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  • Brynne Betz

Wednesday Wish (164); The Sacred Secret Within

Updated: May 21, 2021

Charlie woke me up the other day. I didn’t know it was Charlie when I first heard the noise; I discovered that later. Not just that it was him, but that his name was actually Charlie. At first glance, he seemed like an ordinary bird, an ordinary cardinal. But the longer I watched him in my nightgown, the more certain I was that he was anything but ordinary.

It started with the pecking of his reflection in my car’s side mirror. Then he went on to the other side. After that, he took issue with the sunroof, the rest of the car’s windows including the front, and finally, in the afternoon, the glass door of our house. Each place, he pecked and pecked and pecked. And pecked so hard, he made himself bleed, leaving little squiggly lines of blood wherever he worked.

It all started around the time the virus broke out. The level of ‘is this real?’ and ‘yep, this is real but it’s also unbelievable’, kept rising. We stopped seeing friends. We stopped going out to eat. We even stopped grocery shopping, ordering everything online or via curb-side pick-up. The world grew quiet and the world grew loud. The air grew still, and it suddenly took on a strange new intensity. Some days I felt overwhelmed with gratitude that we were able to be safe at home. Other days I felt overwhelmed with sadness for all the suffering just beyond our reach. Most of the time though, I didn’t even know how to pick out just one feeling for there were far too many swirling around my head to fully own just one.

Meanwhile, there was Charlie, pecking away at the car. 

Every. Single. Day. All day.

I like to think of myself as more tuned-in than I used to be, more available to receive messages from the universe. But this . . . had me baffled.

What was his message? What was this red bird no bigger than my hand trying to tell me? Was I banging my own head against the wall as I tried to decipher this new world we were living in? Or was it even stronger? Was I somehow killing myself? Or did he instead, represent the state of the world? Are we banging our heads against some invisible force that will ultimately kill us if we don’t stop? And if this little bird only pecked at places where he saw himself, where he saw no more than a reflection of himself, are we too, real or imagined, our own worst enemies? 

With all questions and no answers, I did what I so often do, I called my mom– my wise, nature-loving, heart-centered mom.

         ‘What in the heck?’ she said. ‘I’ve never heard of such a thing. Could you send me a picture?’

So I did.

But together, even with the visuals, we were no further along in deciphering his behavior, in understanding why this beautiful little bird seemed intent on destroying a reflection of himself.

And then it dawned on me.

In the era we’re walking out of, almost every answer could be found by searching outward for what we sought. From encyclopedias to the internet, from books to newspapers to asking experts or quizzing those who’ve gone before us, there was always a way to find the answers to our questions. They were undoubtedly somewhere out there waiting for us to discover them.

The era we’re walking into feels markedly different to me. It’s like a fog rolling in that we can see but can’t fully grasp, that we can breathe in, but if asked about its scent, we struggle to describe. It has a slight chill; it’s moisture but not wet; its gentle with a slight threat; and it’s blocking our luminous sun.

What if the answers to my questions about the little red bird intent on hurting himself didn’t live anywhere outside of me, but only within? What if the same is true of our world today and of all the questions we struggle to answer? What if the fog around us is begging us to use this time, this quieter time at home, more alone than maybe we’ve ever been before, to go within? What then, will we find? Maybe more questions at first? Maybe a big gob of feelings roaring its head, those we stored away to deal with later, when we had the time? And maybe, if we dwell there long enough, maybe we’ll begin to unfurl the answers we journeyed there to find. With silence. With intuition. With a deep trust that this new era is actually inviting us within to find the answers we need. For our future. For our sanity. For our happiness.

So what did I find within? How did the little bird’s actions speak to me when I gave myself the time to listen to the wisdom of my inner self?

*Trying to keep busy in the face of an invitation to slow down is crazy making.

*Acting as if we can somehow mitigate the changes to our world is like banging our heads against the wall.

*Everything in nature struggles. But struggle also enables us to truly live.

*Soften your stance and life will hurt far less. It might even make you giggle.

*Love yourself. Still more.

*See your beauty and life will reflect that beauty.

*Don’t be distracted by stationary reflections of the past; keep on flying, forward.

*Many things might look sad on the surface, but there’s often a deeper gift underneath. 

*Maybe the ‘why’s’ aren’t where we need to focus. Maybe there are bigger questions beyond the ‘why’s’ that will only emerge if we give ourselves enough time to reflect, within.

*And maybe most importantly, use those wings of yours to fly!

Oh, and his name. . . ? He asked to be called Charlie after my uncle who always made me laugh as a child. Much like my uncle, my little red bird helped me rediscover the gifts in the pain, the joy in the seemingly mundane, and the silent wisdom beneath my questions, wisdom I unknowingly hid like a sacred secret within.


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