By Angela

The Feather

It was summer and I was on summer break from my job with a local school district. I loved the work I did with families and young children and totally submersed myself in my work during the school year. Ten months out of the year, I coordinated a parent education program and provided home visits and playgroups for parents of young children. I worked on increasing my professional skills and knowledge of early childhood development and parenting so that I could provide support and encouragement for one of the most difficult and challenging jobs—parenthood. Summertime, however, was a special time to work specifically on my personal development. Time to reflect, dream and learn more about my other interests such as Native American teachings regarding symbolic messages brought to us through animals.

One of my summer activities included enrollment in a life coaching group. A small group of us met with a life coach to examine and discuss various aspects of our lives. Things we wanted to change or improve—relationships, jobs, self esteem, etc. One of the major areas I wanted to explore was my career. Although I loved my work, I wanted to find a way to reach more families. One-on-one work was the major focus of my current job, but I also loved developing and conducting professional trainings. Perhaps I could touch more parents and children by doing more seminars and inservices for others working with families and children. I wasn’t sure how to proceed to bring in more passion into my career satisfactions through doing more professional training.

While pondering the issue with my coach and mentor, she gave me the following advice: “Don’t worry so much about figuring out all of the details. Think about what you would like to be doing. Imagine that it has already happened and allow yourself to bask in how it feels. Focus on the good feelings—the satisfaction and passion you feel when everything comes together.”

“But I’m not sure how to combine everything. What to do. I need to have a plan for how to get there. But I’m not sure what to do or how to begin tackling the issue,” I complained.

“Don’t worry about how you will get there,” she said once again. “Put the thought out to the Universe about what you would like. Let the Universe/God take care of providing you with the details of how to get there. The people, the help and the opportunities you need will present themselves. When these come along, then you put your energy into moving forward. But don’t waste time in worrying about what to do right now.”

Her advice was like some concepts I had heard. Things like, “Let go and let God,” self-fulfilling prophecies, and “Where the thought goes, the energy follows.” It all sounded great, but too simple. I was used to lots of worrying and hard work to get anywhere—if I didn’t do this, I didn’t feel in control of my life.

The next day I started out for my meditation walk around the retirement center located next to my house. I enjoyed the time walking and thinking—reflecting on what had been said the previous day. The first thing I noticed as I started my walk were two white swans standing by the edge of the pond preening themselves. On the ground next to them were some of their feathers.

Another one of my hobbies was making dream catchers. I especially liked weaving into them stones, jewelry charms and/or feathers which had special meanings. I would love to get my hands on a swan feather to hang from one of my dream catchers. When I thought about swans, my mind immediately went to Hans Christian Anderson’s story of The Ugly Duckling. Because of this, I associated swans with transformation—a perfect symbol to include since I was working on transforming my life. Turning my young unformed, awkward ideas into something well-formed and perfectly integrated with my skills, passions and ambitions. My thoughts became fixated on the feathers lying on the ground by the swans.

If I walked towards the swans, I knew they would probably move away and I could get a couple of feathers. But I wanted to respect the swans and their activities and did not want to bother them for my personal gain. So, I said to myself, “I will walk around the retirement center three times. If the swans have moved away, it is okay for me to go over and pick up some feathers. If they are still there, I need to show my respect for them and not disturb them. Surely they will be gone by the time I finished my 30 minute walk. I could see myself walking home with feathers in hand.

As I finished my third lap, I could hardly believe my eyes. The swans were still standing there in the same spot. Unfortunately for me, I was on a tight schedule that particular day. Otherwise, I would have taken the “I’ll walk around one more time and see if they have moved” approach. If they didn’t move in the next couple of minutes, I wouldn’t be able to go back and check on the feathers until after dark. By then the feathers would probably blow away.

Resigned that it just wasn’t meant to be, I started walking home. As I approached my yard, I noticed a sparrow flying to my left. At least I thought it was a sparrow. Everything about the bird looked like a sparrow except for a large white spot on its body. As I watched it fly, puzzling over whether or not it was a sparrow, it landed on the sidewalk about 8 feet in front of me, dropped a perfect white swan feather and flew away.

I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Could this experience have something to do with my conversation with my mentor the day before? Do our thoughts carry a powerful energy? Can we really communicate with the Universe/the Creator/the Divine/God and be heard? Are we supported in ways that we don’t completely comprehend? I picked up the feather and carried it to my house.

The next day I walked over to the spot where I had seen the swans. There were still some feathers lying on the ground, but they were all ragged looking. None were as beautiful and perfect as the feather brought to me by that small sparrow.

I marveled at the lessons I had been given. Our thoughts do carry an energy and are heard. The Divine power in the Universe does hear us and provide us with answers, but not always in ways that we want or expect. Faith is a difficult, yet simple thing. And life can be truly magical and surprising if we open up ourselves and have faith that we are supported.

© Angela Cramer, 2008

Photos and clipart are the property of Jupiterimages made available through subscription:
© Jupiterimages Corporation, 2008

Tags: TBI, traumatic brain injury, acquired brain injury, post concussion syndrome, inspirational stories, the feather, faith, swan, animal messengers, transformation


4 Responses to “The Feather”

  1. November 2, 2008 at 1:26 am

    The story is beautiful – it is how I live my life. I’d like to put in in my next book Still Shining. Still Shining will incorporate much of my trip next year when I meet you. You are in such a beautiful place.
    With love

  2. November 9, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Dear Meriel, I’m so glad you liked my story. I wrote it as a reminder of how to live my life – having faith that I am always supported by the Universe and that the Divine will provide me with what I need, but not necessarily the way I want it. I consider you one of my “Swan Feathers” from heaven when I think about how we were brought together. I would be happy for you to include it in your next book, as long as you include my copyright with a statement about “Permission to Reprint from Author” or something of the like, since I also plan on including my story in a book I am working on. I can’t wait to meet you next year.
    Much love,

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