Things happen. Sometimes we say it’s for a reason, sometimes we say it is serendipity, sometimes we say it’s a message from on high. I have my own thoughts about this. Regardless of what you or I might think about this, it happened.
I was sitting at a meeting, somewhat distracted and I happened to look outside. The building is a “rancho”, a roofed structure supported by poles and basically open on the sides. There’s an incredible view of the jungle from here and, although hidden by the trees, the ocean is less than a kilometer away. There are always birds, butterflies and monkeys in the area and often iguanas racing across the roof of the building, scratching the tin as they go. Dogs and roosters often wander by and into the building.
As I said, I was distracted, not paying attention to whatever was going on in the meeting when I saw a vulture land upon the dead branch of a tree less than 50 meters away. Not an uncommon sight here. Vultures are always gliding around, soaring on the winds sniffing out their next meal, and sometimes stopping and resting, often in the same tree.
This time, something different happened to the vulture. A few seconds after he lit upon it, the branch broke! As I said it was a dead branch. Its bark had fallen away and the termites or ants must have weakened it to the point of barely supporting its own weight. The remaining structure couldn’t support the creature’s added weight.
Branch and vulture began their fall. Then with a flurry of black feathers and flap of wings, the vulture took flight and let go of the branch. It fell to the jungle floor and the vulture flew off to soar again and find another place to rest and await its next meal.
There really is nothing overly significant to what I witnessed. A bird landed on a branch, it broke, the bird let go and flew off. Probably not the first time it happened either. What struck me as significant is that the bird let go. I was reminded of the many times I held onto thoughts, ideas, principles and opinions long after they were viable, believable or tenable. I hung onto the branch and let it pull me down. Had I let go of it, I too could have flown off to find other branches to rest upon. How often do I hang onto friendships, jobs, beliefs or habits that are holding me back, pulling me down and preventing me from reaching my potential? Why do I cling to a relationship that is decaying and that is weighing me and pulling me down? Yes, perhaps at one time, these thoughts, ideas, dogmas had vibrancy and life, but no longer. I must learn to recognize that it is over. I may have sat on that same branch many times and it held my weight. But no longer, that branch is going down and will take me with it if I don’t let go. Let go. Surrender. Trust. All these are part of my process of change in recovery.
I’m no different than most, I don’t really like to change. I’d prefer to hang onto what I know and what I think works. But the truth here is that things come to an end I must let go lest I lose myself in the process. Vultures are regarded in many cultures as sacred emissaries to the gods: gold and jade amulets are often found with their images. My Higher Power speaks to me in many manners, and it usually isn’t a burning bush or being struck down off my ass by a bolt of lightning. What I need to learn is set before me to take in, or not. This may have been nothing more than some footage for Animal Planet for some, or perhaps a hint to go on a diet. For me, it was a lesson taught by the humble vulture and it has made a significant impact on my thoughts.
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