Little Birds.

Via Bernadette Birney
on Oct 17, 2011
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The leaves in my backyard are just beginning to turn yellow. They’re late this year. It’s been a wet fall, and I was beginning to fear they’d morph from green to brown without turning at all. Silly me. They’re eye catching now. In another week they’ll be spectacular.

It’s so clichéd to write of leaves in autumn but–if you were here–you wouldn’t be able to resist either.

As I write, I am waiting for the plumber to come and snake our main line. It has been snaked twice but still the kitchen sink keeps backing up. The dishwasher will not be run without oozing its suds everywhere. Now, the bathroom sink is filling up with sludge.

Last week I heard John Friend talk about clinging as the cause of suffering. Sitting in meditation, our hands in our laps, he instructed us to turn our palms face up.

“Be receptive. Allow relationships to freely alight in your upturned hand. Welcome them. If they don’t stay forever–like little birds–freely allow them fly away. Offer blessings.”

I have been going so fast. Doing without stopping. Yesterday, I stole an hour or two to take my favorite route through the woods. I was beyond parched. Every pore in me consciously opened to suck in the spicy fragrance of pine needles underfoot, the alien-looking seed pods, the nature spirits, the solitude.

I find a hawk feather. I have found more hawk feathers this year than in all the years I have been in Connecticut. Secretly, I believe them to be love letters from God.

Little birds. Things and people. Ideas of who I am, what I am–and am not–capable of. My definition of home–all these things have come and gone in the last few years. They go, and they go, and they go. They come, too.

Also, though, I am strangely happy.

I come to a little wooden bridge. I come here often to stand on this little wooden bridge, and watch the little waterfall that I think of as mine tumble into a little river. I welcome the water that rushes at me.  I want it to rush over me, tumble me, and clear away the sludge of my clinging. Fervently, I want this.

I lift my arms over head and turn, clockwise, in a circle, an imaginary priestess asking the river gods for purification. I probably look really weird.

Overhead, golden leaves let go and fall down on my head. I stand for a while with my back turned to the waterfall and watch it recede. Ceaselessly.

I open my hands.

Blessings, little birds.



About Bernadette Birney

Bernadette Birney is a dyed-in-the-wool, freedom-loving tantrika. When she’s not busy conquering the world, taking hostages, feverishly freelancing, working on her book, and posting on-line essays, you can find her practicing the art of life-on-purpose, and teaching in Connecticut. / Bernadette has had the good fortune of studying with the great ones: she’s a certified Anusara yoga instructor, and has long pestered her Rajanaka Yoga mentor, Douglas Brooks. Known for her poetic and precise articulation, she insists that you can maintain a hard-core yoga practice and a sense of humor, too. Her classes, immersions and trainings are steeped in a life affirming philosophy that will invite you into the exploration of your own potential. / Bernadette was one of the earliest Certified Anusara yoga instructors in CT, and continues to mentor the local teaching community, leading trainings and retreats. She has contributed to Yoga Journal, Fit Yoga, Elephant Journal and Srividyalaya Amrta. She is also a Lululemon ambassador, and the author of the quirky, award-winning blog .


3 Responses to “Little Birds.”

  1. Roberto says:

    beautiful article – yep, them autumn leaves – they are like nothing else. Even cool people start feeling very Hallmark cardesque amidst that kind of beauty. Wonderful vision you presented. Thank you.

  2. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    This is written so beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing these messages.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  3. I just saw this today, Bernie – so beautiful & autumnal…