Tending the Temple

Letting Nature Take Its Course

Ever get the feeling that the universe is trying to tell you something?

Yesterday I was at a weekly discussion group and the topic was recognizing our own insanity.

Later last night, I broached an uncomfortably conversation with a friend and he kindly said something along the lines of, “I think we’ve talked about this before.”

Then a writer friend shared this humorous (true) story on her Facebook page:

“Have you ever participated in an exercise in insanity? You know the one I’m talking about…The one where you keep doing the same thing over and over again, in the exact same way and hope for a different outcome? A bird, who was trapped in our screened in porch, and I just participated in one together. I walked around the porch with a lacrosse stick, trying to catch it. It flew from screen to screen to screen, trying to escape me. I would catch it and it would escape out of the sides of the lacrosse stick. I would catch it again and it would escape. Finally, someone had to break the insanity cycle so I put tape over the holes in the lacrosse net and captured the little critter. It repaid me for my kindness by biting my thumb as I set it free, but at least I broke the insanity cycle and not the bird.”

There was something about that story that spoke to me on a spiritual level. It got me questioning:

1. In what ways do my attempts at kindness end up hurting me?

2. Have I ever thought, “If only he/she would (fill in the blank), everything would work out fine?”

3. Am I quick to see the “birds” in my life as repeating insane patterns, while failing to see how I repeat insane patterns myself?

I responded to her story with a bird story of my own. I used to have a wreath on my front door, and finches built a nest there. On more than one occasion, a startled bird would fly into my house when I opened the door. It was always a night. And my solution always worked.

First, I’d turn off all the lights in my house. Then I’d open the door going out to the garage. I’d turn the light on in the garage, and the birds, attracted to the light, would fly out on their own. Once in the garage, I’d open the garage door, turn off the lights, and leave the garage open so the bird would make its way out.

The reason the solution works is this fundamental truth – I’m powerless over birds (real and figurative) and trying to control them will not have positive results. Not the first time, not the second time, not the tenth time of doing the same thing, and not even when I try a new tactic with the same controlling motivation behind it.

Sometimes the birds in my life are people. Sometimes they are situations, and sometimes the birds are my feelings. I can’t control them. What I can do is accept them, learn about how they tick, and work with them. When I let go, nature offers it’s own solutions.

Sometimes, you just have to turn out the lights, open the doors, and let the birds do what they will do.

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