A Tortoise's Journey

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a tortoise’s journey

with ruthie lindsey

photo by @robbysphotos - www.robbyklein.com

In just a couple of short months, some of the world’s foremost creators, thought-leaders, and change-inspirers will descend upon Telluride, Colorado for Original Thinkers. A revolutionary new festival bringing together films, performances, and speakers, Original Thinkers is a four-day experience that will undoubtedly leave a lifelong mark on your consciousness. 

As the official ticketing partner of Original Thinkers, it’s our pleasure to let you in on some exclusive insight into some of the shows we’re most excited about. To begin, we’re catching up with author and renowned speaker Ruthie Lindsey who, along with Rich Roll, will be presenting the first show of the festival: A Tortoise’s Journey.

A Tortoise’s Journey is dedicated to slowing down, taking stock, and rerouting your life as need be to fulfill your highest purpose. Ruthie, who suffered a devastating accident and has now dedicated her life to her healing, knows a thing or two about moving life to the slow lane. Read on for her insight into the show, her own practices for slowing down, and how she thinks we can all add a bit of slowness to our daily routine. And get your passes to Original Thinkers (Oct 3-6) here

Tell me about A Tortoise’s Journey from your perspective!
I believe A Tortoise’s Journey is something I am continuing to learn about every day – my healing journey being my greatest teacher. I so often long to be on the other side of healing, on the other side of pain, on the other side of struggle, but the more I allow myself to sit in it – to let myself truly feel it all and stop resisting it instead of trying to run from it – the more shifting I feel. The in between process IS the journey. Healing is not linear, we don’t arrive to a place, it’s an ongoing steady, slow beautiful process of learning acceptance and presence, not wishing for the future but loving and accepting what is.

So much of your work is about shifting our perspectives in times of turmoil. Can you speak to how A Tortoise’s Journey reflects that message?
The more work I do on myself, the more I realize that I cannot trust the self-limiting stories in my head. EVER. My brain can be so mean and so cruel and speak such deceit to me, so a huge part of my practice is first being aware of those stories, knowing that my essence, my higher, true self is the one noticing the stories, then I speak really loving tenderness to the stories. I don’t try to push down my insecurities, shame, fear, despair, comparisons, etc. because, as we know, what we resist persists. Instead I welcome them in the bus of life I am driving in. I will tell fear, thank you fear for trying to protect me, I am so appreciative, but love is going to drive and love tells me that I am so safe, I am so good, and I am so worthy. I love asking love to speak to my shadows. My higher loving self is so wise and so tender and kind. This is a daily practice. 

It’s easy to get discouraged because our ego wants to think that we are “bigger than that” or “over this or that” but really it’s a beautiful opportunity to do more healing on those old deep wounds and old conditioned belief systems. I like to think of it as more of an unlearning than a learning. Unlearning so many stories that the world, family, culture, church, community etc., may have taught us. This is an ongoing beautiful process. There are no quick fixes.

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What does living slowly, at the pace of the tortoise, really look like for you on a day to day basis?
It really looks like presence and mindfulness, stopping to appreciate and feel gratitude for everything in my life. Even the struggles. Radical acceptance and radical compassion and tenderness have been two of my greatest lessons, especially this summer as it’s been a really heavy emotional time. Loving and accepting what is, not what I wish it could or would be, but trusting that right now is absolutely perfect. 

That means long walks in nature with no music on, just observing and feeling so loved on my mother earth. Turning off the noise to take time to be really still and give thanks, to be aware of my body and what she is trying to say to me. She is always speaking to me, but so often I am too busy or staying too distracted to listen. When I have pain, thanking her for holding me and calling me home to myself, asking her what she needs from me. When I am sitting with friends or sitting across from the person checking me out at the grocery store, giving them my undivided attention. Listening, honoring their existence. Remembering that whomever is in front of me is the most important person I could possibly be with. I say to myself often what I learned from a Ram Dass film: I am loving awareness. I say that mantra to myself over and over.

You’re a social media star but I know you also have a keen awareness about the perils of social media especially in terms of just how fast it is! How do you balance slow living with having a social media presence?
I actually delete [Instagram] off my phone often, it’s just too easy to distract myself with it, or to compare my life to others while scrolling. It so often doesn’t feel good to my sweet brain, so I give myself boundaries. I love getting off of it, gently reminding myself over and over that all of my worth and value has nothing to do with anything outside of me and Instagram can easily distract from that truth. So boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. My mind always thanks me for them. It’s a practice just like everything else.

What would you say to someone who feels trapped in their fast-paced lifestyle or, even,  invigorated by it? What do you think they may be missing out on and how can they add just a bit more slowness into their lives?
I would say I understand, because we all fall into that at times, to not beat yourself up for it but to remind yourself of the value of slowing down. We all have to shower and eat, so that is a great time to slow down and just notice the water falling over your head, notice the smell of the soap, maybe do a body scan and notice where you may be tight or holding tension. Just that awareness is a beautiful place to start. Begin noticing. I have struggled with emotional eating most of my life, but when I slow down, give thanks for the food on my plate, thanking all the hands that grew the seed, the sun, water and soil that nourished and grew it, thanking the hands that picked it and for all it went through to bless me with getting to eat it, I slow down. I notice what it tastes like and smells like and then I am not unconsciously stuffing my face to fill an emotional void. There are so many little things we can do to slow down and become mindful. 

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No spoilers, but what do you want the biggest takeaway to be for guests of A Tortoise’s Journey?
My hope is that they leave encouraged to slow down and become more mindful and present. We are all so deserving of this self love, the more we do this conscious, loving, caring work on ourselves, the more we are able to go into the world and love from a place of abundance and peace. There is so much noise in our heads and so much noise in the world. Slowing down, letting go, surrendering to the present moment and releasing control is the only way I know to calm my sweet mind, body and spirit and then I can go and be a grounding presence for whatever and whomever I encounter.

And what do you want your biggest takeaway to be after participating in Original Thinkers?
I want to always stay curious, constantly learning and growing. If I ever think I have it all figured out, well, lock me up, I’m actually really screwed, ha. I am so thrilled to learn from all of the speakers, participants and from the beautiful environment of Telluride to then go home and to integrate all that I am learning. Integration is key so that I can then go out and be of service to the highest good.

Naz Pournaghshband