One sunny spring afternoon, when the blossom was falling from our cherry tree like pink snow, I heard a tiny chirping sound. As I stood under the tree and peered up into the branches, to my amazement I came face to face with a tiny little zebra finch. The zebra finch seemed quite relaxed despite the fact I was within touching distance of it and it continued to chirp happily.
After enjoying it's delightful presence, I slowly stepped away and immediately looked it up on google.
When I came to the realisation that the Australian zebra finch had likely escaped from an aviary, I began to feel very anxious for it. I wondered how long it could survive in the wild before perishing. I discovered that zebra finches are sociable and like to be around other zebra finches. The thought of this little bird being all alone for the rest of its short life made me feel even more anxious and I felt a burden of responsibility to somehow return it to it's owner.
As I began to stress about how I might safely capture it, the finch flew away and the problem was no longer mine.
As I watched the bird dart across the cloudless blue sky, I realised that it had never experienced such freedom of flight until its escape. It had never seen a horizon or felt the air rushing through its wings. Until now, it had never truly experienced what it was like to be a bird! I began to feel happy for the zebra finch and it got me thinking...
would I trade off a guaranteed long life in captivity with all my basic survival needs met...for the experience of freedom, even if it was only short lived?
My heart began to swell with a feeling of immense compassion. I realised that in many ways I was a free spirit living a life of captivity.
There are many things we need to free ourselves from in order to live a more authentic life, some of which we are consciously aware of, some we are not and most of which come with a price.
Perhaps we seek freedom from a job but we may have to give up financial security for a while, or perhaps we seek freedom from our own inner critic but we may have to lose our mind for a while! If we have lived with these things for a long time, we may not even recognise that they are keeping us in a form of captivity. Even though they are restricting, they feel safe and familiar to us. Equally we may free ourselves from one aspect but be held captive by another. For example one may be free to act but one may not be free of the voice of self doubt.
I don't know what true freedom is, or its price....how could I? I'm still caught in my own form of captivity. I believe 'modern life' has that effect on all of us. What I do know is that a very deep part of me longs for true freedom and I trust that if I have the courage to follow my calling, I will fly free from the many hidden cages and find out.
Let's fly out together and experience what it truly means to be authentic humans on this wondrous planet.