“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a story.” Maya Angelou
“When the wild ducks or the wild geese migrate in their season, a strange tide rises in the territories over which they sweep. As if magnetized by the great triangular flight, the barnyard fowl leap a foot or two into the air and try to fly. The call of the wild strikes them with the force of a harpoon and a vestige of savagery quickens their blood. All the ducks on the farm are transformed for an instant into migrant birds, and into those hard little heads, till now filled with humble images of pools and worms and barnyards, there swims a sense of continental expanse, of the breadth of seas and the salt taste of the ocean wind. The duck totters to right and left in its wire enclosure, gripped by a sudden passion to perform the impossible and a sudden love whose object is a mystery.
“Even so is man overwhelmed by a mysterious presentiment of truth, so that he discovers the vanity of his bookkeeping and the emptiness of his domestic felicities. But he
can never put a name to this sovereign truth. Men explain these brusque vocations by the need to escape or the lure of danger, as if we knew where the need to escape and the lure of danger
themselves came from. They talk about the call of duty, but what is it that makes the call of duty so pressing? What can you tell me, Sergeant, about that uneasiness that seeped in to
disturb your peaceful existence?
“The call that stirred you must torment all men. Whether we dub it sacrifice, or poetry, or adventure, it is always the same voice that calls. But domestic security as succeeded in crushing out that part in us that is capable of heeding the call. We scarcely quiver; we beat our wings once or twice and fall back into our barnyard.
“We are prudent people. We are afraid to let go of our petty reality in order to grasp at a great shadow. But you, Sergeant, did discover the sordidness of those shopkeepers’ bustlings, those petty pleasure, those petty needs. You felt that men did not live like this. And you agreed to heed the great call without bothering to try to understand it. The hour had come when you must moult, when you must rise into the sky.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars; 1967translation by Lewis Galantiere; Harcourt, Inc; Orlando, FL; pp212-213
Are your feathers ruffled?
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus as quoted by John (Ch.10: verse 10)
“I don’t understand myself at all, for what I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree the law is good. But I can’t help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.” the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans 7:15-17 (NLT)
My life is a tug-of-war, and I’m the rope.
What can you do to shift the odds to the winning side? Go ahead and list your bad luck. What feels like slavery to you? Are you struggling with any negative consequences of an out-of-control behavior? What’s missing in your life because of these compulsions? Name all the people and situations that keep you from living life to the fullest extent. Cartoon your carrot and stick.
What will you miss about giving up a particular behavior? What do you feel when you notice a compulsion to indulge?
What stands in the way of your journey? Is it circumstances? Or relationships? Any obligations? Do you want to begin, but feel overwhelmed by the pressures?
List as many ways you can think of to change your reactions. What are the triggers, and how can you avoid being shot down? What positive behaviors might you substitute? Be aware that this treats the symptom, not the disease, but awareness is the first step toward lasting change. It’s not about working on; it’s about letting go.