Recently, with all that has been happening in the world, I find myself scrolling through my news feed and on social media much more than usual, certainly much more than I like to be. I try to limit my exposure because I don’t always come away from my time on social media feeling great.
These days, I come away from it feeling like I’m not doing enough to help this broken world, and everything seems urgent, the more I read the less I seem to know, and I start to feel smaller and smaller, so that by the time I disengage I am almost completely paralyzed and overwhelmed.
Perhaps you know what I speak of – I want to be informed, I want to be engaged, I want to take guided action and yet for the sake of my own sanity I have to sometimes just shut it all off.
My own particular Achilles heel in this area is that in my effort to stay in the loop, I inevitably start comparing myself and my posts and my efforts to others.
And I know better.
I know that comparison will either make me feel superior or make me feel like less, or not as good as. I start to believe that I’m not trying hard enough, not doing it “right,” not doing all the things.
When this happens, I know I need to re-focus my gaze inward, not outward. I need to look to my own work and my own calling and my own journey. I need to give some healing to my own heart.
So, as I offered myself the rest of the day off from FB and IG and turned off my phone, I prepared to step out into my backyard with a cup of a tea and a good book. I could still feel my sense of “less than” creeping up my back like a shiver, that odious voice in my head telling me “you’re a failure, you will never succeed at this, everyone is doing it better than you are” and just before I pushed my screen door open, there he was.
A little crow baby on the grass just a few feet from my back door.
Because I was in the house and behind the screen he couldn’t see me. I quietly sank to the floor and watched in wonder as he leapt around and crow-walked through the garden, over the grass, under the ferns and around the hostas without any concern.
And I got to watch him, drink him in with my eyes and my heart. I could see a few tiny, light downy feathers near his tail, which looked so sweet and quirky.
I confess that I wanted to squish him and love him and kiss him.
I wanted him to stay forever.
I grabbed bird seed, dates and corn chips. I followed him down the garden path as he hopped slowly towards the front gate, keeping his eye on me and watching as I fought off the resident chipmunks in my effort to bribe him with treats.
I don’t believe in coincidences anymore, and certainly not when it comes to nature. The last time I was crushed by comparison and doubting myself and my work, I had a life-affirming visit from a hawk.
So I knew immediately that there was an important message for me here, and that I needed to pay attention to this crow.
This perfect and comical little crow stayed in my backyard all afternoon and evening as I sat outside. Once I thought he was gone for good but then suddenly he flew past me where I was sitting, so close I could feel the air move on the back of my neck as he swooped in and almost crash landed on a rock a few feet to my left.
He looked back over his shoulder at me.
I opened my heart to him, I beamed love from my heart and eyes into him, I was so grateful that he had come to be with me as I worked to soothe my battered mind and heart.
For certainly the raven and the crow are birds that have walked with me for as long as I can remember.
They are birds of mystery and harbingers of internal change.
This crow child was asking me to remember who I am, who I really am. To honor my own magic, my own true self and my own divine potential.
He was asking me to protect my fledgling confidence, to honour all my efforts and small steps towards new things that felt uncomfortable. To embrace it, to own it, to walk it like one who knows that growing into her potential is inevitable, because she’s already walking it. And, that I need no one’s permission to do this.
Crow made time stand still for me. He said – ignore all the noise that is the world right now and just be yourself. Walk with me, walk like a crow – unapologetic, confident and curious.
And please laugh.
With him beside me on the rock I wrote, I wrote poetry for my family, I wrote the crow, I laughed and cried. I wept for the darkness and the light, for all the pain and suffering and beauty moving in this world, for all the ways that I am the fragile, merciless author of my own suffering.
And I realized then that in my backyard on a Saturday afternoon with a baby crow, I was communing with the divine. In a dark moment had come a beautiful, dark bird to show me the light. To show me the light within me, that is also within all of us.
I so badly want to serve the world in some meaningful way. I ask how I may serve, and it seems that I am repeatedly reminded to be myself, to get out of my own way, to give up my self-doubt and surrender to the immense, unknowable design of things.
And that I need no one’s permission in order to do this. I can assure you, there isn’t a crow in the world that has ever asked for permission from anyone, including the sweet, young crow in my yard.
May we all find a way to serve the world by being true to who we are. May we know we are enough. May we know that our courage is needed now more than ever, the courage to offer what we have, however humble. May we have the courage to do hard things, to have hard conversations, to make changes. In the dark storm, may we realize we are the light – and that in order to bring it the question has to be not “who’s going to let me?” but “who’s going to stop me?”
May I know my own value, beauty and worthiness without question
Change me into one who can fully love, forgive and accept myself
So I may carry Your light without restriction
Let everything that needs to go, go
Let everything that needs to come, come
I am utterly Your own
You are me, I am You, we are One
All is well.
Excerpted from “The Full Abundance Change Me Prayer” by Tosha Silver