Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What I Cannot Do....

It all started whilst watching my dog, Raja, play with her raven friend. Yep. She had a raven friend. Really. This raven lived in one of the big trees on the property where we lived. And when I say they were friends, I mean it. Whenever Raja was hanging out in the yard, especially when she was snoozin', Magick (that's what I called the raven) would fly down and land very close to her, squawking and fluttering his shiny black wings, making a ruckus large enough to wake her and send me to the nearest window to watch their antics. Each time this happened, I'd watch with awe as the two of them chased each other around. It was a delight to see these creatures play. Magick had an obvious affection for Raja. And she seemed to feel the same. Her tail would be a-waggin' and she'd have this grin on her face the whole time they played. A sight to behold. 

Anyway, on this particular day I happened to be sitting on the front porch, sipping some wine and watching the world go by. Raja was on the grass just below the porch steps, about to fall asleep. Her eyes were just barely open and her breathing was slow and even. We were both enjoying the sunshine and the smells that always follow a good rain. And then...

Magick came zipping down from out of nowhere, screeching to the high heavens, and landed not more than two feet from where she lay. Raja jumped up and the Big Chase began. Round and round they went, back and forth in front of where I sat. Each time Magick would land, she'd run toward him and at the very last moment, when Raja was maybe a foot away, he'd fly up and away. Raja would do her best to jump but she wasn't all that agile and her verticals weren't high enough to catch him. This went on for nearly half an hour. Raja was runnning out of steam and her dashing turned into a slow jog. Magick must have noticed because at the last touch down, he sat for a while longer, talking to her as she sat panted. Then, the moment she stood up again, he took off. She chased. When Magick reached the fence he flew up and over, leaving Raja to either jump or stop. She jumped. In fact, she jumped so high it looked to me like she was trying to fly. 

I was laughing so hard I nearly dropped my glass. And then I said, "You big silly dawg, you can't fly."

The moment the words came out of my mouth I was sorry I'd said them. She looked at me as if I'd really hurt her feelings. It was a sad, disappointed look as if to say, "How could you say such a thing? How do you know if I can fly or not?"

{Please don't talk to me about anthropomorphizing. Critters talk. You just have to listen.)

Well, that look gave me great pause. I got to thinking about that word "can't". She was right. How did I know if she could fly or not? I ran down to the fence and dropped to my knees, hugging her and apologizing for what I'd said. I promised her I'd never say it again. The whole incident got me to thinking even more about "can't".
Every year, around the beginning of December, I begin a process of reevaluation. I don't do 'New Year's Resolutions'; rather I prefer to have a look at my Life and see what I'd like to change. What would serve me best over the next year to enhance my Life, to reach new heights, to grow more of who I am? To this end, I take time to really look at my Self. It has proven to be a very valuable practice.

The incident with Raja and Magick had not left me. So that year, as I sat with pad and pen to begin my annual evaluation, I thought about what had happened. "Can't" was the topic of the day. What is it that I can't do? Why do I think I can't? How many things can I list that I know for certain I can't do?

The list started out pretty long. I didn't take time to really question anything on the list. I merely listed what I thought I could not do. After a few weeks, I sat with my list and, one at a time, gave each item my full attention. There were things like 'live forever', and 'cure cancer', and 'change the world'. And, of course, 'fly'.

As I sat with each item on my list, I began to see that almost every single thing was something I'd either not given my full efforts to or things I hadn't tried at all. How did I really know I couldn't do these things? How could I be sure that I could not if I'd never tried? Who was to say that I could not fly? Or change the world? Or live forever?

When I finally finished with my list, I'd crossed off all but one item. Because when it was all said and done, I really didn't know for sure that I could not do any of them. If I gave my full attention to any one of them there was every possibility that I could. The one thing I didn't cross off?

Sire a child. Not with the body I currently use to house my Soul. I am a woman. I can grow a child. But I cannot sire one. All the rest remains to be seen.

As for the flying thing?

I'm still workin' on it.

No comments: