Fresh Views

“Turning Turtle”: Seeing life from a different point of view

Dubai, UAE following the IDF Congress, December 2017

Last week’s blog post focused on developing a practice of gratitude – being grateful for the little, everyday things (and big things too), especially when challenged with the burden of a chronic condition that may sometimes make finding joy in life a struggle.  

Along those lines, this week we are continuing our discussion on gratitude from a slightly different view……. when things are “turning turtle”, or in other words turned upside down! What are we talking about? You may have seen the recently released movie Mary Poppins Returns. One of the movie’s songs beautifully sung by Meryl Streep is called “Turning Turtle”. If you haven’t heard it, click on the link and check it out!

The song opens with these  lyrics:

Turning turtle? What exactly does that mean?

It means my whole world goes flippity flop like a turtle on its back.

And I don’t know my up from my down, my east from my west,

My topsy from my bottomsy…

By definition, “turning turtle” is to capsize or turn upside down. (For example, during the accident, the car turned turtle). A turtle on its back is helpless and disoriented. It can’t move. It isn’t safe or protected by its shell. It may seem stuck, without options or an evident solution to being trapped on it’s back. Or are there options? The song lyrics go on to say:

…It’s good to get a different point of view

You see, when the world turns upside down,

The best thing is turn right along with it.

When the world turns upside down so to speak, an opportunity is presented to gain a fresh point of view. And when a situation may seem challenging, being able to bring forth opportunities for gratitude may need that twist – that upside down view. This song is a great exercise in seeing the world through a different lense and creating a different point of view. And in turn, rather than focusing on the “problem”, instead focusing on “solutions” that could work (especially if similar solutions that worked in the past can be applied here). In illustration, a friend with diabetes shared this story that might help us think about the “turning turtle” concept applied to life with diabetes:

She was traveling out of the country and had recently changed insulin pumps.  By mistake, she packed her old infusion sets, that worked with her old pump. When she was preparing to change her pump,  site realized what had happened. Fortunately she packed enough insulin pens as back up and had those with her to use for the remainder of the trip. When the trip was over she actually felt like she had been on a vacation from her pump.  She never dreamed of stopping the pump – she felt like she would be flat on her back without it, like the turtle. But, she actually found some joy and gratitude in not being attached to her pump for a week, and at the same time gained a new sense of appreciation when she returned home and was able to connect to the pump again. She was pleased with herself for being prepared.  She commented that she always brings extra supplies but has never needed them before. This “problem” had a solution readily available because of her constant effort to be prepared. And her trip might have been ruined had she focused on the fact that she couldn’t wear her pump, but instead she chose to be thankful she had insulin pens available and experienced a different week of diabetes management that then gave her a little more resilience when she was ready to start the pump again.  

Returning to the song…it goes on to close out:

When you change the view from where you stood

The things you view will change for good

I never thought of things that way

She never thought of things that way

Now Wednesdays are my favorite days

…I have changed. To be exact, I love the fact

The world is turning turtle, turtle, turtle

When you next find yourself in a “turning turtle” situation, we encourage you to reflect on the  following:

  • What new point of view is in front of you to be embraced?
  • How can you leverage past successful solutions in this situation?
  • What can you acknowledge gratitude for?

And like the closing song lyrics, now Wednesdays are our favorite days too since that’s when we share a new blog post each week! Until next Wednesday!

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