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Birds of a feather

  • Posted on December 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I was very encouraged by the response to last week’s blog about the hope there is for finding what love really is all about, and finding that the foundations are in loving yourself rather than in what the other makes you. Maybe one day I shall find the same. Will positive thinking help? Someone on Facebook posted a link to a book by Barbara Ehrenreich, Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World, reviewed in the Guardian a couple of years ago, debunking the power of positive thinking. Does it make things better? Apparently not. And I shall be reminded, possibly chided, by my son who I was exhorting to think positively this week. I did. He doesn’t; but the outcome does look promising.

Personally, I don’t think the positive thinking does any more than I think prayer works, because what matters and makes a difference to me is the willingness to see opportunities to make progress in the direction you want. Positive thought, prayer, meditation are all ways of keeping your eyes open. I imagine it as being in dense jungle, having little sense of direction. You can give up; you may as well close your eyes or blunder about without a clue, going in circles. But if you keep alert, open, then every breath of wind that parts the leaves and reveals the direction of the sun, or the scent of water, or a warning of tigers, is just one little chance more of finding your way safely. You don’t make the difference, you are simply available to it. Right now I am trying to be available rather than closing my eyes. I have this idea, a reassuring idea, that somewhere, someone needs my love and wants to offer their own. Not in exchange, but because it will be the only thing we can do when we find it.

I am reminded to wait until I am ready – until the wind parts the leaves. Only two months ago I asked, for the last time: ‘Is this really the best we can do, after 32 years?’ It seems it was, and it felt very like negative thinking. The power of negative thinking is in closing your eyes, in not seeing possibilities.

Like Birds

And so it is that I came to reflect how so many of my girl friends at the moment are all emerging from lost partnerships, broken romances, or struggling with love/not-love and feeling like – well, like birds with broken wings. And we gather in mutual comfort, have our bit of fun, a night out, or a cry together, and reassure each other. And I sort of know that when any of us finds that love again we may fly off, with the joy we had when last we were loved and wanted.

It isn’t a negative existence though; we joke about the disastrous judgements we have all made, how we misunderstood and were misunderstood, and how dreadfully hard it is to find the ‘right’ partner. The trouble is, the more we establish the selves we settle into, the harder it is to imagine another fitting neatly in the way we need. Remember those compromises when we were teenagers or in our twenties? Yes, we would give up this or that, do something we might not otherwise, all in the cause of securing love, stability, coupledom. How much did we hide, and lose of ourselves, to be safe? Yes, we all did.

Perhaps we will learn that being single birds keeps us together in ways that are just as rewarding. But we all reflect that the comfort of partnership, of knowing there is always one who will love, support and look after you, remains a big gap. I love my broken-winged birds-of-a-feather, I really do. And girls’ nights out are something I have missed out on all my life until now, and it reminds me of how lonely I used to be sometimes, even before I lost my best friend and lifelong partner. So yes, I am thinking positively. Not because it will mend my wing, but so I can keep catching the hints of which direction to head in, and while I do, I have some lovely friends to stay chirpy with. And either my wing will mend, or I shall just have strong legs.

I have been fiddling with a poem on this too. I expect it will get better, but for now it’s like this: Like birds.

Like birds

  • Posted on December 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm

We gather, in twos and threes.
In twos.
Like birds with broken wings.
In ones.
Quiet in discomfort, lost
to sky.
Thoughts are clouds, reason not
to see.

or intermittent twitter-chat.
of brighter hopes—one day …
One day
‘when my wing is mended’
released, as new shall fly.

We shall fly, alone, in twos.
from hurts. On skyroads, unbound—
not too
hurt to conquer cloud hills. Imagine
the one
with wings gathering, lifting us

But now
feathered in lost loves, flocked
in one
shared understanding. Like birds
in twos
shuffling for a sunrise, twittering
in trees
gathered. With broken wings.

2012 © Andie Davidson

Back-story to this: Birds of a feather