I´ve had to let this settle. On an ordinary morning last week, just after the kids had left the house to go to school, I walked towards the balcony door, opened the latch and screaked. A reasonably big bird lay on the patio. The poor thing was dead and traces of blood marked the wooden floor. I felt paralyzed for a minute, then double-checked whether the creature was still breathing.
Not a sign of life.
Its eyes were closed and at a second glance, the bird looked peaceful lying there on the ground. I then picked up a shovel from a bucket that was sitting in the corner of the patio and moved it around to see where it had hurt itself. I couldn´t find anything obvious and was hoping that the bird didn´t have to suffer too long.
And I remembered a similar scene from years ago after I had just split from my husband. One afternoon a bird flew against the huge window front and was dead immediately. I had jumped off my chair because it was a really loud crash.
It happened during a time of turmoil and chaos. At the time, I didn´t give it too much thought. And here´s the thing. Whenever a similar situation happens in your life you have two choices:
1. Ignore the scenario and move on. Come on, you may think, this means nothing. Stop interpreting what you can´t know anyways. You´re shutting up the ego voice that´s talking in an attempt to shove things under the carpet. Chances are it´s going to catch up with you at a later date.
2. Question why this happened and get curious about it. Chances are, you are going to find answers helping you to initiate change in an area where you´ve been feeling stuck. It´s the seemingly more annoying, maybe a more heart-wrenching path to walk on but surely one that´ll move you forward. When you let go, you make room for the new to come.
Change can feel scary.
So the window of our balcony is small in comparison to the window front of the big, 4-storey house I used to live in. The three windows aren´t that accessible and I couldn´t understand why a bird would get lost there. But it did.
A curious and questioning person by nature, I began to wonder what the meaning of this incident could be, see point 2.
Times are pretty intense right now. Raising two daughters, one of them being a full-on teenager, is not an easy undertaking. New decisions are required to be made almost daily. Problems to solve, arguments and discussions to be held.
So what was I holding on to? Beliefs, patterns, structures. Feeling a strong resistance about my current running. Where I am heading? Putting myself under pressure to have an answer right now. Thoughts rattling through my mind.
I am sure of shit that nothing ever happens by chance. My mentor used to say, what a God-incidence we found each other! When we get those signs we can ignore it all or we can do a little introspection, referring again to point 2 above. Stop and hold your breath for a second. Stand still and then continue breathing. Allow space for what it is right now that worries you.
What have you been pushing away lately?
What are recurring thoughts that go through your mind repeatedly?
In our high-paced society, this can be a tricky task where it really shouldn´t be another thing on your to-do list. These questions are about you and finding out more about yourself. Where it´s so easy to get distracted and lost in virtual spaces trying to comfort ourselves in some way, take some time out. Schedule it in your calendar if it helps. Arrange a date with yourself to sit and be.
I get it. Often, escaping into somebody else´s problems is a way to feel better about our own matters as it brings a quick-fix. Phew, I´m glad I´m not the only one suffering through this problem. Being in this together simply can feel good.
But the questions to ask, the ones that require more thought, honesty and gut instinct to answer are a challenge. For me and possibly for you, too.
Later that day, I googled ( I google a lot) "dead bird on the porch". By definition, birds are a sign of freedom. They fly lightly through the air. Looking at it from a spiritual standpoint, finding a dead bird doesn´t necessarily mean something bad is about to happen.
It´s about letting go.
That morning, I was faced with my own truth about not wanting to let go of my baby girl in the sense of acknowledging her maturity and that as time goes by, I´ll be taking more of a backseat as a mum. I try to control as much as I can in the attempt to trying to protect her from bad boys, possible drugs, sex and bad experiences. Overlooking the fact that any experience we make serves us. And it´s impossible to control everything.
I came up with a solution. Trying to trust myself and my intentions more. Knowing I have done a good job as a mum so far. Otherwise I couldn´t feel the desire to wanting to hold on to her.
Just let go.
I also concluded that running stands for something different now. I released the resistance towards thinking I need to race instead of asking: What do I truly want? Running pain-free, with ease and a great sense of gratitude for my health.
The dead bird meant to bury my sense of self-worth attached to placements and specific times. I now enjoy most runs without a phone to take a picture. I am becoming more conscious of my breathing, the rhythm of my feet and soaking up all I can from nature surrounding me. Complete moments to live for.
I will not be striving for a time or placement for a while. Instead, I dig the feeling of pure enjoyment my body gives me. Recognizing that on a bigger scope, running is about sustaining health and fitness.
The dead bird. Definitely related to needing to free myself from my own constraints of how I think my running training should be. What races, if any , I should be doing. Freeing myself from meeting outer expectations and the need to always be striving for something.
And allowing my kid to grow and trusting her good intentions. Setting her free. Giving her wings to fly. It´s what my mum truly mastered. She gave me wings to fly. I think I´ll pass that on to my daughters.
The dead bird. It stopped me in my tracks but things always happen at the right time.
How could it ever not be the right time?!
I´m curious. Have you had similar experiences with symbolic animals or other signs guiding you along? If so, please share in the comments and let me know how it changed your life.