A funny thing happened the other morning as I was enjoying my coffee and taking in the pretty, greening back yard. Two tree swallows flew in the porch door I left open.
The birds darted around our open living space, tying to find a way out. I immediately opened all the windows and doors and one of the swallows flew right off.
The other one kept flying up into the vaulted ceiling and everywhere except through the many open windows and doors. Poor thing, it was rattled and couldn’t find it’s way.
The experience made me think how as humans – when we are faced with a problem, or feel trapped in a situation – we can often feel overwhelmed and unable to see positive ways forward.
Not because we’re stupid, lack resilience or have something fundamentally wrong with us, but because we keep ratcheting up our thinking in those moments – trying harder and harder to solve our problems with the same thinking that’s gotten us nowhere – when actually pausing, getting still and letting our head clear would be more helpful.
Time and again I’ve seen that fresh thinking, perfect for what we are facing, is most likely to show up when we are in a curious, open state of mind instead of doggedly thinking harder.
Deep down we all innately know that’s true, the same way we know that if we’re driving along on the highway and suddenly get heavy downpours of rain, that slowing down and/or pulling off till it passes makes much more sense then speeding up and going faster.
… and as humans it’s easy to forget it works that way when we’re desperate for a solution.
Case in point, back to my bird story, I found myself getting worked up when I couldn’t help the second swallow find its way out. Finally, after about ten minutes of trying, it occurred to me to just stop.
That feeling of increasing stress as I racked my brain trying to think of some other way to show the bird out alerted me that I needed to back off.
I gathered my computer and coffee and headed into my office, leaving the tree swallow alone to sense it’s own way out sans a crazy lady zipping about.
I have to say it felt nice to stop trying and just sit quietly in my office chair for a bit. When I looked out about five minutes later, sure enough, my little bird friend had flown away.
Connecting with that inner quiet refreshed me and appeared to do the same for the swallow, allowing it to clearly see the way out.
As Dicken Bettinger PhD and practitioner, Natasha Swerdloff, share in their beautiful book, Coming Home – connecting to inner quiet via a reflective, curious mind:
“… reveals an inner world of beautiful feelings such as peace, joy, happiness, compassion, and gratitude. It reveals the richness of living fully in the now. It reveals a higher order of thinking with the characteristics such as clarity, insight, perspective, motivation, inspiration, creativity, and common sense solutions to your daily challenges.”
What if we ALL have an ceaseless connection to that ‘inner world’ of beautiful feelings and common sense solutions even when we don’t see or feel it in a moment?
As you pause and reflect, a rich new world appears …