The bird cage

bird flying from cage
Our psyches and bodies carry the wounds from our pain.
More than memory alone
it is buried in our our bones and tissue.
This embodiment forms a type of cage
that we imagine restricts where
and for how long
we can fly freely
Perhaps we fly back into the container
where our pain originated
because there is comfort and safety there 
sometimes even in the misery
Perhaps it is all we can remember
Maybe one day we wake up
and for some reason
our daily exodus beckons us
a tiny bit further
The force that keeps us
inside the bars weakens or perhaps we see
something beautiful
in those moments we are uncaged
the shine on our wings
the shock of the wind from our own movement
the stretching our bodies into some new shape
the shadows
below us
that are not us
With time maybe we push the invisible wall of possibility
further and further
And we find we return less and less
but instead explore the trees and bushes
dodging predators
munching on worms
taloned on a pine branch
Maybe one day we build a nest
We bring twigs and strings and moss
It’s not protected like the cage,
but it will do.
And then – funny 
we find ourselves flying into that old cage
for shorter periods of time.
And maybe  
Just maybe 
One day…
We just never go back
or if we do
it’s not longer “back”
Not that we don’t get that hankering sometimes to visit the old ‘hood’ 
But it becomes less about our comfort
And more of an achy spot in our hearts
Which surfaces from time to time
I suppose this is the way of healing our deepest pain
The blood dries and flakes off
in time
A scar is left
like a tattoo 
bearing witness to the significance of our life experience
to how much it mattered
to the sacrifices we made
to the ways it made us who we are
and when we see the art on our forearm
or our back or our chest 
we gaze on it with tenderness
we touch it, following the outline of the ink
and maybe we even find
a little humor in the color we chose
It is no longer 
“that” bird cage
which kept us confined for so long
but becomes 
a part of our whole story
the drama
that makes up the longevity
of our days
When the spiritual practice we claim
is about letting go
We can live
with an open-heartedness
that is both
the nest
the wind,
the comfort
and the pain
the gratitude and 
a grief
Fear becomes
the funny uncle
you laugh at on Thanksgiving
no longer held at bay 
but appreciated despite
the quirks
it no longer
holding you in captivity
you have molted
and are new
again and again
Every day
Every day you wake,
you are that bird
 bird over ocean
This entry was posted in happiness, prose and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The bird cage

  1. Jette Shears says:

    Shannon, this was so beautiful. Oh my, so much truth there. Thank you for putting a voice to some of the reality we live in. Still bummed we missed you last weekend. Hugs,

  2. Dawn M says:


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