The Gift of the Owl

Some Shaman believe that if you are visited by an owl, you are granted the gift of clairvoyance. That the owl illuminates the dark corners of your mind and guides you toward truth.

Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom

We heard a rustling inside of our chimney one morning, secured the fireplace with a grate, bravely opened the flue, and waited for what we thought would be a pigeon to come tumbling down. The girls sat so quietly and soon our visitor arrived. We could hardly believe our eyes as an Eastern Screech Owl appeared. We were giddy with excitement about our honored guest! We all sat, staring at the bird, and it back at us for a few minutes. But then, just as quickly as it had appeared, the owl hopped back up into the chimney and we knew it wasn’t coming back down anytime soon.

It would be hours before the owl reappeared, lured by a lamb chop (pastured, no less) and an empty house. We returned from dinner out, to find it had escaped the fireplace and was flying around the living room! Girls quickly up to bed, doors closed and windows opened, my husband and I did our best to control the situation. Mike tried to guide the owl toward the window with a broom, but each time it fluttered across the room, the owl avoided the open window.

Tired, it perched on the arm of a chair, and I crouched down about a foot away, behind a French door. We stared at each other, both wide-eyed. It was an amazing moment. My intuition told me that we had done all we needed to do. It was the owl’s turn. This talented hunter with keen senses did not need us to save it. All that was left to do was let go. So we walked away. Upstairs, actually, and we waited for about thirty minutes. When we returned…the owl was gone! Back out into the night, navigating under the light of the moon.

And I’m left behind, thinking of what this visit means- wanting it to mean something- because the experience felt so powerful.

Eastern Screech Owl in Flight

“The two parts of genuine acceptance- seeing clearly and holding our experience with compassion- are as interdependent as the two wings of a great bird. Together, they enable us to fly and be free.”
- Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

This summer I have made more of an effort to notice the inner dialogue that distracts me from what is actually happening in front of me. Often a voice full of judgments, criticism or guilt speaks so loudly that it begins to color the experiences I have with those around me. Time and energy that could be spent simply enjoying life with my children, is sometimes wasted on frustration or worry as I believe the nagging voice when it tells me this life or this experience should be different than it is.

The truth is that our experiences are just as they should be. This is the one life that we are given, and it is unfolding whether we like its challenges, or not. We all have the power to simplify our lives, and change the things we are unsatisfied with, but we cannot figure out exactly what needs changing until we are free of the critical voices that hold us down. When we are gentle with ourselves, when we feel compassion toward ourselves and our children, we can reconnect with our intuition and trust ourselves again. We can see things as they really are.

This is the gift of the owl.


amy (mamascout) said...

love this. we too had an owl experience this week. you can see a picture of the little screech that we rescued. i was transfixed looking in his eyes. a few days later, i was walking my dog in the alley and watched a barred owl in a tree watching me. it was perfectly silent and we connected too. it is amazing when you are looking and tuned in to the natural world how a whole new conversation starts.

Allison Abramson said...

And living in an urban area, I find my wildlife encounters to be extra special. Such great reminders that we are one small part of the natural world. Life is indeed all around us. Thanks for sharing your pictures, Amy!

Natasha Walters said...

Wow. What an amazing story Allison!

Meegan said...

Beautifully written Allison! I too struggle with my negative inner dialogue and trying to live in the present and accept that my experiences and my journey are unfolding just as they should and that they don't need to conform to silly ideals or expectations I've arbitrarily dreamed up. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post!

Allison Abramson said...

It's been wonderful to attach meaning to this story, too. As the days go by, I am still remembering the lesson each time I retell the story. I'm also adding a few little owl images around the house to remind me and keep me grounded!