|A great white egret in full flight, wings stretched out in the big blue sky|
Each of us has an affinity with certain other creatures. My own animal kinships are with the whale, coyote, frog and the bird tribe. When you are with the whale, you are swimming into the vast waters of ancient memory. The coyote is bawdy, foolish, shrewd, shocking and sometimes wise. The frog has secrets, including the magic of bringing water and increasing fertility. And the bird tribe, feathered, winged, they take us up up up into the bright sky, far from the weight of earthly concerns. Birds, the way they spread their wings, the way they lift off and fly, birds remind us of our spiritual essence and they remind us of the kind of freedom that easily opens up when we come to joy.
Birds like to stretch their wings out. They like to lift off and FLY-- and I am no exception. I've had two bird names, Blackbird and Laughingbird, each of which provided some unusual adventures and insights. I've written about those in my book Songs of the Inner Life.
Now my Blackbird and Laughingbird monikers are hidden within me. I walk around in the world as Gaea Yudron, a name filled with its own treasure.
It's time for this bird to stretch her wings, to get up off her usual perches and out of her familiar habitats.
The bird woman has no house and no car
I sold my flower cottage at the beginning of September and the other day I sold my car, too. Some people have exclaimed that I now have FREEDOM! Ha ha ha I want to say, considering everything. I mean it's relative. It's true that I have no house, car, family responsibilities or job.
But being a bird with a philosophical bent, I ask "Does this equal FREEDOM!!? Now don't get me wrong, I place a high value on freedom. When I think of freedom, I think of the sky, of the ocean, of the forest, of the meadow. I think of health, contentment, calm, awareness. I think of lovingkindness, the freedom that comes from deep inner richness, something I have seen in the spiritual masters I have learned from. The freedom that comes from inner development and refinement is the most wonderful kind of freedom.
|Is this the famous bluebird of happiness?|
There are other beautiful freedoms--the freedom of good health, the freedom to travel, to create, to pray, to help others. I have a fair amount of freedom, and I am grateful for every morsel of it.
The bluebird of happiness
In my first week without a car, I've been walking around or taking the bus. Being without a car gives me a new vantage point. First of all, without having to focus on driving, I have much more awareness of the landscape, the big fields filled with goats and cows, the light, the clouds, and the people who are on the bus with me.
The people who are on the bus with me are also people without cars--students and other young people, Latinos of all ages, disabled people, drunks, people who do not seem very healthy, folks who might not have much education. The bus is a lot like Walmart-- Good places to pray in. Because a lot of those bus riders and Walmart shoppers do not have it very easy at all. When I am riding the bus, or walking around town, I am thinking like this: for the bus riders, the Walmart shoppers, and all beings who are troubled, may there be ease. May there be prosperity and love.
I'm heading for Guanajuato on October 29th. It's Ashland's sister city, but that is not why I am starting my journey there. My friend Carolyn's daughter Mica told me that it was just more relaxed and authentic than nearby San Miguel de Allende, which is a genuine expat watering hole. Of course I will visit there, but I want something less gringoesque.
I'll be in Guanajuato for about a month and hope to learn some Spanish at a highly regarded language school. Oh, there will be many other things, and I will tell you about them along the way.
One woman said that what I am doing is not what women my age usually do. All I can say to that is, I was not called the class nonconformist in high school for nothing, people. I think nonconformity has been a lifelong preference.
As Grace Slick of the old Jefferson Airplane said: "In school, I learned about artists and how they were free to express themselves. I was allergic to conformity, and the lifestyle attracted me. I wanted to express myself in a way that slammed people up against the wall."
Whew, alright. I've never thought of my own creative expression in that precise slamming type way, but I understand what Slick is saying. I have always valued the awakening, shocking, surprising and opening power of art. When I can do that in my work, I know I have done something good.
The firebird is a magical luminous bird that brings blessings, but it does not bless its captor. Like creativity, it must be free.
I love this painting by Van Gogh of a kingfisher in the reeds at the edge of a body of water.
The kingfisher is an old symbol of peace and prosperity. They say that if you come across a kingfisher, it could mean success and prosperity are coming your way.
May it be so. May the bird tribe bless you with its many gifts.