“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” — Pema Chodron
As we have been more close to nature these past weeks, I find all sorts of empty nests on the path of my morning walk. Each nest is very different from the next, and I am amazed by the skill and resourcefulness of the tiny avian artisans who crafted them. One nest is woven with batting that must have been found nearby our own house construction project. The next carefully twisted from twigs, and yet another was made entirely of fine blades of grass. Elegant works of art created as a shelter for the potential of life and love that would grow there.
I have so much gratitude for what it means to have a place to nest with those I love as we have all sheltered in place these past months. It has been my saving grace to have a space to clean and be creative when I feel near the breaking point, when anxieties over the unknown creep in, or the lack of control overrides my mind. It is a gift to have something to keep myself busy. Ironically I am reminded of the ancient Proverb, “That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change; but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.” It hasn’t been easy for anyone. We have all have been thrown from the nest of our security and what we once knew.
On top of that, we see the stark reality for too many who have no place to call home and feel the guilt of even uttering a complaint. Everything is up in the air. It has been for a while, and this event just made us more aware of how imbalanced things are on every level. There is so much to do to make things better, and yet going anywhere is not allowed.
Returning to my little growing collection of nests, I realize somehow each of these birds trusted that they would find exactly what they needed for what they instinctually know how to create. Despite all the news of scarcity that we are continually hearing, is it possible that this could be the truth for us as well? Can we trust that we will know what we need and find it as we move forward? I think the beauty of these nests is the simplicity they represent…not more, not less, just right for what was necessary. How often do we feel the urge to take more, to puff our feathers, or on the flip side, not feel worthy of asking for what we need?
I look at the hollow in the middle of the nest and consider what each of them once held. Little birds that grew and flew away. Ouch. How I feel that in my own nest as my children are becoming adults and finding their wings. They say the hardest part of love is letting go. My heart knows this to be true as my own nest is emptying.
What is forming inside of myself now? Not having a job to do for many weeks has added to that growing depression. What is my purpose for being if not to do what I can to serve? How can being home be enough even though we are told it is? When this is over, to what will we be returning? So many questions. I am hopeful that we have a new understanding of the interdependency of our Earth and how important every member and moment is.
Winged creatures have always inspired me by their fearless flight and their ability to ascend it all. They call my spirit in so many ways inviting me to join in the dance of knowing all is well.
We will know when to build nests and when it is time to move along to a new journey. They remind me that somehow we will find what we need to move forward to make way for the next season. They sing their song and tell me not to let my music die within me. There is a purpose for each of us now more than ever. We have to be willing to open up to it no matter what is going on around us.
These nests are magical and beautiful symbols that encourage me to keep going. My walks outside help me find that home center within my spirit. When the trail ends, I gently leave the nests back in place, in the sense of my profession as a real estate broker…just in case another bird is looking to relocate.