We have a cardinal that loves to circle the neighborhood singing his beautiful song. His is the loudest song of all the birds and the first bird of the morning. We can hear him as he starts in the back yard and circles around to the side, out front, the side, and back again. To us he is staking out his territory saying, “This is all mine.”
His song worked. He attracted a mate. Just outside my office window, she built a nest in a tree, laid eggs, and sat on her nest waiting for the babies to hatch. A short time later one baby hatched and we watched the feeding process.
Mom and Dad took turns going off for food. They constantly called to each other, tweeting in the natural way.
One day, I glanced out the window and saw Junior standing on the ledge of the nest. Both parents came quickly, but stayed away and simply watched. As he stretched his wings and flapped, I worried that he would topple over. His parents were calm and watchful.
Within the next hour he had hopped out onto the limb and his dad was ready to show him how to fly. Dad took a short flight to another limb and Junior followed. As we watched, he expanded the distance between limbs.
Junior flew to one, missed it, and fluttered to the ground.
Del and I spent the next hour watching Mom and Dad showing Junior how to fly back to the limb. They coached, they fed, they watched over, they called, and they commanded. But, he either couldn’t, or wouldn’t, fly to the limb. He hopped under bushes, across the grass, or took short flights across the lawn. When he hopped to danger, they directed him back to safety.
We could empathize with the parents.
They were showing him exactly what to do and he wasn’t doing it. But, they persisted, never abandoning him, and eventually Junior got back to the tree. His parents never tried to do it for him; they simply guided and then stepped aside.
Have you ever stood on top of a mountain where you could see 360 degrees around you?
You could look down and see the path you took to get up the mountain. You could see other travelers making their way up the path. You would be able to say to them, “Take this path it’s easier, or watch out there is danger if you go that way.”
Growing “older” is like climbing a mountain on a path that circles the mountain. We go around the mountain one time for each circle that the earth takes around the sun.
This is a journey that we are all taking. We could call this the passing of years,but if used well, it’s a journey of wisdom and understanding.
We have some choices on this journey.
We could either circle the mountain on the path that just goes round and round, never going any higher.
Or, we could take the spiral circle that takes us higher each time. Each pass around the mountain would give us clearer views, and a more expanded world.
We could bring baggage on the journey, or we could leave it behind making the trip so much easier.
Our baggage might be regrets, or have-to-dos, or want this, or sorrow, or guilt, or the fear of leaving stuff behind. When we carry baggage, we miss the point of the journey. We become obsessed with caring for baggage rather than seeing the view.
When we leave our baggage behind, our journey becomes much easier. Because we are not burdened and stuffed with old ideas we have room for more wisdom and understanding.
Which brings me back to the cardinals.
Mom and Dad had the wisdom to see what needed to be done, and the understanding of what couldn’t be done. Junior was just beginning his journey. He was fearless, joyful, and excited.
Have your retained your joy, excitement, and trust while gaining wisdom and understanding?
If not, are you carrying baggage that is not needed? Go ahead, drop that baggage.
Step onto the spiral path that takes you higher, and the view will be beautiful every step of the way.