Photo credit: Red Tail Hawk by Pierre LeClerc Photography
I love hawks. There is something about them that is so inspiring and magestic. There is one that lives in the gulch where I walk every day. At least he hangs out there a lot. Or should I say ABOVE the gulch, since I usually see him catching the updrafts, circling endlessly, soaring higher and higher and screeching out his joy! It moves me every time I hear him. I instinctively look up to search for him. And I admit it, I am more than a little jealous of his effortless flight, soaring ever higher until he disappears into the reflection of the sun. I want to do that too! Soar effortlessly, looking down on the earth, from his bird’s eye view. What a perspective he must have! Looking down and seeing everything from so high up – he can see so much more than I can from down here.
But I had a different experience last week. It had been raining for a few days and the air was completely still – no wind at all. I was on my daily walk near the gulch when I heard “my” hawk screech. Instinctively, I looked up and searched the sky. I couldn’t see him, despite the fact that there was no sun to blind me. It was cloudy. So where was he? Then, to my surprise, he swooped down from a tree near me, gliding downwards into the gulch. I watched him until he landed in a tree, far below me. I continued on my walk, which eventually brought me to the bottom of the gulch and again, to my surprise, there he was, in the same tree I’d seen him land in. When he saw me, he took off again, but this time, he flew UP the gulch. And I could see how much effort it took. With no drafts to lift him, he had to work hard to fly up the gulch and he eventually landed in a tree not too far from where he had started.
For some reason, this reminded me of a client I have, who had been saying that she felt “stuck”. She couldn’t move forward. She was just so tired and disappointed in herself that she wasn’t “making progress.” After seeing this hawk, who instinctively knew not to try to fly when there was no updraft, but to rest instead, I asked her, “What if you are not stuck, but just resting?” It opened up a whole new possibility for her to be gentle with herself. To give herself a break. To allow herself to rest for a bit and reflect before she moved forward again.
When we are resting and being gentle with ourselves, we have a different perspective than when we are pushing and in constant movement.
Sometimes, we need to rest before we can soar again – just like the wise hawk!