Thursday, April 28, 2011

Self-Doubt

I'm going to start today's post by quoting something from my guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

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Question: Dear Guruji I doubt myself a lot, I doubt my skills, abilities and decisions. How to deal with self-doubt? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: How does one deal with self-doubt? Understand doubt: doubt is always about something that is good. Someone tells ‘I love you’, we ask them ‘Really?’, and they say ‘I hate you’, and we never ask ‘Really?’ So, a doubt is always about something good. We doubt our abilities; and never doubt our weaknesses. We doubt happiness, we never doubt misery. Isn’t it? Nobody doubts their depression. ‘But well, I’m not sure if I’m happy or not, well I'm not sure'.So when you understand that the doubt is always about something that’s positive, your mind shifts to a level, a different level altogether. Doubt is simply low prana. If you do more pranayams you will see that you have come about that.

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He is wise, indeed.  We all doubt ourselves from time to time, sometimes in large doses, sometimes but for a moment.  I guess we can take some solace in the fact that we are not alone in this.  But, though simple, his words express how easily we cling to the negative within ourselves and not celebrate the positive.  We isolate and believe with all our hearts in our own weaknesses.

However valued the humble trait may be, we also must remember to temper it by celebrating our strengths, and as for the weaknesses, we must believe that our own, honest and seeking progression through life will overcome them or accept them as merely being human.  As we learn and believe in ourselves, some of our weaknesses may dissipate, in fact, may turn into strengths. And such a gift is immensely powerful, as with our hindsight of learning and growth can give us great perspective with which to teach others who might be traveling the same path.

Sharing is a big part of what Sri Sri teaches.  But we must share love with ourselves before we share love with others.

For those interested in reading more of Sri Sri's teachings or about the Art of Living, you can find more here.  It's been a great blessing to me, and I've made many friends, including with myself:

www.artofliving.org

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Life is Fragile - Tale of a Bird's Nest

I've been watching a purple finch nest on my front porch for a few weeks now.  I was excited to discover that the domicile selected last year by the ubiquitous house finch was this year selected by the less common purple finch.  This annual home site is a hanging flower basket, once carrying hot pink fuchsias.  Each day I've grown more and more elated to see the purple finch continuing to sit on her nest.  Despite it being near our front door, and the occasional activity related to that, she kept her vigilant pose on the nest,  incubating the eggs.

I've taken the basket down three times, to take a three-second peek, but only when the mother was already off the nest (I can always see her head peeping out of the top when she's on it).  And so each time, I watched the basket to be sure the mother was not on the nest nor anywhere nearby.  Two weeks ago, when I looked, the contents of the feather-lined nest were three tiny, glossy, pale blue eggs with a very few brown speckles.

On my birthday, yesterday, I hadn't seen any sign of the mother each time I looked. I thought it was odd since the temperatures were so low.  Well, when I peeked at the nest, there was one tiny newborn hatchling.  It was a bare alien of a bird with a minuscule tuft of white down on its bulbous pink head and along its spine. And it was so adorable that it caught my breath.  I wanted to keep watching this wiggly, precious new life, but knew two more eggs still needed hatching, and that the mother may still, hopefully, be close by, so I hung it back up and crept away.

The weather has been unseasonably cold this spring, especially in the last few days, so I've been very concerned about the newborn, as well as his siblings still encased in whole shells next to him.  Last night and today there has been no sign of mommy, my third peek brought tears to my eyes.  Two hatchlings and one egg.  But the hatchlings were absolutely still.  I whispered to them, blew warm air their way, knowing (from working at wildlife centers) the myth that bird's can smell humans is just that, a myth.  But they didn't move.  I know the cold got to them both.  We had snow twice this week, in mid-April.  It's crazy.  I finally took each baby out and gently brought them inside to warm them up in my hands.  Their bodies were ice cold, and despite the warmth I was giving to them, there was still no movement.  Not even a quiver of life against my palms.

Though I am fairly certain they are dead, I can't abandon hope, and I returned them to the nest, next to the one remaining egg.  I pray the mother finch returns, and if she does, David and I will use the back door for coming in and out of the house.  And I'll pray the weather stays warm for the third baby.  But something tells me it's too late for it, too.   Perhaps the mother will lay a second brood.  It's early yet.  But my heart feels like a cold stone today.

Life is so fragile and so ugly at times.  It's difficult to understand why such beautiful little creatures were not allowed to survive.  I pray to God it wasn't my three peeks that did it. I shall vow, from this moment on, never to plant another flower in that basket, nor to bring it down for a peek, no matter how tempting it might be.  One never knows if the mother decided it was too risky a rearing because of my three visits or whether something else scared her off. Nature is so mysterious.  But if I played any part in causing these dear babies' deaths, I'm sorry.  So sorry.