Birds and Nests are my new obsession. “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd, “When Women Were Birds” by Terry Tempest Williams, “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tratt, “Imperfect Birds” and “Bird by Bird” by Annie Lamont are just some titles that now populate my bookshelves.  My Journals increasingly include observations and quotes about our feathered friends. 

I am especially intrigued by nests. Scraggly twigs, pieces of yarn, feathers, gobs of spit, and spider’s silk are twisted together to cradle new life. I have even formed a few of my own but without spit. I’ve produced more than the replica pictured here.  More than the nest that Don and I call home.

My work is that of a nest builder. 

I create containers in the shape of retreats and women’s circles that protect, cherish, and nurture growth.

We all need places where it’s safe to explore a newly created vision of who we are becoming.  Those safe places may be with a friend, family member or partner.

It needs to be someone who…
Listens without judging,
Offers feedback when requested
Sees potential in our yearnings 

Nests are not beds. Nests are incubators.  Heat is a critical component in the process of hatching.  Any holding environment that nurtures growth must be safe and challenging. It requires people who remind us of our intentions.  And it calls for caring folks who are willing to ask if we are letting fear get in our way. We also need to feel secure enough to …

Imagine ourselves in the future
Explore struggles of being true to our dream and those we love 
Face what scares us

First we whisper our dream.  Eventually, we say it out loud.  Giving voice to our longings is when fear intensifies. Bestselling authors, brave firemen, seasoned performers and stay at home moms encounter fear when they begin to talk about trying something new. 

When an experience is this universal I assume it serves a purpose. If not, wouldn’t it drop away or only happen occasionally?  What possible function might fear have in daring to live a dream?

Mother Nature is an inexhaustible teacher. I love turning to her for answers. And of course I immediately think of nests and bird eggs. Dreams like bird eggs bring forth life in a new form.  What can hatching a baby bird tell us about hatching a dream?

Here’s information I found on Incubating and hatching ducks and geese:
It appears that this process of breaking out of the shell, builds strength in the bird. I believe that is why it takes awhile to hatch. The bird comes out when it is strong enough to survive.

Fear is a shell around our dream.

Sometimes I speak to an audience with my knees shaking and my voice cracking.  Recently fear flooded me.  I struggled to remember the next step as I claimed my role as ceremony leader. Facing fear can make us stronger.

When did you stop believing in your dreams?  

This would be a disturbing and revealing question to ask ourselves when we feel down.  Ditch a dream and a part of us trying to be born dies.  Sorrow follows. That isn’t to say that every dream needs to see the light of day.  Changes occur as we redefine what we want. That is part of the cycle. It’s is part of unfolding.

But it isn’t just our personal dream that we can discard. In dark times, we have often given up on the process of dreaming.  We adopt the role of cynic.  We stop risking.  We avoid looking foolish.

We turn the nest into a bed.

I wanted to quit more than once while writing Unfolding.  I wrote about one time in the chapter entitled Violins.  Courage to crack through the next layer may be a long time coming.   Just like the bird we discover that “it takes awhile to hatch.”

This is how I said it in Unfolding:

Sadness and fear are often the attendants of these times of growth and change. Lord knows I went through months of upset to find my way back to writing after Joe’s call. I cracked open. I unearthed uncertainty and discovered I could trust my voice.

Inspirational videos of birds hatching can be viewed on YouTube.  I love watching Robins come out of their shells.  Heart ponding struggles are followed by periods of rest.  Then they begin again. Their strength builds with each push. 

That is what it is like to hatch a dream.  We push against fear. We build a bit of courage. We rest and then start again.