Look at this picture. What do you see?
Some may see what appears to be obvious…2 birds on a limb, in the fall, facing opposite directions. Some may delve slightly deeper and see 2 quarreling lovers, unable to compromise, challenged by the uncertainty of the future of their relationship.
While those interpretations seem quite possible, they’re not at all what I see.
What if I agitated your intelligence by disputing the one thing that appears to be factual in this photograph? What if I told you there is, in fact, only one bird and that the one farthest away is, simply, an illusion?
Humor me for a moment, as I encourage you to explore the possibilities…
The bird closest to the lens is real. The camera is focused on her and her beauty. WE are focused on her and her beauty. Her full, plush feathers in delicate hues of brown capture the gazes of all who come her way. Her head and neck, dipped in a vivacious shade of red, speak volumes of her fiery personality. And when she speaks, she sings a song that dazzles and inspires even the hardest of hearts.
However, despite her unparalleled beauty and unique gifts, her confidence has become clouded by fear. As she peers into the blurry beyond, she hears the voices of self doubt. The voices become so loud they materialize. They are given breath, and they take shape. This negative energy, that has taken on a life of its own, happily escorts her to a crossroads. And, it nudges her, again and again, toward the path of despair.
You see, the second bird–the illusion that sits quietly, yet ever present in the background–is the manifestation of her fear and self-doubt. It resembles her, slightly. But, only because it’s a parasite that feeds off of a small part of her…an undesirable part of her. Its plumes are no where near as plush. And that vibrant, crimson headdress, that could only be worn by one who exudes boldness…nonexistent. It is no match for her. It just seems stronger right now.
Void of pleasant melodies, this bird in the background only utters, “Who do you think you are? You are not good enough. You will never succeed. You cannot achieve greatness. Everything you touch fails. Stop dreaming and get real! You have no confidence. You will fall on your face. No one will ever take you seriously!”
Though she dwells atop the highest tree, on the highest bough, overlooking the grandest view, this beautiful creature is caged. She is caged by her own fears, afraid to grant herself permission to fly.
I have invested a large amount of time in my personal journey of discovery, a decade, in fact. So, I KNOW who I am. I KNOW what my passions are…what I dream to be…how I view the world…and, most importantly, how I view myself. But even after 10 years of truly getting to know myself…accepting myself, flaws and all…exploring the dark spaces of my soul…even after emerging more confident, sassy and courageous than ever, I am currently experiencing a profound moment of uncertainty.
Initially, this uncertainty threw me for a loop.
If you’ve been keeping up with me, then you know that turning 40 was a monumental occasion for me. It was symbolic of my successful completion of my Decade of Discovery and marked the beginning of my Decade of Enlightenment. This uncertainty caused me to doubt the success of my journey to personal discovery. Fortunately, I quickly abandoned that destructive thought. You see, this is NOT uncertainty of WHO I AM, WHAT I STAND FOR or WHAT MY HOPES and DREAMS ARE. It is uncertainty of HOW I will USE who I am, my gifts and my passions to ACHIEVE these hopes and dreams.
After banishing that thought, I have found myself exactly where I need to be. This uncertainty is necessary on my new road to ENLIGHTENMENT. It is not a set back, as I originally deemed it to be. It is a sign of progress. This uncertainty is challenging me to connect the dots. It is challenging me to take a spiritual journey. After all, my Decade of Enlightenment is all about attaining spiritual knowledge. Without it, I cannot fulfill my purpose of inspiring others.
One vital lesson that I have learned is when I am in the midst of uncertainty, doubt and fear, I must allow myself to dwell there for a period of time. Not because I am giving in to those voices of self-doubt. Not because I am allowing the fear to take control. But because I allow myself time to sit in that uncomfortable place in order to come face-to-face with its cause, I conquer it and emerge stronger.
That is where I have been. I’ve been in a place of darkness and stillness. I have had to RETREAT, regroup, RETHINK, refresh, RENEW, reaffirm, REFORM, rekindle, REASSEMBLE, replenish, REALIZE, reassess, RESTRUCTURE, re-dream, RE-DRAW, recondition, REORGANIZE, reawaken, RESUSCITATE, revive, REJUVENATE, restore, REPAIR…and, most importantly, prepare to RE-ATTACK!
I have said it before…Sometimes We Must Dwell In Darkness In Order To Appreciate The Light!! Likewise, we must exist within that same uncertainty before we can be Enlightened.
My current state has been marked by much meditation and reflection, and a significant truth has been revealed to me. I have often accused others of caging me, hoarding my beauty and talents. They were my scapegoats…my excuse for not setting myself free…my excuse for not granting myself permission to fly. Truth be told, I am the only one guilty of hiding my beauty from the world.
Fear and self-doubt are powerful forces…
Look at the picture again…Do you see me? Yes, I am the bird…filled with self-doubt…at a crossroads.
Can I ever believe…believe in myself? Can I ever find freedom in the fall, knowing I will spread my wings and take flight? Can you? Can you believe…believe in yourself?
Yes, I think we can…
In fact, I know we can.
Thank you for sharing in my first lesson of my Decade of Enlightenment. Join me on my journey…SUBSCRIBE.