I recently retired from tech work, after…I dunno. Eighteen years? A long damn time.
When I first started, the web was still pretty new to the mainstream, and the potential got me fired up. I could help people connect, share their stories and ideas! The whole notion of global access was an utter game-changer. And I could offer this incredible opportunity to everyday people. How powerful is that?! I was excited enough I struggled through endless hours obsessively poring over code and reading technical tutorials in between waxing poetic about how cool it all was.
I was going to learn to do this and do it well. And do it well I did.
There were no blogs back then. It was a different world. Eventually, the bar lowered dramatically for self-publishing (a good thing–usually). The work I did wasn’t as pivotal. But still, I kept learning and coding and consulting. I kept looking to serve as Virgos do, and I was good at it.
But somewhere along the way, so gradually I did not even notice, my once-mission morphed into obligation. The work became weight. I still considered myself blessed to be free the confines of a traditional office job. But I wasn’t excited about the work itself anymore. Gifted an opportunity to begin work in the Woo-Woo world, the difference became palpable.
I was enthusiastically building my spiritual practice while quietly planning my pixel-pushing escape. But even as I got close enough to sensibly make the full switch, I didn’t. Even the thought was terrifying.
What the Hell, Dixie?
It wasn’t until I actually took that leap of faith that I finally got it: web work was my last cloak of mainstream respectability. That’s perhaps an ironic admission for a pink-haired chick decked out in tie-dye. That business was what stood between me and the judgement of the mail man, the bank teller, the world at large–and yeah, the family.
Funny thing. My cloak of respectability was incredibly sheer. Three seconds plugging my name in a search engine is all it would take to see right through it…still, I spent an excruciatingly draining week to broker the hand-off of my web business. My “sanity breaks” out on the front-porch garden were well-populated by Grackles.
Grackles seem like they’d be related to crows or blackbirds, but they are not. They’re actually part of the meadowlark and oriole family of birds. From a distance, you can easily miss the gorgeous iridescent coloring. People often don’t see these birds for who they are. Grackle’s bright yellow eye with the tiny black pupil seemed like it could eerily pierce even intricate illusion.
Are you looking past superficial appearances to see what really is?
Grackles are known as very intelligent, playful and happy birds. Their colors show us emotion, the color of life. For many grackles, the lovely coloring is especially pronounced around the head.
Are you conscious of your emotions and how much emotions color your thinking?
Grackles often congregate in large numbers before dawn or after sunset on tree branches, wires or roofs, in groups sometimes known as “annoyances.” They may sing and caw for a long time with their distinctive calls before moving on to a new congregation. Their call is often compared to a rusty gate. But you know, even a rusty gate cannot be heard unless it’s being opened.
Are you all talk, so much that it may be annoying? Are you talking or doing?
They are known for bravery and resourcefulness, not being afraid to approach humans for food. They may follow plows to catch mice or wade into water to fish. They forage expertly and thrive because they have adapted to cities and humanity’s changing habits.
Are you active in solving problems and seeking what you need?
Grackles have a hard palate that helps them crack open acorns and other tough food. Even so, they have the unusual habit of dipping hard pieces of some types of food in water to soften it up before eating. They also teach their offspring to do this.
Do you attack tough problems, consciously guiding emotional states to “soften up” life’s challenges? Do you provide an example to others in doing so?
Grackles like to nest in pine trees–and the scent of pine calms emotional states. Their nests are hidden, providing safety.
Do you maintain a safe space for working through emotions?
Grackles remind us to take stock of our feelings, and question whether or not those feeling are blinding us to truth. They point out areas where we may be pointlessly rehashing woes instead of acting on opportunities for resolution. They remind us to be brave and go after what we need, while maintaining a safe, home base to process.
Grackles emphasize the impact of our own choices on joyfulness–and those who may follow our lead. They encourage us to actively take care of ourselves while adapting to changing circumstance.
They remind us–okay, they remind ME–to look for the shine and cherish with gratitude all the beauty life holds.
Thank you, Grackles.
Do you see Grackles?