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Fresh Eyes

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

I have a codependent relationship with the blue jays that come into my yard. A few years ago I started feeding them peanuts. My brother is a bit of a bird whisperer and when my mom was sick and  even after, he kept having experiences with blue jays that made him draw a connection between her energy and the blue jays.


In theory, this is not that different from those of you who think that lovely red cardinal in the tree is your grandfather, mom, dad, etc. We also associate the Pileated Woodpecker with our grandmother. You understand because we all do it.


Personally I think all the birds are messengers. They are symbolic of the air element which rules things like communication. Plus, they connect the above and the below. They are the perfect messenger for Spirit. Some of us also associate feathers with angels. What is better than finding a feather on your doorstep or along the path on your travels?


But, let’s go back to the blue jays.


Blue jays love peanuts. And when I started feeding them, I was deep in my grief. This felt like a great way to lure the energy of my mom’s spirit to my yard.


Tell me you’re a control freak without telling me you’re a control freak…


During our series of weather catastrophes this past year, my blue jay feeder got squashed by mountains of  snow so my kids bought me a new one for Christmas. This new one was a ring feeder which was different from the first one I had. My first feeder made it easier for the birds to grab the peanuts. They would empty it in 30 minutes or less and watching them assemble and grab their food was a legitimate simple pleasure that could bring me out of a funk no matter how deep. I missed them when the feeder was gone.


The “new” peanut feeder with a downy woodpecker on board

Excitedly, I filled my new peanut feeder and waited. Birds are funny creatures. They need time to find new feeders, even if they were exactly in the same place as the last one. Sort of like when a restaurant changes hands and you wait to go there until you get a beat on things.


A week or so in, they weren’t feeling it.


Since I have this codependent relationship with the blue jays, I started sprinkling peanuts on the patio to make it easier for them. I also thought if they came for those, they’d catch sight of the ring feeder and start using that.


They came for the peanuts on the patio. But they still weren’t going for the peanuts in the ring feeder.


Then I considered they were never going to start using the ring feeder if I kept throwing loose peanuts to them. Plus we have skunks in our neighborhood so this was admittedly not a smart practice. So I waited a little longer.


It’s funny because other birds were working on the ring. A downy woodpecker was a regular visitor. A nuthatch was busy hammering away at the ring. And the occasional blue jay would show up to work on pulling a peanut out. But it wasn’t the mass flocking I had experienced earlier and I was fixated on recreating that magic.


So then the questions and self judgement came:


Was my ring too tight making it too hard for them to get the peanuts out?

Did they only come before because my feeder was easy?

Are they sad that the peanuts are now hard to get at?


(Basically, how have I failed the blue jays and how can I accommodate them to make it easier. Tell me if you resonate with this line of thinking…)


In time, the spring birds started coming back. The grackles, red wing blackbirds and starlings arrived one after the other. They were willing to do the work to pull nuts from the ring. And then the blue jays started stepping up their game not to be outdone. Score!


So why am I telling you this long and possibly uninteresting story about birds? You see, I learn from watching the birds. They aren’t all that different from us with their quirks and idiosyncrasies. Also, nature has these inherent cycles of ebb and flow, wax and wane; not unlike our own lives.


Eventually, through some tough love and patience on my part, plus some inherent survival of the fittest mentality, the blue jays are happily rocking it at my new ring peanut feeder.


Today I went out to feed them and I inspected the entire bottom part of the ring which was filled with empty shells. Perhaps this was the work of the downy woodpecker and the smaller birds who have effectively been pecking away at the bottom. The ring feeder never got empty because the bottom was filled with empty peanut shells.


And then there’s me reflecting on the stories I had been telling myself.


Was my ring too tight making it too hard for them to get the peanuts out?

Did they only come before because my feeder was easy?

Are they sad that the peanuts are now hard to get at?

Am I losing my damn mind?


Or maybe, all the available peanuts were eaten and they were waiting for some fresh.  Maybe I hadn’t failed them at all. Maybe I am losing my damn mind.


Sigh.


So the question is: what is underneath?


What’s the thing we are so sure about because we see it with our own eyes that is actually not at all what it appears to be?


Can we get so used to looking at something we stop seeing what is really there and making assumptions about what we are looking at?


Why yes, yes we can.


I was rifling through a gift basket that was sent to me last weekend. I had already taken the stuff out of it but was finally getting ready to move it off the kitchen counter.


"Damn this basket is heavy", I thought.


And so I pushed some of the stuffing away and found two more gifts in there that I hadn’t seen the first 5 times.


Sigh.


Another example:


I’ve been loosely and very unofficially consulting on an old murder case for the police. My initial instincts have been different from those of the previous detectives on the case. Are they so fixated on the obvious theory that they might be missing something else? Maybe. Or maybe not. Fresh eyes always see things differently.


Or, take my health issues. For years, I have been eliminating major food groups from my life because of my allergies and sensitivities. This has alleviated some symptoms but as a new doctor with fresh eyes recently pointed out: “You really haven’t had resolution.”


Well no, come to think of it, I haven’t.


And with fresh eyes comes new ideas and notions. Maybe food is not the culprit but yet another symptom and side effect along this path I’ve been on. Maybe, as things have been unfolding, there is something else more widespread and inflammatory underneath the surface that contributes to all of my health stuff and it really isn’t about the food.


But I’ve been blaming food for years because I’ve been so sure that is what’s up. What gives?

The latest tarot card to stalk me - what have I been judging wrong this whole time?

Blue jays, old police files, French fries and gift baskets might not be things that you would put together but this is how my life works. Something, I’ll call it my higher self, is trying to get my attention through a series of stories that have the same theme.


If this is resonating with you, I ask you to consider:


  • What can you look at with fresh eyes today?

  • In what situations can you move some of the junk away to make room for the new?

  • What stories can you stop replaying because they just aren’t true anymore?


I hope you find a few treasures or missing clues today that bring you some clarity. Or maybe you too want to start feeding the blue jays. Or maybe you can release an old story to make room for a new one that suits your life better in this current moment.


Fresh eyes can change the whole story and the path we are on. May yours be filled with love, magic and wonder.


Lots of love, Christy

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