A few months back, we found a dead bird on our driveway. Poor fella. We managed to keep the sensitive, little animal lovers in our house from noticing. But a few days later we found another one. It was in a similar place – right next to the garbage and recycling cans, just below my bedroom window. Poor fella. A few days later, I was folding a pile of laundry in my bedroom when a bird flew straight into the window (scaring the shit out of me). He fell to the driveway, a few feathers sticking to the outside of my bedroom window. Poor (stupid) fella.
At least the mystery of the dead birds was solved. Well, sort of. What keeps getting me is – why on earth do these feathered fellas want into my bedroom? Really. Why?! Have they seen the trees in our yard? Don’t birds like trees?
As it turns out, the birds are flying into all the windows of the house. My kids’ room. The yoga room (I don’t blame them on that one. That room is pretty bad ass awesome.) The family room. The garage. The girls and I watched a bird slam is body into our garage window repeatedly the other day, literally killing himself in the process. And soon after, we came home to find a bird in the garage. He was scared out of his mind and flying around like a lunatic. Probably crapping all over our snowboards and camping gear, not that I’ve checked (ignorance is bliss). I wonder how long it took him to realize that the garage has nothing for him – no trees, water or life.
As I write this, there’s one banging away at the kitchen window. And I wish I could do something. I want to yell, “Hey bird! You’re a freaking B-I-R-D. Fly your ass up into that tree over there!” But, the birds don’t give a hoot (unless they’re an owl). They desperately want in. For whatever reason… maybe because the other birds are doing it. Maybe my fiddle leaf fig looks just that good. Or maybe getting inside is the key to their happiness. They’ll be richer. Thinner. More successful. And they’ll be worth something more. And other birds will want them.
And then I realize it. “Ah. I get you birds.”
How many damn windows have I gone crashing into? What places am I currently obsessed with? Slamming my body into panes of glass in desperation. Longing to be in the very places that offer no life to me. Not just places – relationships, careers, social situations, lifestyles, STUFF. Oh the stuff.
(Aside: Not all of it is bad either. In fact, it might be a wonderful thing… for somebody else. And so it’s tricky to know what to fight for, right?)
And we find ourselves fighting. Killing ourselves as we repeatedly crash into the what separates us from our ticket to happiness.
And why? Because the here and now seems less than. Because we forget the wonder and beauty of our current surroundings. Because we’re so distracted by the “should” that we lose sight of the “I am”. We forget who we are and where our home is. The truth is – we belong where there is life, energy and love. The people/places/things we’re so desperately aiming for may not be as hospitable as we think. They might lack all that we crave and need. We might end up in the garage that we swore was the answer, only to find we’re worse off and trapped.
But what about ambition? What about going for our dreams? What about never giving up? We strive to break glass ceilings, so why not windows too?
Well, we must know who we are. That’s first. It must start there. Not because it’s easy, but because it’s only from that foundation that we can identify the people/places that will give us life. And we can fight for those things. We must. Desperately even. As for the others – the places that we don’t belong (because they have nothing to offer us and vice versa) – our best hope is a strong pane of glass. And that the window remains closed and we learn to stop pushing before we kill ourselves in the fight.
And that’s what separates us from the birds. We’re smart enough to not kill ourselves with the fight. We have the self awareness to realize our needs and gifts. And we have the capacity to even be grateful for what separates us from the places that bring nothing but a death of spirit.
And so the real challenge is not to stop flying into windows. No. It’s to know ourselves well enough that we can identify when we need to stop fighting. When to thank God for the barrier, fly off and find the nearest tree. And so that I was I’m working on – to know myself and the sources of life around me.