One of the things I learned from my mother (without her intentionally teaching it, I’m sure), is how much joy can be found in watching the birds. She likes birds and I learned to like them too. We have several feeders at our new home and we have delighted in seeing how many types of birds we attract here. We have so much more variety than we had at our former home. Yesterday we confirmed that we have at least three pairs of Rose Breasted Grosbeaks because we saw all three at the feeder at once. We also have more goldfinches than we can count. We’ve seen house finches, sparrows, woodpeckers, robins, cardinals, and we have one purple finch couple. I keep a bucket with binoculars and bird books on the kitchen table and the girls dig in to it to look up birds while they are watching the feeder.
I’m what you might call a homebody. My home is my sanctuary. It is in our home that our family grows, ideas percolate, feelings are explored. I tend to the needs of many living things here: my husband, children, our cat, the birds and chickens, the bees, the houseplants, and soon, the flowers and vegetables. I like to watch things grow.
On my path of recovery and connection I realize that I spent the past year shutting out my thoughts and feelings. I was afraid to be quiet in my own mind because the feelings were too powerful and threatening. I felt scared because my home -my sanctuary- was being invaded and I couldn’t do anything about it. The place where I came to recharge no longer provided shelter. Because I consider my house to be my safe place, I didn’t have another place to go. That made me feel angry. I took action and tried to change the situation by rallying the neighborhood and petitioning the authorities, but it wasn’t successful. The fight was too big and unbalanced. Aside from this being a personal problem for my family, I knew that this was another example of environmental injustice that is found around the world. We are harming our one and only planet. You can find examples of it everywhere. The enormity of the issue couldn’t be ignored. I couldn’t handle it. I shut it out. I shut down.
As I wake up from this long slumber I pledge to:
- Recognize when I am feeling threatened, scared or angry. I will stay with those feelings as long as I can, even after I feel like running away.
- Continue to make my home a sanctuary for myself and my family, because that is what feeds my soul.
- Pick up the pace on making more positive changes that will slow down the destruction of our shared home, the Earth.
Not only am I a homebody, but I’m also a fairly private person. As I’ve grown I’ve learned that my degree of personal privacy correlates directly with how I feel. If I’m feeling scared, threatened and angry, I won’t let my feelings show. Not to myself, and certainly not to anyone else. When I’m feeling like I can handle the things that are coming my way, I am more apt to talk about how I feel. I suspect that not everyone is like me, but maybe you are. Or maybe you know someone like me. When I share my feelings, I’m actually doing fine. It’s when I act as though I don’t have any feelings that you have to wonder what’s really going on.
Sharing my feelings in this space helps me because it keeps me accountable to myself. If I state that I’ve felt a certain way and that I will make a point to recognize it in the future, it’s helpful for me to see that I wrote those words, that I believed them once upon a time, and that I have faith that I will be able to follow through. It’s like my personal pep talk written in advance for those moments when I need it most.