Worry Like A Bird
“Worry like a bird.”
A new friend gave me that phrase yesterday when we rode together on the bus. If you’re going to worry, worry like a bird. Each morning the birds wake up and sing, celebrating the day, connecting with one another before they even know what will happen. Their social nourishment happens before anything else, celebrating life as it happens.
Human social graces don't always honor the heart. We’re taught to be sure everything is perfect before being seen. We’re taught to greet one another and be engaging without revealing too much, without truly connecting. We’re taught to evaluate who deserves to know us. We’re taught to worry what others think. We’re taught to worry that if we give too much, we won’t have enough for ourselves.
Let’s set aside for a second that the heart itself is inexhaustible and unharmable; set aside that the more you give of the heart the more you feel the heart ... let’s not go there just yet. For most people’s minds, these truths are still too direct.
Is it possible to greet one another like birds, without the habitual evaluations of them or yourself? What would that feel like?
I live in a world so bent on conformity that you can pick out the rebels by their common clothes and music. In this state of conformity, sharing from the heart can be perceived as antisocial. It’s weird.
It’s weird to offer connection and have others give you the stink-eye for knocking them off-track. Some work very hard to stay in a familiar state of retreat. Conformity, after all, isn’t supporting freedom of expression.
It’s kind of funny to watch the faces people make when they work hard to control how they feel, or how you feel about them.
“How are you, Kerri?”
“I’m really happy!”
“Really happy? …why?” (here’s the stink-eye).
“Well, it’s easy.”
“No, I mean, what happened that made you happy?”
“Yeah, well, that’s because you don’t have my life.”
This sort of self-punshment is considered social behavior!
I get how it works - I’m supposed to pretend it’s a funny joke and ignore their heart quietly tapping at the window asking for a breath of fresh air.
I of course cannot ignore that heart, so I open the window.
“Oh, my friend, you are welcome to come hang out with me any time.”
Now, the stink-eye turns to a wide-eye, curious that I would say such a thing, unsure how to proceed. Me, I'm just singing and celebrating life as it comes.
It’s is not generally considered socially acceptable to extend an invitation without proper preparation. Here I am, extending an invitation to a “perfect stranger” to hang out. Hanging out is, according to society, an unproductive waste of time, doesn’t produce money and isn’t advisable considering we don’t even know if we will enjoy each other’s company.
But the invitation with all my heart let’s in enough fresh air that this person feels it and smiles.
“Maybe I should! But while I’m ‘hanging out’, where will the money come from?”
“Same place it always comes from,” I say, “other people.”
By that time, if their head hasn’t exploded, they’re likely enjoying a smile, taking a quick look at the truth of it and realizing there’s no threat here. That’s a sweet moment.
I didn’t start the conversation with some agenda to have this person hang out with me, or with the agenda that they smile. I’m just willing to share my own lightness of being even when others are stuck like crazy-glue to their despair. In other words, I don’t need anything back from them. I’m not giving anything I don’t have in infinite store.
Greeting one another from the heart has nothing to do with inventory. It actually creates a new space of potential. Creating these new spaces is one of the benefits of sharing our physical presence with one another.
In social settings people are unconsciously looking for what games to play and who’s going to win, because conflict feels “normal.” Bring in the absence of conflict and the social mind goes into defense until it finds a way to be good at that game.
A mind can get very good at a game of lightness. Until lightness is sincere though, the heart will still be able to tell it’s a game and feel unseen, unheard. It will still look for that breath of fresh air.
Lucky for humanity, the heart also has infinite patience and infinite knowing that lightness is the way. The heart is not looking to connect because it needs something. It looks to share, as patient as it needs to be, simply because it lacks agenda.
Some will choose to keep playing the game, to stay in the comfortable eddy of social conflict, and that’s cool. The heart doesn’t need anything different from them. Others will breathe in that fresh air and remember how it feels to be free.
Self-empowerment builds on knowing what you need, or don’t need from the outside world. Be aware of what you think you need from others, and you empower yourself to share from the heart. When you start looking around a little, it’s easy to watch everything be provided whether you think you need or not, whether you worry about it or not, from money to food to friendships. The birds already know how it works, and they simply don’t fight it.
If you must worry, worry like a bird.