It’s Not Just for the Birds

via Flickr Creative Commons, Wade BrooksAfter a delightfully-long fall, it finally feels like winter this week, in my corner of the world. Those few determined leaves, still clinging to the trees, are releasing their remnants of color and their fierce grip. By the time you read this, I hope to be enjoying a fresh blanket of snow.

The change in weather and it’s impact on the plants have brought a new bounty of bird-fun to my backyard.

As access to food in the forest decreases, my feathered companions are all the more eager to accept the seeds they find in my feeders and sprinkled along the deck railing. When I get out before sunrise to refresh the supply, they watch and wait patiently from a few feet away. This week in particular, the birds have been on an endless rotation from feeder, to railing, to birdbath, to feeder, to the ground beneath it all. The squirrels, of course, get in on the fun. But that’s okay with me. I’m glad to feed them all. 

This is more than a simple act of setting out seeds for birds. Just like my time in the forest is more than a walk in the woods. And watching a sunset is more than an observation of light and color.

They’re teachers – these little feathered and furry neighbors. The forest and the sky, the mountains and trees and snow – they are my guides. The natural world invites me in, holds me, let’s me feel a connection so profound it’s near impossible to put into words. 

To be – simply be – in the midst of all those birds, the leaves, the rocks, the light, we come to realize that we’re part of it all. An essential ingredient in an endless dance. Here we find completion, oneness, belonging. No longer separate. Not because we create a connection, but because separation is an illusion.

If we show up and open ourselves to that feeling of oneness and belonging, it will vibrate in the core of our beings. It will soak up our grief and melt away our pain. It will reward our kindness and celebrate our successes.

It will teach us how to live in a way that respects every other living creature. 

This has happened to me so many times I can’t begin to count and it’s what keeps calling me back. I’ve felt it – experienced it. It works on me without words – but it works.

If you are celebrating your joy, your love, your delight. Sit with the birds or the squirrels – and watch your celebration expand.

If you are in grief, in pain, soaked in sorrow.  Take it to the forest or the ocean or the park and allow yourself to be embraced.

Let the earth, the sky, the water and the air teach you, hold you, heal you.  

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