Sharing the Wealth
Charlie Badenhop

(from the "Pure Heart, Simple Mind" newsletter)

Although Tokyo is a huge metropolis, there are many small streets and quiet areas where one can feel at ease. I live about a half hour from the center of town and my neighborhood has the feel of a small village.

I live in a large ground floor corner apartment in a three-story building and my apartment also serves as my office. I love the comfort of working from home, and I feel great not having to commute to work every day.

Two sides of my apartment have verandas that run the full length and width of my space. On the side that houses my office and treatment room I have numerous beautiful plants and flowers growing and a large birdfeeder that attracts many of the locals.

I tend to get up around 6 a.m. on most weekday mornings. If it's not raining, my winged friends are already perched in the numerous tall shrubs nearby, chirping and alerting me to the fact that breakfast has yet to be served. It can get pretty darn noisy on the mornings I sleep in, as the sound seems to go up one decibel for each minute I'm late! They're very much like a nursery filled with small babies crying out for their mother's milk.

Most of the birds are brown and only about three or four inches in length. I have no idea what species they are, but indeed they are plentiful, especially now that my veranda has gotten to be so well known! An average breakfast crowd is about fifteen, and if I'm in a particularly good mood I sometimes serve them lunch as well.

The leader of the pack seems to be a mom, as she often carries food back to the baby birds that show up in early summer. She really makes it clear to me that birds do indeed care for each other.

Once I serve breakfast, mom flies over to the veranda railing and perches for a few seconds while calling out to the others. Perhaps she's telling them none of the neighborhood cats are around! Then she flies back to the shrubs and hops around while talking up a storm. I always imagine she's saying something like, "Be patient, breakfast will be ready in a moment! Just let me check and make sure everything is safe!"  This back and forth process takes place a few more times before she finally lands on the feeder and has a bit to eat. After snacking, she flies back to the shrubs and lets the others know everything's fine, and they all quickly descend on the feeder. When two youngsters squabble over the largest scrap of bread, mom pops over and sharply scolds the both of them before flying back to again stand watch. She only returns to have her fill once she's sure everyone's had their fair share, and most of them are back in the shrubs waiting for her to finish. Very much like me and my sister growing up in Brooklyn--both of us always wanting the heel of the Italian bread and my mom quite happy to settle for whatever was left.

It's deeply life affirming to witness the birds working as a team, to support and protect each other. I'm particularly touched by watching the mother care for her brood. It's reassuring to know that throughout the spectrum of animal life, moms care about their offspring, and realize it's important that everyone shares in the wealth.

My wish for today is that all humankind might realize the need to care for and nurture each other in a similar manner.

It's so important we emotionally comprehend the importance of sharing, and protecting the well-being of others, especially when we fear there might not be enough to go around!

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"Pure Heart, Simple Mind" is written and edited and Charlie Badenhop.  All rights reserved. If you would like to subscribe to the Seishindo newsletter please visit

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