It’s a few months ago now. I was teaching yoga somewhere in Central America. There was this girl I really got along with. Nothing romantic, just friends. Well, that was what I thought. Little did I know. She lived there, I passed through, as I always do. I come, stay, teach and wander on.
One night we were sitting by the ocean, looking at the waves rolling in. The flames of the campfire danced before our eyes. The moon lightened our faces. She took my hand, held it for a while and said: ‘I love you so much I want to keep you with me forever. I want to put you in a cage and throw away the key, so you can’t go anymore and stay with me. Be mine.’
An old lady and a beautiful bird
Her words reminded me of a story. I think it was written by Paulo Coelho, but I’m not sure. It’s a story of an old lady and a beautiful bird. This old lady goes for a walk every morning. One day she sees a beautiful bird majestically hovering in the sky. She watches the bird and immediately falls in love with it. Every morning she returns to the same place and every morning the bird is there. She sits, watches it speechless and feels that same excitement in her heart again.
The bird spots the lady, day after day. He gets used to her being there. Starts to trust her and one day he decides to come down on the tree just in front of her. The old lady is thrilled having the bird so close. She admires the amazing colors of his feathers and – being so close – even loves him deeper and deeper.
Days goes by and every day the bird comes a little closer and every day the old lady falls more in more in love with him. One day she walks back when she suddenly stops. She can’t put one foot for the other anymore, because this big fear just popped in her mind. What if the bird finds another lady to fly with? What if somebody comes along and steals her bird? What would she do without it. It’s her bird. Without him her life is not complete.
Bird in a cage
Her heart beats like crazy. She shivers. Can’t hardly breath. Then a plans comes up in her mind. The next day she returns. The bird is still there. Again she admires it. When it comes to sit with her, she takes a blanket out of her bag. The birds watches her amused. Not sure of this new thing he sees. Suddenly the old lady throws the blanket over the bird and quickly walks home. There she put the bird in a cage and throws away the key. Now the bird will be forever hers. Nobody can take it away from her. Steal it and it can’t fly away itself anymore as well.
Every morning she comes down the stairs and looks at the bird. Happy she has it. But the bird misses his freedom. He misses flying high in the sky. Cruising around. Being locked up he isn’t himself anymore and he becomes said, depressed. He want to fly, but he’s caged. He wants to be free, but he is locked up. His mood starts to affect his colors. Slowly his feathers turn grey. Pale.
At first the lady doesn’t notice it. In love as she is. Then she still doesn’t see it. She feels there is something different. The bird isn’t the bird she fell in love with anymore. He’s just sitting there. He always looked colorful, now he looks pale. As an average bird. She starts to lose interest in him. At first she skips a day watching him. Then a day becomes two days, three and before she knows it weeks go by without looking at the bird. Without feeding him and slowly the bird dies. Locked in his cage.
Even if I had had romantic feelings for the girl above, that would have been the end. Why cage your lover? Why do we want to possess our lover? If we live out of love we don’t have to. Only if we live out of fear. If we love ourselves, we don’t need the other. We have enough love for ourselves and have extra to give. In that case a lover is a precious gift, but not a need. But then we have to love ourselves enough first. Do you? And what drives you? Love or fear? Do you want to cage your lover or can you let your lover be free? Love him/her unconditionally and trust in love?