The cage that held my heart was made of fear. I thought that it was a good thing. I thought that it would protect me from harsh words and pain. I thought that “they” built it, I forgot that I built it to be my mask, the mask that would make me acceptable, likeable and a good citizen.

The sun rose and the sun set and I measured my worth by how much I had been fed, how much food I had saved for tomorrow and how beautiful my clipped wings were today.
The sun rose and the sun set and I reasoned that I must be happy because I was safe, warm and breathing.

A dark and stormy night arrived and the lightning we were taught to fear shattered my world. The fire that swallowed my home and stole my beauty had left me till last. It ate into my cage and gave me the power of choice. I could choose to be devoured or I could choose to command my paralyzed body into the darkness of the unknown. I chose darkness.

My New World, beyond the ashes, taught me hard lessons and often I longed for the comfort of my cage. But the beauty of this greater world nurtured my hunger and soothed my tired wings that were still too clipped to fly.

The sun rose and the sun set and I measured my worth, neither by the lack of beauty of my retarded wings nor by the lack of food in my belly. I found my worth in the one thing the fire could not take, could not scorch. This was the gift of the fire; it found the part of me that was hidden behind a cage of illusion, it was there all along waiting to be remembered.

Just when the days of suffering and longing felt like a burden too great, a grand bird flew in (just as he agreed he would do in a time long forgotten). I learned to fly again. Now as the sun rises and the sun sets for the world below me, I choose whether it will rise and set for me. The horizon that once cruelly teased my clipped wings now bends to my will as I fly. My shadow still returns when I touch the ground, as this I have learned is the way of this world.
In the highest places, I have found a New World, a world where even the sun does not set, but where it burns from the heart of an eternal day. You may wonder what keeps a bird such as this, which knows the bliss of eternal day coming back to a world of shadows, and I’ll tell you. It is the music he hears. The sweet music of a million hearts still in cages calling for freedom.

As natural as it is for a bird to want to fly, so does your heart ache to be free to experience the greatness of who you really are.

COLLEEN JOY author artist apple tree teacher
little bird spiritual teachings

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