Archive for October, 2012

What a Wild, Addled Bird Says About You and Me

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2012 by michaelcogdill

He slammed the rear window of our dining room.

As much as hear it, I felt it. The thud — hard and deep — felt like a potato slung at the glass by Cy Young.

It was a finch — gray as clouds on top, banana yellow on his belly, so small he could hide in a 5th grader’s palm. On his back, eyes and feet in a death clench, he lay on our patio, the wind and the sense knocked so far out of him the morning light was like midnight.

I thought him dead for a moment. But, no, there it was. Just a hint of breath. I massaged his belly with a fingertip for a short spell. Just until his eyes opened, glassed and vacant and addled.

Then, I left him. Just let him be, there to gather himself, to survive.  To catch the breath jarred so far out of him.

It took more than an hour, but he did catch it. What had looked like a balled up dead bird that would fit into a tea cup finally flew off into the wild.

And we all do.

Each of us flies, more than once, into the hard glass of what looks like a clear way. We get the hell knocked out of us, most times with a high velocity of our making. We fall, hard. Addled.

But then, anew, more than surviving, off we go, bruised, flawed, but on we carry. On we fly.

Another clear breath finds us, we take it, get up and go. The broken, the jarred, the flat-of-the-back — this is all of us.  With some good fortune, we take the touch of a soul who means us well.  Even in times when we seem alone, we are not.

Like a fragile little bird, we’re tougher than we seem, wilder than we appear. We’re fluttering human specks in the wild, invisible from the clouds, knocked at times onto our tail feathers, but loved.  We’re loved by one another and beyond the stars.

A human touch can cushion the thud, but a greater force gets us up from the fall.  To over-nurture is to fail to love.  To over-rely is to fail to live.  We flock together, yet can never make one another soar.   So it is with this wilderness life.

So it is, with broken little birds, and with you and me! It’s good, isn’t it — this life?  Hard falls, good flight, and all, it is truly good.

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Self to Self: You Have No Right, Saying That To Me!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2012 by michaelcogdill

After the suicide of a friend of mine several months ago, a mutual friend and blogger wrote a brilliant piece, warning the world against a self-lacerating inner voice.

On that very relevant topic, this quote below comes from another writer, who goes only by Ally online.  She writes for Yogis Anonymous:

“There is no escape from your inner voice. It’s impact upon your life and your outlook is greater than anything else you’ll encounter. Your body is your home, and your inner voice is your constant companion, or your loudest critic.”

She writes here of mentally healthy people, and in her words we find a calling. How you treat yourself matters. It’s relevant, how you think to yourself about yourself.

I believe a self-lacerating tongue is largely why so many crawl into a bottle or some other dead-end, familiar despair.

In my business, we report on many lives coming apart, and I believe it happens often because they can’t get out of their own way.  Doubtless, living within many of the people who make the worst kind of news, there’s long been a loud critic with a sharp tongue, yelling or whispering they’re unworthy of all love and goodness, God’s and otherwise.

It’s a lie, and they believe it.

How you think to yourself eventually comes out. It emerges in how you talk to others, see others, treat those you love, those who might otherwise grow to love you.  How you think to yourself matters!  It becomes you.

As the writer, Ally, reminds us, there’s a scared kid walking around in everybody. The most put together, confident, successful of us have this kid within. The kid wants joy, fun, meaning, goodness, protection, daring, love. Give these.  Give generously.

Yes, gift these to your inner child, expecting much joy in return.  Don’t let your inner clatter put that kid down. 

And if there’s some easy-to-recognize pro-wrestler Yeti voice — or even a whispering, nattering little nanny-critic —  in your mind’s house, write an eviction notice.  Throw that self-talk  the #$%^ out!!

Impossible?  You say there’s no escape?  I say otherwise.

Charles Duhigg, in a great book, The Power of Habit, Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, writes of our ability to change what we do, how we think.   His fine book drills into the science of this, and the science is good.   It reveals that habit formation is seeded by inner thought, of the kind that becomes outward action. What we think to ourselves is a breakable habit.  Breaking it will show not just in the inner words we say to ourselves.  It’s bound to show in what we do.  To read Duhigg is to live in the science.

But here, let’s think of it as art.  Your self thought is a document, a work of literature, and you read off it to yourself, moment by moment.    Don’t like what it says?  Compose anew.  Change it.  Erase!!  It’s yours to write.  Re-write what you think of yourself, to yourself. 

In doing so, your habit will change.  You will speak well to, and of, the child in there, waiting, all ears.