Several years ago, I was planning to get a massive owl tattoo on my shoulder. I’d talked myself into the meaning and significance of this bird and chosen an artist who came recommended by the server at the organic pie shop who had beautiful, vintage butterflies tattooed down her arm.
Then I had an awakening.
Not the kind that comes from a steady meditation practice or Ayahuasca journey. This awakening happened in the middle of Exposure Home, a basic, trendy home store on Commercial Drive in Vancouver.
I saw this cool owl book end in the style I was thinking of for this permanently on my body piece of art. Then I noticed some owl figurines. And an owl clock. And then…there was an owl on the $120 linen throw pillow.
Holy shit. I was about to turn my body into an episode of Portlandia and put a bird on it! Owls were freaking everywhere. Owls were on trend.
I didn’t have some mystical, witchy connection to owls. Their emerging presence in the shared spaces had worked their way into my psyche before I consciously noticed they’d been popping up. And then I believed that my desire to merge with and express this animal through permanent art came from deep within. And it did. But it had been planted there by what I was taking in from around me.
The culture and environment we’re nestled in is impacting and influencing us constantly. We also have the power to impact and influence our culture and environment.
One of the gifts that come from our global crisis, is a disruption of life-as-usual so massive that we have the opportunity to step back and question how we’ve been living, working and leading. What had we accepted as ‘the way things are’, that we were going along with or striving for?
What seemed important or necessary for you personally that’s now shifting, that may not even have been yours to begin with, but simply what you’d internalized from the systems and culture you’re steeped in?
If these times allow us to shine light on what we know to be true: how we live and work and distribute resources is not sustainable and doesn’t work for 99% of us, what’s the new world we want to build together?
What wants to come into form, from the future, needs space to become. New possibilities need old forms to crumble, in particular the static structures and power systems. As this happens, unpredictable futures emerge.
If I believed that my kinship with owls came from deep within and not from without, maybe your fears that you won’t be able to really bring your truest and deepest gifts to the world aren’t because you’re flawed or inadequate or lack discipline. Maybe our culture has convinced you that all that’s hard, soul-sucking and scarce is your fault. It’s not. You’re awesome. Let’s gather.
Maybe now is a good time to get ruthless about what kinds of messages you’re letting in, so that you’re training your unconscious to move toward connection, collaboration, possibility and claiming the gifts and leadership that only you can offer, that we all need right now.
I’m in a practice of simultaneously shedding and putting down what’s played out for me, while leaning into co-creative spaces with ideas, people and practices that are reinforcing what I deeply hope is possible.
Join me in a comments below about what you want to leave behind as you imagine what’s next!