Have you ever felt a bit… flat? Not disastrously so, like terrible things are happening. More like tiny things are happening and you feel fine, but not fully alive. Not inspired. Not excited.
That was me about 6 weeks ago. Everything was okay, yet my days were somewhat forgettable.
Then a barred owl changed everything.
I was walking my dog at dusk and heard the owl hooting in the opposite direction from where I was going. I kept trying to stay on the efficient path – this was my dog’s favorite direction and where, erm, there were predictable results in terms of “output.”
Yet with each step away from the sound, I felt an irresistible, almost unstoppable, call to turn around. Finally switching directions, we walked quickly toward the persistent creature. I spotted it in an oak tree just a few yards away from me, its body bigger than my small dog. Instead of flying off, it looked right at me and loudly hooted, its whole body pumping with the effort of its vocalizations.
I had the strangest sensation of leaving my world and entering its world. All sense of time disappeared as we locked eyes. Outside noises disappeared, my self-focused thoughts evaporated, and it was just this yellow-beaked messenger and I in wordless, wonder-filled conversation.
Eventually the spell broke and I left, almost dazed from the encounter.
Around midnight, I heard it again. This time, it brought a group of owls with it. The noises they made outside my tidy little window weren’t the hoot-talk of earlier, but a surreal, almost uncontrollable caterwauling. It felt like a powerful, primitive ritual was happening. They were unrestrained. Fierce. I lay there wide awake, transported, enchanted, even a little scared as I thought of my beloved squirrels who nest in that tree.
I woke up the next morning zinging with energy. It felt like someone had connected an electric cord to me. Just like Scrooge the morning after his encounters with the three ghosts, I felt light and gleeful.
I think as humans we tend to get stuck in our familiar world. In order to escape, we think we need that vacation to Cancun. Or the fancy new car. Or the big adventure. We think that’s what will jumpstart our creative juices and bring us back to life.
However, it’s much simpler than that.
All we really need is to escape our own habitual thinking, if even for a few moments. To slow our inner chatter and let curiosity lead us to the other worlds right under our noses. As John O’Donahue says, “What happened to our wildness? We covered it over and got lost in our minds.” Thankfully the owls shook me out of my trance and opened a window, reconnecting me with something much bigger and wilder.
“The space in-between is where whispers speak and silence sings and mystery threads its way along your edges, whispering: hold on, breathe, pause, and be.” – Molly Remer
That sense of inner wildness, passion and possibility has stayed with me ever since. And while I’ve always been a nature lover, every day I seem to peel away more conventional layers and release into a vaster, more enlivening mystery. My creativity is looser and more expansive as I let go of the reins and let awe take me away…
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences — please go to the bottom of this page to comment…
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Thank you for sharing this. I had a similar experience taking the trash out one night and becoming mesmerized by a beautiful moon.
Yes, isn’t it something to be caught by the wonder of nature?!
Thanks so much for this lovely reminder. It came at a great time.
So glad to hear it Peggy!
Maria Gatling says
I love that owl story…could you send him and his friends on over to my backyard?
I totally get how you felt, as I’m pretty sure we have all felt something similar. I do feel like I am just slowly coming back out of that funk, though. Always great to hear your voice coming through your words on your post. Hugs Carolyn!
So glad you are “coming back” as well my creative friend…
Susan Corbin says
That was lovely, Carolyn! Thanks for sharing. I’m glad you got your zing back.
Thanks Susan. I love how when I become mindful of needing a shift, the universe provides it!