What do turtles have to do with abundance? LivingNow – Julie Ann Cairns

What do turtles have to do with abundance?

In Insight and Self Awareness by Julie Ann Cairns1 Comment

Are you hiding out in your shell or collectively doing your part to create the abundant world we all want to live in?


The creation of a collective consciousness

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about creating a life of abundance, freedom and choice is that we’re all in it together.

I can only access abundance if I live in an abundant system – a system that affords me opportunities and possibilities that I can participate in to create the life of my dreams. And that means I’m not an island. We’re all part of an interconnected whole, and what we’re jointly creating as a collective has a real impact on every individual’s own personal opportunity set.

I recognise that. And, I see that my own beliefs and approach to life play as big a part in the creation of that collective consciousness as anyone else’s.

If as a collective we believe we’re a species that’s destined only to fight for survival, if we believe that competition is eternal because there’s not enough to go around and we’ll always be fighting over the scraps, if we focus on problems instead of solutions, if we’re suspicious of each other and practise xenophobia; then we end up in a system based on adversity and fear. That’s the scarcity paradigm, and it’s not pretty.

If as a collective we choose to believe we’re a species that is ingenious and creative, that has transcended the fight to survive and actually has the ability to thrive, to focus on possibilities, to listen to each other with the intent to understand and empathise, to reach out to each other with good will and peace in our hearts; then we can create a world that inspires us with wonder and that we love living in.

‘Fight or flight’ or healthy boundaries?

That’s an abundant world. It’s possible. But how do we get there? It’s a collective choice. And it’s also a personal one.

I can’t change the world. No one can. Not on their own. But everyone contributes to the collective consciousness. So logic dictates that what I do matters. How I do it matters. I can’t really expect an abundant collective to be created while I’m personally behaving in ways based in fear, aggression or intolerance, can I?

Does knowing that stop me? Not always.

Sometimes the system I’m living in scares me. Sometimes I feel powerless to change it. When fears are running high, we naturally switch into ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. It’s a survival mechanism.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had a couple of unfortunate exchanges on Facebook. I’m not proud of it, but I understand why it happened. There’s some scary stuff going down in the world and having online arguments can be part of my ‘fight’ response.

More often though, I choose ‘flight’. I retreat into my shell like a turtle. I withdraw from the world, because I feel that what the world is showing me is just too frightening to deal with.

Now, there are forms of withdrawal that can be good; I call those boundaries. For example, I don’t like to hang around with many negative people. I try not to read too much negative news. I try to have enough quiet time, reflection, and meditation in my life so I can calm my nervous system and prevent it from going into ‘fight’ mode so easily.

Lately, though, it hasn’t been about me having healthy boundaries… I’ve just been hiding out in my turtle shell because I’ve felt that I can’t handle what’s going on in the world. It’s too much.

When I’m like that, I’ve come to realise that what I’m doing is blocking new abundance and opportunity from entering my life. There’s only room for me and my fears inside that turtle shell… and nothing else.

That’s what turtles have to do with abundance. Nothing.

(I speak metaphorically of course. Real turtles are amazing, cool and an important part of our ecosystem.)

Moving out of the turtle shell and towards the abundance paradigm

Being in my turtle shell may feel like a safe place, but nothing is moving forward while I’m in there. It’s a place of zero growth and zero new opportunities.

How do I shift out of that? How do we all shift out of it?

Well, if the scarcity paradigm is about fear and suspicion, then the abundance paradigm is about empathy and connection. When I’m in my shell, what I really need is to reach out, even though it’s hard for me to do that.

I explained my turtle shell scenario to one of my most empathic friends and she had a great idea. She said: “Let’s have a code. When you’re in your shell, text me a picture of a turtle so I’ll know. Then, when I get the turtle picture, what would you like me to do in response?”

I said: “Text me a time so I’ll know when is a good time that you can take a call from me, listen to my fears and gently talk me out of my shell.”

That strategy helped me feel I have permission to reach out without imposing. In fact, just getting that permission alone was enough to bring me back out of my shell!

We’re all in this together

So when I say, “We’re all in this together”, it’s more than just a platitude. I need my abundance collective, and my abundance collective needs me. Especially when the whole scarcity paradigm is raging and all its associated fears are running high.

My friend and I decided we’d respond to the madness by being there for each other – not to amplify each other’s fears, but just to listen and gently coax each other back into actively and collectively doing our part to create the kind, abundant world we both want to live in.

[author title=”About the Author”]

Share this post


  1. Hello Julie Ann,
    I agree if we stay in a state of distraction, nothing moves towards resolution.
    But I believe in allowing myself to be in a state of ‘surrender to what is’. If I am watchful, I will pick up on a question my good friend offers me.
    Friends are friends when they don’t give advice, but gently ask a pertinent question, and be willing to leave it with me. We may see our way forward immediately, but mostly our forward step reveals itself when we stop ‘trying’.
    That allows ‘surrender’ to nourish us – it gives us time to be present with the question – to gently mull it over, and see where it takes us, and see what might eventuate.

Leave a Comment