A Message from a Singing Bird
I’ve recently moved and my new home came with an unexpected entertainer.
Every morning I wake up to a beautiful trill of a little bird outside. The song is long, confident and loud. The first time I heard it, I smiled: “This bird is not holding anything back!”
It quickly became a tradition that I began looking forward to – every day I woke up at sunrise to the sun salutation performed by this little guest. That was until today.
Today I woke up to complete silence. I hadn’t realized how much I was enjoying my morning concerts and how used I had gotten to them until today.
“Is it too early? Is he sick today? Has he flown away?..” I caught myself feeling sad and disappointed and then I saw the metaphor in this situation.
When we get a desire to express ourselves in some creative, artistic way – writing, singing, drawing, dancing, knitting, playing the guitar, etc. – we rarely do it the way my little friend does – loudly, clearly and unapologetically. Our anxious minds don’t allow that.
“Will others like my art? Will they hate it? Will someone criticize it? Am I good at it? Will people think I am stupid for doing it? How many likes will I get on Facebook? Can I make money on it? Is this my calling? Should this be my new career?..”
So much mental noise and contamination…
The little bird is not concerned about any of it. He sings because he can. No preoccupation with how many people like it or find it annoying or don’t even notice it. None. He just sings. He simply expresses himself the way that feels natural to him.
Imagine how freeing it would be if we did the same thing and were less obsessed with other people’s opinions of us or our work?
“What other people think of me is none of my business,” spiritual teachers teach. We nod in agreement and go back to checking our phones: “Has anyone else liked or commented on my latest share?”
Your art might be something that other people look forward to every day, something that cheers them up and makes them smile, and when you are not allowing yourself to create it because “you don’t have time” or because you are too worried whether it’s good enough for others or not, you might be taking something wonderful away from those people and this whole world.
And even if other people don’t believe your art to be great, why does it matter anyway? If you have fun making it, isn’t that the only thing that matters?
Remember the little bird? He sings because he wants to, because he knows how to, because singing feels good and right to him. Without worrying what people think about his song or about him. He just sings because it’s the most natural thing to do for him.
We all could learn so much from this little guy…
He is back, by the way, and he’s told me to go back to writing.
What about you? How do YOU like to express yourself? When was the last time you did?
How about now??…