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 A little bird told me

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dkchristi
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PostSubject: A little bird told me   Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:45 pm

If you were at Unity last week, you will recall my little bird who was building a nest in the plumeria outside my office window.

I was fascinated by his persistence.  The tree is totally inhospitable for nest building with thick limbs far apart that look like dead sticks once the tropical wide leaves and thick, golden blooms drop to the ground. But the bird continued unbeaten, dropping like a bomb to pick up the sticks that consistently fell and flying back with them in his mouth to start again and again, like a flying elevator. I wanted to help.


Not one to miss a lesson from nature, I was impressed by his persistence in the face of insurmountable odds.  It was a lesson in never giving up in spite of major challenges.


I glanced out the window over the week to catch a glimpse of my industrious birds, looking forward to watching them in the future as they moved in and started a family.  They no longer occupied the tree.  At last, with concern, I went outside to look at their engineering marvel close up.

All I saw was a helter skelter collection of odd-size twigs that balanced precariously, the remains of any that might have resembled nest-building at some point.  It was obvious that the potential new home for Mr. and Mrs. Bird and their young was abandoned along with my lesson in perseverance.


I pondered my birds as I walked on the path at the beach, another grand experience with nature that seems to open the mind to new possibilities.  At some point, the words of the Serenity Prayer, adopted by many twelve step groups, came to mind.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Well, well, my birds did provide a life lesson from nature after all.  Even they reached a point where their courage to change the things they could (build that nest in the worst of circumstances) was not sufficient to overcome the impossible situation.

They had the instinct to know the difference, and they moved on.
Lesson from nature?  Remembering to call on “the wisdom to know the difference” gives us permission to leave the impossible behind and move on to new challenges without guilt.  "A little bird told me."
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Betty Fasig
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:35 pm

Diane, What a lovely story!  You should write it and invent the names for the little birds and their quest for building a nest.  I think that such small instances are the fuel for a story.  You are a lovely writer.  Put it down on paper.  Just blurt it out. Invent the details.
Love,
Betty
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:54 pm

Betty, you are the animal story writer.  Mine was just a true story that touched my thoughts at the time.  I would be honored for you to write the story and add it to your collection, like your lovely story of Sport.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:22 pm

DK.  There is a message in that story.  Knowing when to quit and move on is important, yet dismissed by many due to the numerous cliches about persistence.  Some writers eventually come to the realization that success/acclaim or making a living from writing isn't going to happen. 
Doing what we enjoy is what we want.  Doing what is necessary to survive is what we must.
Adaptation is necessary in many phases of our lives.  Whether it be to a mate or a career, adaptation is key to survival.  Opportunities abound.  Too often we are so focused on one path that we can't see opportunity when it is staring us in the face.  I believe that the experience we gain in any field is part of the building blocks that provide us with greater capability to face the future.
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Victor D. Lopez
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:22 am

What Abe said.

While perseverance is a virtue, what I call "mindless tenacity" is a vice (and a form of mental illness for those afflicted by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). At some point we have to recognize that a task/career choice/potential partner/dream are simply unobtainable. (The same holds for political ideology at the fringes. Communists will never learn the intrinsic flaw in their philosophy no matter how many countries are ruined and enslaved by it, and neither will fascists who are essentially the same political animal as communists.)

Sisyphus was condemned by Zeus to push a giant boulder up a steep slope only to have it slide down just before reaching the summit for all eternity as punishment for his deceitfulness. The rest of us have the blissful ability to walk away from the damned rock when it becomes clear that reaching the summit with it is an impossible task. A reasonable person does not give up the task too early after only one or two attempts of almost reaching the summit, or carry on with it with mindless tenacity for an endless number of iterations. Wisdom, as with so many things, lies in finding a happy balance. Regardless of talent, the actor who changes careers after one rejection is as big a fool as the server who still auditions regularly for parts after forty years of rejections expecting to be discovered. Giving up too early and not knowing when to give up are the low and high roads that lead to perdition.


