Boronia is to cockatoos as Eastbourne is to seagulls – there are 100s of them. Wheeling round, flocks fly continuously overhead, squawking, chattering and most lovely of all reflecting the pink setting sun in their bellies as I cross the car park to go home in the evening. Although I don’t hear many of them saying “Oh helloooooo!” like Kenneth Williams, and I have no idea what they are eating as there aren’t any cuttlefish bones poking through shop fronts. They sit in pairs, groups, clusters on cables, the tops of lights, cars, have dust baths together and are generally having a whale of a time, being birds.
Proved to be social, lively creatures, the cockatoos I see fly so much past my office window are busy charging about all over the place, so it does make you wonder how people can be happy with them sitting in a cage looking at a mirror for company. I know what I am like when I don’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation (I’ve been complaining for ages I haven’t been reading enough lately), so I wonder at people that keep birds in a cage barely big enough to stretch their wings.
Metaphorically speaking, stretching our wings is something we should be doing every day. We need to exercise not only our bodies, but our minds, spirits and souls daily. I know I feel better when I have a clear head and can concentrate, and it isn’t all about switching the phone off or switching the TV off. It is about switching your brain off, letting the chatter inside you die down to a comfortable, companionable silence. Being happy with your self in solitude is something that many people are afraid of, but something that is vital to allow ourselves to get the best out of life. To extract the fullness in whatever you are doing, by being there fully in the present, totally concentrating on the now. And saying thank you for what your life has already given you.
So when you play with children, yours or those on loan, be there completely. Cook proper meals for yourself and your family, turn the TV off and sit round a table to talk about your day instead of perching your dinner on your laps, consciously eat and listen to when you body says ‘whoa, I am full’. Stop feeling like you have to micromanage everything, relax, you are not superman or superwoman. All of which is what I have chosen to remind myself of today. I am learning a new job. I am not going to have all the answers at my fingertips, I need to be patient while I learn and tidy things up around me. As the Quakers say: When in doubt wait. Everything will get resolved, not because you are worrying over ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ maybe), but by being there fully while you tackle the problem and concentrating on what you are doing, ‘it’ will work itself out. Surrender to life, it is the only one you are going to get, so stop fretting.
Be like a free-wheeling cockatoo, reflect the pink sun in your belly as you chatter loudly and proudly to your friends.