Picture a magical young nurse reading to a small 90 year old woman. The young nurse is in the image of a griffin. She is reading from an iPad while the woman sits looking out a window with spring flowers outside and sunlight shining in.


A Letter To A Friend – Healing the Future Self.

This may not be the direction that you intended to head in. It may feel like a step backward into a trap you once successfully unlocked – rather than an opportunity to shine.

I get us. 👈😹 I meant that to say ‘I get it’ but the error is far too intuitive to fix.

We have dealt with similar battles, are equipped with many of the same tools for healing, and also need to be free. Yet we also realize manifesting our passions requires an acceptance of vulnerable surrender.

I have fought this in the past and, in the process, became like a fairy turned Icarus. So sister, don’t do that.

Healing our wings does come with its own set of lessons though. One is that I under-appreciated SOOO much while being caught up in my own flurry of flight. Most of all but not limited to; people, furry friends, lessons, leaves on the trees, flowers, and even self.

The value of being mindful is such that you appreciate that the ripple effect of your actions and reactions is a real thing. I am reminded of moments with Libby Carstensen while working at the Chopra Center. Her careful guidance helped heal some past trauma that was holding me back in my work. I remember her pointing out “the opportunity in each moment is in how you react to it.” during a difficult day.

Yes, and therein we heal the future self that will face new situations minus the triggers of past trauma. At least, as best we can. This mindful exercise also empowers us to better support our collaborators in life and work.

“You have no idea what your legacy will be because your legacy is every life you touch.”1

Angelou, M. (1976)

Our level of comfort in daily life is mostly contingent on knowing the freedom of surfing magical waves of influence untethered – even if they feel like giant waves threatening to drown us. 😉 In turn we seek to create nice comfy pond size ripples for others, or, catch the board that had slipped out from another’s feet, handing it back to them as they make the shore.

This morning I woke up reminded of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings 2. It is said to have been named after Paul Laurence Dunbar’s 1899 poem “Sympathy”3, about working conditions in the Library of Congress. The poem opens with,

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
      When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
      When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
      When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals –
I know what the caged bird feels!

Dunbar, P.L. (1899)

I also was brought back to memories of the impact that reading Virginia Wolf’s A Room of One’s Own.4 had on me.

“What is meant by “reality”? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable—now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now a daffodil in the sun. It lights up a group in a room and stamps some casual saying. It overwhelms one walking home beneath the stars and makes the silent world more real than the world of speech…”

Woolf, V (1929)

Woolf’s work was regarded as highly feminist (and still is) and Angelou’s is about the circumstance of coming of age as a young black woman in the 1930’s-40’s. In them, they both explore similar themes that are smack in our faces at present; identity, freedom, and the strength of the human spirit. Further, Dunbar addresses the particular experience of working conditions as, “…ah me, When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—When he beats his bars and he would be free;…” (Dunbar, 1899) which, for some of us, posits a work-frame that COVID made clear is one we do not wish to return to. For others of us, it was far apparent before.

We, as in All of Us, are being buffeted about by changing times and increasing growth that is exciting but sometimes thrusts us into circumstances where we find ourselves struggling with the feeling of being held by bars of a cage.

I strive to recognize that any cage may be as much a function of my perceptions as reality. With this I hope that I can melt any external bars I encounter along with recognizing the internal frames that I have created are simply legacies to worldviews that do not serve me well at present.

What I wish to leave you with is that having space to create those beautiful ripple effects we have so much gratitude for may also come with what first appear as bars but may just be handholds like those outside of a sweet amusement park ride a young child is gazing upon with appreciation.

Acceptance and vulnerable surrender.

As you enter this next stage, I picture you as the woman with the wings, surrounded by sunshine, flowers, trees, birds, and all the beauty that you bring to your work-life and life-life.

A regal blue heron flying over a body of water. Hyperdetails realistic in the mist with sunlight. There are ripples in the water below.

Love & Gratitude ~ Me

  1. Angelou, M. (1978). And still I rise. New York, Random House. ↩︎
  2. Angelou, M. (19701969). I know why the caged bird sings. New York, Random House. ↩︎
  3. “Sympathy” was first published in 1899 in Dunbar’s poetry collection Lyrics of the Hearthside.[6] [Retreived from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sympathy_(poem)] ↩︎
  4. Woolf, V. (1929). A room of one’s own. In Essays, Modern and Contemporary (pp. 1-27). New York: Harcourt, Brace. ↩︎

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