Sunday, April 6, 2008

Looking past the obvious to discover exciting change

I was afraid the little bird was going to break its neck. Aggressively pursuing its reflection in the window, this little cardinal was hell-bent on achieving a mission, at the cost of its body when it repeatedly would fly into the glass. None of us knew whether it was looking to defend against a possible intruder, or trying to mate with its own image.

This sequence of events played out repeatedly at The Body Therapy Institute during a recent Magic of Hot Stone training. The campus is a magical 150 acre sanctuary where learning and healing parallel the cycles of nature. Spring had just announced itself and the air was abuzz with new life. I learned that for about a week or so, this little bird had been relentless in its pursuit and in the process, had been a constant annoyance for the classroom-learning environment. Each sound from the female cardinal’s impact was loud enough to hear over any discussion or music that filled the space. It brought back memories of childhood friends hurling small pebbles at my window, beckoning me to leave the house. Secretly, I would often disappear through my window and join the adventure that was in store for me below.

Somewhere around the middle of day two, I realized the “petit oiseau” had a message for us and specifically, for me.

In no subtle manner, I was once again asked to examine the areas of my life where banging my head up against the wall was not only impeding my progress, but also annoying others in the process. Now, I began to observe the events in a different light and all at once, the solution for our feathered friend became blatantly clear.

Surprisingly, it had not occurred to me or the other people in the room that by opening all of the southern facing windows, there would no longer be any reflection for our small messenger to see. By taking away the illusion, the upsetting sound of head banging was replaced with the bird’s sweet song.

With the passing of each season, it is tempting to draw analogies to some of the more obvious metaphors for change. As surely as springtime gives rise to new life and possibility, there is always the temptation to hold on to the lifeless patterns that we have worn into our systems. Stubbornly we plow ahead, convinced that our way will ultimately get us what we want.

However, a subtle invitation to see beyond our own reflection invites us to the adventure that waits for us through the open window and down below.

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