I had a visitor one morning this week. A robin.
Snow lightly sprinkled outside, and oh, how cozy it was, sitting in my quiet garret space. The white lights around the landing window framed the gently falling snow, and the only sound was my quiet clicking on the keyboard. Just the kind of day I most like.
Then, however, I heard a new sound. Tapping. A pecking, patting on my skylight. A fluttering. The window was covered in a veil of snow, but I could see a moving shadow. I left my desk and slowly approached the window peering towards the light. Of course, the shadow jolted away, aware of my presence. I waited, and it returned to peck through the sheer curtain of snow. A robin.
Its Morse Code continued, gradually clearing a space in the snow. Back at my desk I watched, but returned to my own tapping, hoping to make progress on an unwieldy piece of writing. Tap, tap. Click, click. My guest left and returned, off and on, through much of the morning. I tried once or twice to take a picture of it, but no luck. That's ok, I decided. We can just be gentle companions with each other.
I know some of you will immediately think of the robin's presence as a sign of spring, and there were an unusual number of robin's in the crabapple tree next door that morning, but robins migrate when there is a lack of food and not because of the cold.
I wonder, instead, about the message of the robin's tapping. Is there a message, a reminder this robin has for me? What has been knocking gently on my heart that needs to be recognized and heard?
The start of a new month --already one month of the new year has passed-- is a good time to revisit intentions for the new year. Intentions grow out of some yearning we have for our own lives and how we move and live in the world. A tapping on our hearts. A clicking of our inner voice. A shadowy presence signaling new awareness.
As you think about the signals you are receiving, I offer you the following resolutions for the new year by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat of the wonderful website Spirituality and Practice.
1. I will live in the present moment. I will not obsess about the past or worry about the future.
2. I will cultivate the art of making connections. I will pay attention to how my life is intimately related to all life on the planet.
3. I will be thankful for all the blessings in my life. I will spell out my days with a grammar of gratitude.
4. I will practice hospitality in a world where too often strangers are feared, enemies are hated, and the "other"is shunned. I will welcome guests and alien ideas with graciousness.
5. I will seek liberty and justice for all. I will work for a free and a fair world.
6. I will add to the planet's fund of good will by practicing little acts of kindness, brief words of encouragement, and manifold expressions of courtesy.
7. I will cultivate the skill of deep listening. I will remember that all things in the world want to be heard, as do the many voices inside me.
8. I will practice reverence for life by seeing the sacred in, with, and under all things of the world.
9. I will give up trying to hide, deny, escape from my imperfections. I will listen to what my shadow side has to say to me.
10. I will be willing to learn from the spiritual teachers all around me, however, unlike me they may be.
I think my robin guest would not only approve of these intentions, but was gently reminding me to practice them.
Who is tapping on your heart? And what is the message? I would love to know.