea never to come back, leaving the unborn hatchlings to their fate and to nature’s mercy.
The hatchlings, when they emerge, are left to their own devices; most perish and only a few survive. Everything from driftwood to rocks is a potential roadblock along their path out to sea. To add to their dilemma, voracious predators like seagulls, crabs, and fish feed on these helpless baby turtles at will; with no defenses, the hatchlings are easy picking.
The mortality rate for these creatures is 1 in 1,000! Not a good chance for survival, is it?
Watching the hatchlings emerge from their eggs at first light (they are energized due to the warmth of the sun), and then make a mad dash to the safety of the sea is quite an emotional experience.
But here’s the amazing part about it all – the volunteer group who monitor the shores warn locals not to impede the hatchling’s progress in any form – which includes resisting the urge to pick them up and taking them to the safety of the sea.
There is a reason for the hatchlings to undergo this rigorous hike on their own – apart from the fact that humans could unintentionally mishandle and hurt them, the mad dash opens up their lungs, and also makes their flippers strong for their journey ahead.
When we look around in nature, struggling for survival, and exerting one’s self to grow appears to be a prevalent theme: the caterpillar emerging from its cocoon, the tender shoot of the mighty oak struggling to emerge from the forest floor, the delicate fawn who stumbles repeatedly when attempting to stand for the very first time.
Growing takes time and it takes effort. And, it is also painful at times. This is the way of the world.
Similarly, our personal struggles and the arduous journey which one must often take towards the attainment of any worthy goal has a specific reason: it strengthens us, makes us more resilient and resourceful, tempers our spirit, and makes us grateful for the rewards that eventually come our way.
Don’t curse your life or call it names. Own your struggles; don’t doubt the reasons for them, don’t shy away from them, and don’t wish them away.
“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.” ― Heath L. Buckmaster, Box of Hair: A Fairy Tale
Will you look at your challenges in a different light, and embrace your temporary pain for long term gain?
If the going gets tough, will you strengthen your resolve and dare to persevere?