Ruffled FeathersA few mornings ago, I was a passenger in a truck being driven by one of my friends. He had just pulled out of a parking lot and there were two ducks waddling across the road. He stomped on the brakes and swerved to miss them, muttering something under his breath.
I glanced at him and he said, "I do everything in my power to miss ducks."
I waited for the response.
"A few years ago, I was in a bad mood one morning and there was a duck crossing the road. I sped up to scare it, thinking it would fly away. It didn't. I hit it. I felt horrible."
I felt my eyes grow wide as I stared at him. He was very obviously avoiding my stare and continued on with his story.
"When I got to work, there were literally fifteen ducks lined up in front of the entrance and they would NOT let me through the door. Seriously! Every time I stepped toward them they squawked and snapped at me. I think they had heard that I hit their friend and they had rallied together to torture me. They made me ten minutes late to work. So, yeah. I avoid the ducks now. And dogs. And cats. And skunks."
I laughed hard enough that I spewed coffee through my nose. So attractive.
However, there was something about the story that was gripping me. Throughout the week, I shared it with several people and, as I did so, the line I do everything in my power to miss ducks kept sticking with me.
What my brain was hearing was I do everything in my power to miss and duck.
I do everything in my power to miss and duck?
I thought about that for quite some time and it loudly rang true.
I usually want my life - and everyone in my life - to be happy and relaxed. When things start to get uncomfortable (read: sad, angry and/or scared) I have a tendency to want to duck my head and pray that all the "bad" feelings or experiences will miss me.
What I've discovered is that the feeling I am ducking to avoid is something that is waiting to be experienced, to be expressed. Ducking in an attempt to miss the "bad" feeling only backs me up and prolongs the experience so that, eventually, a grain of sand looks like a mountain.
Then I suddenly discover I have a plethora of feelings squawking and snapping for my attention. My feathers are all ruffled and I am blocked. I have come to realize that it is much simpler to slow down, allow myself to feel the feelings fully and then gently move forward so that everyone makes it out in one piece.
© Angie K. Millgate 5/3/09