Embracing Our Vulnerability
Just before Christmas, I read a wonderful little book entitled - A Short Philosophy of Birds. Written by a French philosopher and a fellow French ornithologist. It looks at what we can learn from birds when dealing with the differing aspects of our lives; it shows us the wisdom of these fascinating little creatures.
The lives of birds, much like our own lives, are shaped by all sorts of events that are like little deaths and rebirths. Moulting is one example. Shedding old feathers in order to acquire newer, more beautiful ones is a yearly process of loss and renewal, and it can be difficult.
There are times when we too must moult, or transform. At certain key moments in our lives – heartbreak, mourning, losing a job – we must start afresh in some way.
For birds, the moulting period is a time of vulnerability. They are said to be in a state of ‘eclipse’ plumage, a lovely phrase to describe a liminality that occurs while the bird waits for the essential feathers that it has shed to regrow.
In a society that constantly pushes us to perform, we no longer know how to ‘eclipse’ ourselves when we feel vulnerable, taking the time we need to reenergise and to gather our strength.
Let’s allow ourselves the time to moult. Let’s put on our eclipse plumage for these important, dormant periods of our lives.
As the book says, we will emerge stronger than ever before, and light as feathers.