Last edited by Victor D. Lopez on Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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alice
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:53 am

Truth, Victor, and great point.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:05 am

Victor, I admire your ability to explain things concisely.  That ability must serve you well in your profession where clarity is important.
Is there some parallel with math in how people do things?  Perhaps they think that two minuses equal a plus.  Doing something wrong repeatedly doesn't make it turn out right.  
In my days of teaching positive thinking along with attitude and goal-setting, I used various analogies to make a point.  Persistence was a big part of the program, but as you stated, mindless tenacity is not going to make it happen.  What I still believe is that what we hold in our minds, positive or negative, tends to draw us in that direction. 
Napoleon Hill said:  "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."  Having a goal and concentrating on that goal tends to draw us to it.  We recognize the power of the mind that can heal or destroy.  Knowing what we want is perhaps the biggest hurdle.  Because people want so many things and can't settle on achieving one thing at a time, they go around in circles wasting energy and achieving little or nothing. 
Success principles are principles one can use in everyday life.  We live in a society where people want everything fast and that is not just with fast foods.  They want immediate success.  There are steps required in each field of endeavour just as is with obtaining a degree.   One does not go from a Bachelor's degree to a Doctorate overnight.  There is a price to pay for everything worthwhile in life.  The price varies:  It can be patience, determination, adaptation, perseverance, further education, etc.  Not being willing to pay the price is cause for failure.  
Sorry for rambling, but your post sparked these thoughts.
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Victor D. Lopez
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:06 pm

Thank you Abe. I can ramble on as often as not. But I appreciate the kind words. And, unlike me, you do not ramble on above or ever that I can remember. Rather, you make a great deal of sense, as usual.

Our best intentions often lead us astray. DK notes that she wanted to help the struggling bird and I know I would have felt exactly the same way had I seen its struggle. It is the humane reaction. But the writer in me can't help but imagine the consequences if she could have somehow helped the little bird make a better nest despite its poor choice of a nest site and building materials. The nest would have been built, a mate attracted and fertilized eggs produced. What is the likely outcome of a storm on the nest and the expecting parents or fledgling nestlings?

Left to its own devices, the bird corrected its obvious error and moved on to build a nest in a more suitable location, the wiser for having tried and failed and able to pass on its avian common sense to its progeny. In an ideal world, all the non-nesting birds would have pitched in and helped build a strong nest that could withstand the elements despite the bird's poor choice of a suitable location, and humane souls could stand vigil on windy nights, shielding the nest from the ravages of wind and rain in solidarity with the "it takes a village to build (and protect) a nest" ethos. In such a kinder, gentler world, birds could thrive even if they lacked the skill to build solid nests on their own or the sense not to build them on rickety trees with bare branches, as could their equally clueless issue in future generations.

Fortunately, since we don't live in an ideal world, nature is more practical and natural creatures far more reasonable than us gifted humans. It rewards industrious effort and good judgment and has little tolerance for failure. Of course, if bird brains ever evolve to provide higher intelligence, complex societies and safety nets, all of that might change. But that's the subject for another book not in the realm of fiction but in that of the social sciences.


Last edited by Victor D. Lopez on Fri Jun 05, 2015 7:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:08 am

Sometimes, I wonder if we put our higher intelligence to good use, Victor.

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Victor D. Lopez
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Fri Jun 05, 2015 7:50 am

Me too, sister Shelagh!
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:07 am

Wow!  I am so glad I shared the bird story. Now, Betty has even more information to write a tale about the little, gray cat bird and its ill-fated nest.  The philosophers have often said we have much to learn from nature.  We do, indeed.  Victor summed that up a bit.

However, I also feel we have a higher intelligence for just the support Victor outlined in helping the bird remain in the poorly suited plumeria.  The trick, once again, is knowing the difference between what is legitimately in need of assistance and what needs to fend for itself or move on.  Therein lies the rest of the story, a story with difficult decisions without certainty.

