The following piece first appeared in 2008, in the column I wrote back then, called ‘Coaching Moments’. In my last blog theme, I had a sidebar widget showing some of my own favourite posts and ‘Birdsong’ was one of them. What I like about ‘Birdsong’ is how it still transports me back to that morning, to the overwhelming feeling of peace, joy and clarity I was left with.
Every time I read it, it reminds me of the difference between writing with a clear purpose, for a defined audience, and blogging.
I blog for connection with like-minded folk, for fun and friendship and to capture and curate some of the moments that matter to me, but back then, my writing was sharper, more focused; I wrote for coaches and specifically for those who were aiming to get certified. As a certified coach who’d struggled to get certified, despite living and breathing the concepts integral to coaching, I wanted to help others do what I’d managed to do. Ego was never involved; I never needed an excuse to write, and really just wanted to inspire, to support and to connect. Doing that in a monthly newsletter over which I had no technical or design control and which had no comments, comment numbers or public replies, meant I could simply focus on writing.
All but one of my editors actually liked my work and were supportive and easy to work with, but here, on my blog, I get what I call blank cheque-itis. Too many choices of what to write and for whom; too much design and technical freedom; not enough information about what folk want, need or like to read here. Just doing whatever I want makes me feel like I’m slipping uncomfortably into the realms of ego. But a blog that helps no-one, inspires no-one, supports no-one makes me feel equally uncomfortable. I have regular visitors here who are better bloggers, better writers, better coaches, better photographers and more together people than I am. So why do I blog?
Not being able to answer that question easily, confidently, when faced with sneering, nosey, scoffing cynics – yes, there are people whose reasons for reading my blog are questionable – is one of the many complex reasons I’m a deciduous blogger and often lapse into periods of cyberhibernation.
But what always brings me back to my blog is clarity around one thing: all I’ve really offered over the years, in my column, my blog, my coaching and my life is one message, something I captured years ago in a post about harnessing the power of authenticity:
“Be brave enough to explore the depths, to find a way out and shine a light for others to find theirs. Don’t be scared to live, to hold out your heart in both hands like a trembling bird and say “Here I am, love me as I am or leave me.” Be more afraid to die with your song still in you, to cheat your loved ones, your readers and the world of the greatest gift you have to give. You.”
A friend who visits my blog regularly and who knows why I obsess about themes, CSS, functionality and creating a welcoming feel to the site, recently commented in an email about my new blog theme; what she said, with joking sternness, gave me a heartwarming shove in the right direction… “Give us all a gift and write something instead of worrying too much about the wrapping paper!”
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. ~ Kahlil Gibran
I woke very early today, too early to start clattering and clanging in the kitchen so I grabbed a book, a pen and spiral bound notebook and wandered out into the garden, heading for the table, sipping the glass of blueberry juice I’d poured for myself.
I laid my books on the table, the blue and white tablecloth dew-damp under my sleepy arms, and I sat there thinking ‘These birds are really loud!’ Cheeping, cooing, chirruping, whistling, trilling, tweeting, chattering…I slowly started to single out each songbird’s soaring celebration of a new morning.
The sun, burning off the last few patches of mist, cast shafts of light through the laurels, turning web-hung droplets to twinkling crystals whenever the fresh morning breeze rustled the branches, dark green against a clear blue sky.
I breathed in the fragrance of moist earth and caught the scent of the mock orange blossom by our back door. Feeling more alive than I had for months, I thought about writing some morning pages, hoping to explore and dispel the shadows that have been settling round me.
I opened the notebook, half heartedly fiddling with my pen as I sat listening to the birds. Soon I would hear the sound of distant traffic; the humming of an aeroplane across the sky; the faint clattering of cereal bowls and spoons; the sound of kettles and radio alarms carried on the breeze. I put down the pen and leaned back in my seat, unwilling to leave the moment even to capture it.
A big fat bee came buzzing around the bushes by my feet and made me smile! I hadn’t seen one for months. So many tales of the bees disappearing; with them would go the soundtrack to my childhood garden memories of damp grass and daisy chains, dandelions and buttercups.
Suddenly, a flash of red and a choot choot choot – a robin, on the fence behind the berberis bush. He stopped, looked at me, bobbed his head three times and flew off.
And I knew, knew then as I know now, with a certainty that leaves no room for fear or doubt: I was meant to write this piece. I was meant to write. I was meant to wake up early, to love that bee, to be that robin, to share with you the beating of my “winged heart” on a grateful spring morning.
And you were meant to read this. For without the life and the breath and the experience you bring to these words, they would only be pixels on a screen. Like the bee, you touch the lives of strangers, you’re woven through the fabric of a million memories, you create moments that leave the world a better place. You and I – like the robin – have a message to bring, a song to sing in the eternal dawn chorus.
Today, as you choose to wrap your heart around the moments that make up a life, how will you share your precious gift with the world? You were born with talents, you’ve worked hard to build skills, to create connections – but they’re just the channel. You are the gift.