He slammed against the large window and flew backwards in what I personified as frustration. “How did he get in?” I ask the table of strangers all working near me. “The front door,” a woman answers from the other end. We all laugh. Of course! He took the same way in as the rest of us.
Twenty minutes later I’m standing in the back near the bathroom. The bird flutters between windows, pecking at each and quizzically wondering how to get on the other side. I’m assuming he feels this way, at least. I recognize that feeling.
My own little bird has been feeling trapped. She’s trapped in a system. She came in the front door, like everyone else, and found herself in a box of glass windows made of expectations she didn’t know existed. Her free spirit that was such an asset before is a source of frustration and pain. She doesn’t fit in. She’s not set up for success here. She’s too young to know what options she has or that the world outside isn’t just an extension of this ridiculously cruel joke. She feels powerless to make a change so she slams against the glass window in frustration and backs away hurt and helpless. She’s lost her song and we aren’t sure what or how to help.
I watch as someone opens the back door where the bird is becoming more frantic as he searches for a way out. The lady smiles at me as I acknowledge the simple gesture. We are silent but we know this is the only solution for the increasingly manic bird.
Earlier this week I sat down with my own bird and opened a door. I gave her a way out, a safe way out, an option or two. When she wanted to run away, I drove her to a new place. I let her flap her wings frantically to show her anger and frustration and then I let her know we would always open a door when she gets stuck. She doesn’t know that as big as her anger and frustration and hate is in her body, her body that can’t contain all this emotion and volatile energy, is equally met by the magnitude of love and space and acceptance that we can open on her behalf.
It’s not always easy to remember this when frustrating times dig in. I, too, have the frustrations and resentments and anger and uncertainty, but if we can take a step back, in the silence that follows, we can open a door to the outside. Our best hope is that, eventually in her own time, she takes that door and finds her spirit and flight again.