Have you saved your life today? I only ask because I was reminded this morning that this is something I think we must try to do, actively, every day. Saving your life is part, after all, of creating your legacy and developing your memoir mind*. But back to the question and the event that prompted it.
I came in from my walk – delayed due to rain – and caught sight of a small flying creature near the front door. The creatur was inside the house, banging against a big clear glass window pane.
Something you should know about me – I’m terrified of small – or large, for that matter – flying creatures – things with wings and/or feathers. Sure, I’ve trained myself, with the unrelenting support of my partner, to go near birds without encountering palpitations – not as many as I used to anyway. I can even feed magpies by hand, but I always have an escape route, and I always keep my sunglasses on. Something to do with those sharp beaks and their proximity to what I interpret – should I happen to morph into a magpie momentarily – as the delicious, gooey, protein-rich orbs I call my eyes.
But the little flying creatures – bugs galore (excluding lady bugs, which are entirely adorable – it’s my phobia, I can be irrational), cockroaches, wasps, bees, moths, butterflies, grasshoppers, praying mantises, or manti – you get the picture – the little ones are a different kettle of, well, flying fish. They’re scratchy, jumpy, bitey, fluttery, feathery. They aren’t furry and snuggly, they aren’t cuddly and brushable. They aren’t my cat.
However. While I may not like these insects, and birds, I wish them no harm. In fact, I wish them long and happily productive lives. For all we know, they may be all that stands between us and annihilation, given the woozy state of the world.
The thing is, though, they aren’t always very canny about their surroundings, especially if those surroundings are artificial, from their point of view. This little creature banging on the window pane, for instance, had no idea how to get out of its fix. It looked something like a dragonfly, or it could have been a hornet.
Either way – clueless.
It could see the light outside and its plan was to bang against the glass until it – the glass – saw the light, too, and let it through via some sub-atomic miracle.
I walked past and tried to ignore it. It’ll find its way out, I told myself, and reactively grabbed my cuddlesome cat. She was feeling scratchy, so I put her down (in the nicest possible way, not the veterinary way) and faced the truth. I was alone in the house for the time being; my cat can’t trap small flying creatures – not without killing them – and she can’t open doors and release them into the wild – yet. I’m hopeful.
There was only one choice.
It took a while, and I was terrified, but eventually I managed to trap the little flying creature in a plastic container, slapped a sheet of paper over the top and took it out to the garden and freedom. It disappeared without a trace.
My point? It felt good to save that little thing flapping and crashing against the glass window, seeing the world waiting for it out there, all light and bright and airy, inviting it to come out and play, and live.
It felt good to challenge fear. It made me wonder about the glass panes that you and I may not be canny enough to see, obstacles that prevent us from saving our own lives. Do we keep doing the same old things, feeding the same old habits, following the same routines, honouring the traditions we’ve created or continued just for the mindless sake of it? Are they still the right ones for us? Or are we fearful of challenging and changing?
Here’s the thing: I challenged a fear and I came to no harm. No palpitations, no bites, scratches, or feathery fluffing. I’ve got a way to go to actually touch my feathery/wingy mates, and there was buzzing and perhaps a little too much proximity. But the very least I can do is try.
So, try today to save your life.
Do something differently. Don’t do something that you usually believe you must do. Then watch as the world turns and doesn’t explode in your face. Break a habit before it breaks you. Change a routine before you’re rooted (to the spot).
Adopt the little flying creature inside your head, your heart, your soul, and put it in its place: out in the world of light and air and freedom.
NOTE: *Memoir Mind – a state of mind in which you are calmly aware, from moment to moment, of your life and thoughts. In this state of mind, you are able to see things from a different perspective. You may be in a position to begin decluttering, discovering some important truths, and creating your legacy.
Memoir mind: a state of calm excitement.