April 15

You cannot prevent the birds
of sorrow from flying over your
head, but you can prevent
them from building nests
in your hair.

Chinese saying


Today's Meditation:

I've felt sorrow.  We all have.  It's as much a part of life as joy and doubt and wonder and disappointment.  And just like the other feelings and reactions and emotions that are sparked by things out of our control, sorrow is meant to be fleeting, something that strikes us, affects us, then moves on--just as the metaphor of the birds in this saying reminds us.  Problems occur in our lives when we invite those birds to stay, and when we offer them a home in our hearts and our spirits.

I've known people who invite the birds for a nice long stay.  These people keep not only themselves down, but also the other people in their lives.  When we ask the birds of sorrow to stay, you see, they take up all the room, and then there's no space for joy, no place for happiness to hang its hat and stay awhile, nowhere for hope and optimism to sleep when they want to spend some time with us.  By inviting those birds in, we necessarily reject many other guests that can be much more positive forces in our lives and in the lives of the people we touch.

Feel your sorrow.  Live your sorrow.  While it's with you, it's very real and it demands and deserves your attention.  But pay attention to it as something that won't be with you long, that will soon have flown off in a new direction, leaving you far, far behind.  There is absolutely no need to invite sorrow to stay, and doing so can only hurt, and is helpful in no way at all.  We only invite sorrow to stay when our desire to feel self-pity is stronger than our desire to live full and fulfilling lives, and that's not a good reason to decide to do anything in life, is it?

Questions to consider:

When do we tend to invite sorrow to stay more often?  What are the effects on our lives when we do so?

Why should we let sorrow pass us by like a bird that's flying by?

What other things would you like to have nesting in your hair other than sorrow?

For further thought:

Sorrow comes in great waves. . . but rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us, it leaves us.  And we know that if it is strong, we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes and we remain.

Henry James

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