Abe used one of my favorite quotes.  However, we remember the times we held an idea until it reached fruition and we tell those tales to support our positive intention premise.  We let fall to the side those events for which we prayed our little hearts out that ended in disappointment.

Ann was such a writer of optimistic perspectives.  I used to like to discuss those ideas with her.  My cousin of about 74 years had cancer for the second time after being diagnosed clear.  The second time was ravaging and she chose Hospice as opposed to the misery of the proposed round of chemo again for a body already suffering the first round's side effects.  I know the family and friends - and they are believers in positive prayer and pulling the positive energy together.  I know they all prayed for my cousin and tried to positive the cancer away.  According to the words used in my church, she transitioned yesterday.  All the positives did not stop the disease from its course that chemo may not have stopped either.

Yet, in the video of The Secret, they include medical miracles as the result of positive energy denying the disease.  Yes, but maybe the miracle was set even without those praying for one.  While the mind is a positive force in healing or even creating illness, it is not the end all and be all for all things.  There's more to it than "The Secret."  These things are worthy of their own philosophical discussion group to toss around the ideas without judging the believers and non-believers but with an attempt to grasp the essence of positive living without overlooking other realities.
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Victor D. Lopez
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:38 pm

Well said, DK, as always.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:38 pm

DK. I enjoy discussions like this.  There is much we don't know that stimulates our imagination.  The energy associated with the power of the mind is still much of a mystery.  We hear/read of people being healed by prayer/energy power.  Is that prayer God-related or energy related?  (In my mind, it is the same thing) There are some preachers who like to take credit for healings as though they have some special power.  I'm reminded of something I read in the Bible where it says:  "Your faith has made you whole."  It could be interpreted that it is the individual that heals themselves through faith (believing).  Sometime it takes an outside force (perhaps a preacher) to instill faith in the person.  Many who claim to have faith still retain a seed of doubt and it is that small doubt, IMV, that is the cause for failure.  We are told that having faith, the size of a mustard seed, can remove mountains.  It is easy to say, “I believe” or “I have faith”, however if we are honest, there remains a bit of doubt. 
I enjoy talking with like-minded people.  My daughter is one person that I enjoy talking with.  We share books and when we meet we have discussions about them.  If other people join in the conversation that are not privy to our insights, the conversation dies.  The objections they pose are full of doubt.  In their mind, something that cannot be proved doesn’t exist.  To counter the doubters destroys the free-thinking process.  Having to justify everything one says is tiresome as well as disruptive.  I have learned much from posts on this forum.  It may be a word or a sentence that clicks with me and either confirms something or stimulates further thought.  I’m of the opinion that nothing is impossible.  Having said that, I admit that until it is proven, doubt will remain.  I recall in my youth where a common statement when expressing doubt was:  “That’s like going to the moon.”  When we went to the moon, that statement died. 
Searching for truth or answers to questions is a continuing quest on my part.  I am encouraged by those who are also on a similar path or quest.  The things that are known are recorded.  The unknown is what fascinates me.  The power of the mind is something recognized by many, however the ability to tap into that power remains a mystery.  There are those who are more advanced than others in using that power. 
In summary, I believe that we possess the power/ability to do whatever we sincerely want to do.  Believing in ourselves is an easy thing to say.  Acting on that belief without doubt is the problem
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Betty Fasig
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Sat Jun 06, 2015 5:25 pm

Dear Abe, I think that you have a lovely grip on the reality we see and the hope that we hope.  To me,. you are a kind and giving person who connects to other people.  I find you to be one lovely and magical human being.  I think you are too serious..like me.  Joy is the word for us.  We need joy.  It comes to me in the natural things of life, the animals the plants, the weather, the love of one person for another....You know what I mean.  Love, Betty
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: A little bird told me   Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:51 pm

Betty, you made my day.  I only wish I could live up to your impressions of me.  Having a grip on reality is something we strive for, but that grip seems elusive.  I think you have such a grip and have the wisdom to use it in your daily life.  You seem to be in tune with nature and in my view, you have a special connection to the universe within us.
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