Tortoise Wisdom

A friend asked me what animal I identified with, and I replied with “Tortoise”. She wanted inspiration for her creative contribution to FundrAislinn (see previous post), however it really got me thinking. By nature, I am slow and methodical in writing, researching and doing chores. Exercise-wise, I keep a slow and steady pace. Being quite introverted, I live in my shell. I also have a long skinny neck. It seems I don’t just identify with the tortoise, I AM a tortoise. And by pretending to be a hare, I have got myself into a right mess, medically speaking.

I have raced to and from social engagements ever since I got my driver’s license. I moved out of home, age 21, as fast as I could. I worked in the advertising for 10 years, renowned for its fast pace and ridiculously-short deadlines. I rushed into getting a nose-stud, giving it only minutes of thought, not that I regretted it. I rushed the moved to Melbourne, with a still-swollen rolled ankle.When I was working, I continued to socialise like crazy on the east coast. I rushed into living with my boyfriend, not that I regret it, but we lived together within a month of going out. This was only temporary however. I rushed from rental to rental, moving every year from 2002 to 2006. Always at the mercy of our landlords desires to sell, move back in, etc. I rushed from contract to contract when full-time offers were not forthcoming, flying to sydney several times, as well as all over Melbourne. I rushed into orthodox medicine when first diagnosed – the quick fix option. Naturally it didn’t work. I rushed around Melbourne seeing doctors about alternative, when diagnosed the second time. Luckily I didn’t rush my research of Stage 4 treatments over the last two months.

The good thing about being a tortoise, once you realise you’re a tortoise, is that you’re never too old to learn new tricks. The turtle, once reaching 150 years of age, is not so flexible. So, lessons I’ve recently learned:

– Slow down: I pushed myself to get to decision phase faster than I was physically up to. Now I’m paying for it with back spasms and stomach cramps and indigestion. Liquids only for me.

– Pee in a jar: Permanently tense stomach muscles meant I could no longer get to the toilet fast enough, having weak legs from little food. Now I have a jar by my bed. Something I’ve become quite good at, although the irony of 29-year-old incontinence when living with continent 80+ grandparents is not lost on me.

-Delegate: I can’t do everything myself, but thanks to my parents, grandparents, brother and US es-pat friend, I’ve made a lot of progress on my Bill Henderson homework. Bought the supplements, ordered The Emotion Code, bought a stick blender, got an appointment with a holistic dentist, even spoke to Bill Henderson. Thanks guys for your help on this.

-Go back in the shell more: My meditation practice had really lapsed and after watching an Ian Gawler special on Compass, Sunday 31 August 10.10pm, downloaded from the, he reminded me to nurture the mind and spirit also, instead of just focusing on the body.

-Prioritise: My list of things to do is long. When I get close to clearing my In Tray, more forms arrive from Centrelink, my Super Fund, more homework gets given, etc. It’s overwhelming at times but if I can do one or maybe two things each day, then that is enough.

Tortoises are clever creatures. They know that slow and steady wins the race. If I can just stop being so fearful, and fear clouds the mind, I won’t rush into things because I’m scared. Enter meditation and prayer. Mind, body, spirit, take care of them all. Just do it the tortoise way, that’s my motto.

3 thoughts on “Tortoise Wisdom

  1. Richard Morgan

    Hey Aislinn,

    It’s Richard here, one of your old BMF compadres.

    I have just been reading about your experiences over the last couple of years- Wow. It’s certainly been a long journey from the highlights of The Hoff.

    I am and will be thinking of you.

    If anyone can, or indeed deserves to beat this thing, it’s you.

    One book I really enjoyed reading about cancer, overcoming the odds, and being inspirational in general was the Lance Armstrong book- ‘It’s not about the bike’. You may have already read it, but hey if not, check it out.

    Hopefully the fresh skies and general mellow vibe of Perth will help aid your recovery. The coffee there is pretty crap, so it will be no problem sticking to nice fresh juices.

    Myself and others at BMF are definitely keen to get involved in the art auction or make a donation to help you out in general.

    Take care and hang in there.

    You’re the coolest, prettiest and cleverest tortoise that I know.


    Richard xx

  2. Eliza

    Hi Aislinn

    I read your story in The Big Issue and think you’re amazing. I’m just a few months younger than you and I am incredibly moved by your story.

    Best of luck with everything. I just want to send you good vibes and positive thoughts through the interwebs.

    Feel free to write to me any time.

    Eliza xo

  3. Katie

    Hi Aislinn, we have you in our hearts all the time. Your writing is amazing and I wish I had your passion to be real. Love you princess xxxxxxxxx

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