A few years ago a woman sent me a message and asked me a million dollar question. She asked, “Diana, where do you find your inspiration?” I remember the moment and the feeling like it was yesterday. The answer came straight away without a moment of wavering or doubt. It came from my core: “Life inspires me. All I have to do is open my eyes and give all of myself to the moment.”
Something happens when you bring all of yourself to a moment.
When you give your body to it.
When you give your attention to it.
When you give your emotions to it.
When you give your all to it.
Inspiration means “To breathe life into.”
About ten years ago I was on vacation in Southern California staying in a little condo in Redondo Beach. I went with a friend around the 4th of July and the last day of the trip a sparrow inspired me. It was the last day of my trip and I went to take a shower in the morning. When I came out and walked into my bedroom I had a visitor waiting in my room for me, this little sparrow. The bird was flapping its wings frantically and bouncing from one wall to another like a ping pong ball. I completely stopped in my tracks and all I wanted to do was help that little bird to freedom. I didn’t know what to do so I did what most people would do in this day and age, I googled it. I googled what you should do to get a bird out of your house and after reading the answers I was still in the same place as before, unsure on how to help my little winged friend.
Google suggested trapping the bird in a blanket to capture it and then let it outside. At that time, this option didn’t sound gentle or loving. It brought on more anxiety for me so I put it in my back pocket as a last choice. After that I did a bunch of different and strange things to help the bird to freedom with no avail. I sang to the bird. I talked to the bird. I tried to get it to stop smacking itself against the wall. Nothing worked! Finally I left it alone in my room and went to the beach. I tried to enjoy my last day and I’m sure that I did but what I also know is that I never stopped thinking about that bird. In certain ways, I guess you can say I was trapped in that room with him. My mind was and so was my heart. I checked on him every few hours hoping it was alive and well and sometime around 3:00pm I walked into my room and the bird was gone.
So I did what I always do when something shakes me up. I make myself sit with it after the fact and I ask myself, “What did I learn from this? How do I feel about this?” I call it the rebound. It’s the space between. I take what just happened in front of my eyes and I go sit alone and close my eyes. That’s when the whole world behind your eyes opens up. It’s rich and thick with information and feelings. I drop into my body and feel. Wisdom hits me in my bones on the rebound.
It didn’t take long for the answers to come and I learned 3 truths from the sparrow.
The first lesson I learned from that sparrow was: The way out is always there. Sometimes you just can’t see it. What I haven’t mentioned yet was that the room I was staying in had a broken window. There was one small window frame missing in the glass from the window and it had no screen. It was wide open. The bird got in from that window and once it was in, it couldn’t find it’s way out. The way out was there the whole time.
Just because you see something doesn’t mean it’s real. That’s the second truth I learned from the sparrow. The other thing I will mention here about the room I was staying in was that the window the bird flew in from was on the wall across from an ENTIRE wall covered in mirrors. It was a closet covered with mirrors from floor to ceiling. The bird flew into that mirror so many times and crashed to the ground. I wondered if it thought that mirror was the window. When I looked in the mirror it saw a window that didn’t actually exist. It was a reflection and an illusion from the opposite wall. Our eyes don’t always tell the truth.
The third truth the bird taught me was: When any one of us sets ourselves free, we all become free. I was locked in that room with that sparrow all day - not literally, but I spent the whole day consumed by the bird and the fact that it was in a cage fighting for it’s freedom. I noticed the moment that bird was free so was I. I thought about my life and all the people in it and how we are so connected and how this truth rings loud and clear.
I’ll never forget this story, the sparrow, or the phone call I received later that day. It was my ex- husband, who was my ex-husband also at the time. He was calling me from rehab. He sounded clear and well and he told me that he was getting sober. I dropped to my knees in tears because I had been waiting for him to tell me that for fifteen years and in that moment we were all that bird - me, David and the sparrow.
That day we all cried freedom.
And that’s how rich your life is with symbolism and inspiration if you’re paying attention.
Have you heard? I’m launching a new program called, STRONG and it’s all online! You can be a part of this no matter where you live and you don’t need to be a yoga teacher or want to be one. This work is for everyone. I am still working out the details, but it will be 12 online classes and there are a limited amount of spots available. Interested in getting on the wait list? Fill out the app!