Lessons in a Life: Refuse Or Choose?

“Our only sin is to say no to evolution.”-Obadiah Harris, Ph.D.

Signs of change are so clear now... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Signs of change are so clear now…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

In the Tao all things are equal, all things have value, all things are necessary, and evolution is par for the course. Of course we will evolve, it’s natural. We see evolution in nature all the time. We see it now in the drastic changes that global warming has imposed upon us, that we have imposed upon ourselves. Even those individuals who refuse to change, who steadfastly hunker down and won’t budge an inch, are being forced to change because nature is always taking its natural course. In the process, change is being imposed upon us all.

Many people simply fear change, the great unknown frightening. There is the specter of death in change, and truly there must be sacrifice for evolution to occur.

The other day our backyard was bustling with activity. I could hear the sharp calls of several hawks piercing the quiet morning. KEE! KEE! I could hear a rush of wings. Going to the deck I saw what was happening. A pair of hawks was attempting to push their babies out of the nest. I had seen the hawks earlier in the summer and knew they were nesting in the tall trees in our yard. I’d heard them often enough, seen them circling above the yard, even occasionally swooping down upon our songbird neighbors.

The amount of noise and activity was astounding as the parents attempted to get the babies to move on! They had raised them so diligently, with care and protection, but today was the day. All that was over. It was time to move on!

There was an awful lot of shrieking going on! The babies seemed to be saying, NO! I watched as the large adults swooped in upon their smaller offspring, moving them along from one branch to another, pushing and shoving them away from the nest. Once out, they were not going to be allowed back in! It looked almost violent at times, but I realized how necessary it was.

If the babies didn’t go, the parents would be forced to leave them behind. It was time, and the idea of turning back was not part of the plan. The plan was set. It was a day of sacrifice.

The mother, especially, was faced with having to sacrifice, for whether her babies left or not it was in her nature to leave them behind. She could only hope that her babies would take the leap and fly off too. Finally, there seemed to be only one last recalcitrant child. The screaming intensified. Calls were coming from many different areas in the yard, both parents calling and calling, the other babies calling too. All seemed to be saying: Come on, you can do it! It’s time to go! Hurry, not much time left!

Sometimes it's just time to cross that bridge! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Sometimes it’s just time to cross that bridge!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

They gave it their all, but in the end, had it been necessary, they would have left without their child, sacrifice made, nature’s call to evolve too powerfully ingrained to refuse.

We humans are constantly called to leave the nest too, to move on into new life. A relationship ends, we lose our job, someone close to us dies, illness comes, we are forced to change by outside circumstances, or by inner decisions we make. It doesn’t really matter how change approaches us, the main thing is to recognize that it has arrived and that our moment of sacrifice is upon us.

We, however, have come far from our natural instincts. We don’t seem to have that powerfully ingrained stamp of nature in us anymore. Now we tend to make excuses for ourselves, choosing to pamper and baby ourselves when the truth is that our own time of sacrifice is trying like heck to get our attention, trying to reconnect us with the nature lying dormant inside us. And that nature knows how to act appropriately, for it is truly the Tao, just as the hawks in our backyard are.

Just as the hawks signaled to their young that “today is the day we are leaving the nest,” so does life tell us the same. Many times during our lives the calls come. If we don’t answer the call we won’t evolve. Our lives will stagnate and we will set ourselves up to become prey for other energies, entities seeking to live off our refusal. And then, as Obadiah Harris stated in the introduction to Elmer Green’s The Ozawkie Book of the Dead, we have sinned. We have decided not to respond to the call of the Soul of the Earth itself, telling us that we must evolve so she can evolve as well.

The hawks know they must evolve. Nature does not question that. Nature sacrifices and, without looking back, moves on. I could hear the franticness in the calls of the hawk parents. They did not want to leave their baby behind, but they would have. Nature is that direct.

The hawks finally gave their baby one last chance. I watched as one of them, perhaps the mother, rushed the baby who was sitting on a low branch. She crashed into it and knocked it off its perch. It worked! I watched as they both flew up and away. After that, the calls of KEE! KEE! echoed overhead more joyfully, until the whole family flew off, never to return. Mission accomplished!

Like the baby hawks we are all afraid of change too, but change is not afraid of us. It comes knocking at our door every day. We, unlike the hawks, have the power of choice and we can fend for ourselves once our parents are gone. Perhaps we choose to say no, to hunker down. And yet such a choice, more often than not, leaves us sitting alone in our nest, wallowing in the scent of past memories, thinking we are saving ourselves from the pain of change but in the meantime all we do is wallow in our pain. Our only saving grace may be that eventually we get bored with ourselves and our circumstances and opt out of the smelly nest and onto fresher air and wider skies.

Everything flows along nicely in the Tao... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Everything flows along nicely in the Tao…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Perhaps it is our lack of true connection to nature that keeps us wallowing. If we were really connected and in alignment, living in the sacred world of the Tao, flowing with what comes, we would move on when it was time, because we would be fully aware that it was time.

If we stay nesting in our fantasies we lose our connection to reality, and then we miss out on the real opportunities to change and move on into new life. We are often so immersed in our fantasies that we don’t hear nature calling as loudly as the hawks. KEE! KEE! KEE!

If we are to evolve the planet, we must evolve ourselves first. And that means we all have to sacrifice something, someone, some fantasy, some idea about ourselves, and embrace the truth that we are responsible for our own nest-leaving, while we still have a choice.

Nature is calling right now!

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