The Blue Bird

When I was a young girl (maybe 8 or 9 years old), I watched a play in one of the Moscow’s theaters named The Blue Bird. I may have even seen it more than once. I really enjoyed the story line (based on a French fairy tale), in which the children were searching for the titular blue bird, the symbol of happiness. Only after we moved to Pennsylvania, did I encounter the “blue bird”– a blue jay– for the first time in real life. Of course I fell in love with it. Every time I see it, I consider it a personal message for me from the Universe.

It was Yom Kippur. I often go to my favorite park, Spring Creek, on any day I can, but especially on Yom Kippur. A perfect place for reflection, meditation, rei-ki, or a simple walk along the creek. It was a beautiful day at the end of September. The trees were getting a touch of yellow, the sky was clear, the air just beginning to play autumn notes, the smell of dry pine needles seeping through.

I felt a sudden sense of peace. It was a pure joy (and a relief!) to recognize that fear, anxiety, and anger had subsided to clear the way to a different type of contentment. I realized that it was because I’m no longer seeking justice but praying for peace. The insatiable search for justice often left me paralyzed with rage and resentment. Justice in that immediate sense may not even exist in the context of here and now. When we see tiny glimpses of it, we are witnessing a miracle. We can’t fully comprehend the injustices happening, as it seems, all the time, all around. This was not, however, a thought of defeat, but one of self-care. A constant focus on justice brought with it the endless recordings of injustice, of all things, big or small, that were not right in the world, global or my own. The attention, the energy, the intent went to the past and its faults. This is no way to live the life that, by definition, goes forward, not backward. The cure for resentment is gratitude. It removes the focus from the evil and places it where it belongs—on the good. People are coming and going, passing along and then passing on, away. Like a falling leaf in late September, dancing its way from the top of the tree to the waters of the creek and is taken away by its current, human life unfolds and passes on.

I was walking the path along the creek when I noticed a blue jay. It was sitting on the ground, its tail opened slightly, just for me to get a glimpse of that magnificent shade of blue. It quickly disappeared. I kept walking and on the other side of the park I saw another blue jay (or possibly the same one), sitting on a branch of an oak tree. The bird was resting for only a couple of seconds and then got busy again, moving from branch to branch, twitching its head, knocking its beak, opening the oak acorns. I stood there watching the bird, hoping to catch more of that magical blue color, the color of happiness.

A week or so earlier, I received a card from a dear friend who had recently moved away. She grew up on the other side of the globe and has never heard (as I later confirmed) about The Blue Bird. She picked up that card on one of her trips thinking about me. The card said: “May the bluebird of happiness be always in your nest.” There are no coincidences in this world. This is the best wish one could possibly receive.

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