Last Sunday, a female pheasant flew into our yard and began eating the seeds on the ground, fallen there from the bird feeders we have hanging in a tree. We noticed her limping and detected an injured foot, though her wings were intact and she flew just fine. She has since stayed.
We see her every morning, as she comes out from wherever she spends the cold nights to eat her fill. There is plenty of seed on the ground, a thick carpet, tossed there by the smaller birds as they perch and peck at the feeders. The larger birds take advantage of this arrangement. Everyone is happy.
Carlos Castaneda once moved a small snail from a sidewalk and put it into the bushes on the opposite side, fearing that the snail would be crushed by someone inadvertently stepping on it, but he learned something new from his teacher that day. Here is what he wrote about the incident in The Second Ring of Power:
“Don Juan pointed out that my assumption was a careless one, because I had not taken into consideration two important possibilities. One was that the snail might have been escaping a sure death by poison under the leaves of the vine, and the other possibility was that the snail had enough personal power to cross the sidewalk. By interfering I had not saved the snail but only made it lose whatever it had so painfully gained.”
And so, taking such insight into consideration, we have chosen not to interfere with the pheasant. We have learned that it is better to let nature take its course unimpeded by human intervention. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but we have also learned that no matter what we do to help someone or something, in the end we really have little impact. We know that everyone will do what they want and what they are ready for, no matter how ardent, concerned, and loving our help or suggestions might be. We have experienced this often enough both personally and professionally. When people are ready, they will take the journey that is right for them to take.
So we watch the little pheasant with fascination, for her intrepid spirit, marveling that she found her way to our yard, and of course, wondering what it might mean for us personally. How could we not?
She offers us pause to consider other times when we have been put in similar positions, when the unexpected arrives on our doorstep, unbidden. Life is full of surprises. We get news of something, we get asked to do something, we get offered something. We must make conscious decisions.
Sometimes decisions come spontaneously, and whether they are right or wrong we act instinctively. At other times a decision does not come so quickly and we must ponder why. We must ask: What is the right decision to make and why is it right? Who will benefit or not, and to what end?
We are loving and compassionate people, but we also know that everyone has a journey to take, and that each person’s journey is unique and special. We know that each person must learn to make choices and decisions for themselves, that they will learn about life in both their successes and failures. Sometimes it is right to help; sometimes it is best to step out of the way. The decision to help and the decision to step out of the way are each difficult to make. Based on each circumstance, what we elect to do for another may propel them forward or keep them stuck. We want everyone to access the limitless resources within themselves and often the best way to do that is to step out of the way.
And so we watch our little pheasant with sheer pleasure. How resourceful she is! The cats that roam the neighborhood are no match for her. She is alert and quick. She flies up into the trees when danger approaches, fully capable of taking care of herself. She takes advantage of the sunny spots during the day. We see her sitting up against the warm brick front of the house, safely tucked behind the wall of snow that has formed over the past week by the gusty winds. She is, after all, a creature of nature and is instinctively drawn to the healing power of the sun.
She must be getting enough food. And although we give her nothing more than we give to the other birds we do send her our energetic intent. We send her our full energetic support as she takes her own journey. The outcome is up to her. We do not judge her choices; after all, she landed on our doorstep, and so we thank her for coming into our life, offering us the opportunity to observe her and to search for meaning in her visitation.
Synchronistically, and so not surprisingly, we find that we have been offered many opportunities over the past week to make some meaningful decisions. Is it time to help, or time to step out of the way?
Sometimes helping another living being means standing back and letting them take the next leg of their journey on their own. This might be the hardest choice we ever make. But we can send them off with loving energetic encouragement and good wishes that they make mature and reasonable decisions that will lead them beyond mere survival to new stages of evolution.
At some point we all have to choose a path, and so we fully support everyone’s search for meaning and for their own path of heart. Sometimes it’s enough to say: “Go ahead, you can do it! You’re on your own now! Good luck! Life is waiting to receive you!”
Letting nature takes its course without interference, but with compassionate detachment,