Peaceful Relations is for the Birds (too)

submitted by Lucy Martin

Carlie & Rayna at riverThis weekend I enjoyed a leisurely walk to the river with Carlie and Rayna. While the dogs were sniffing and prowling about, I had the pleasure of listening and observing what was going on in this microcosm of the greater river system. I noticed that Canadian geese, Mallards, Golden Eyes, seagulls, and killdeer were all sharing the same small area of the river. And that is just who I could see and identify – who and what else was there in that same space that I couldn’t see?

What struck me was that even with similar needs for resources, there was a peacefulness and respectfulness about it all. Each species of bird was acting in ways specific to its kind, creating alliances and vying for food and mates. All with little fanfare in this particular moment. There was a sense of greater good – the geese were the alarmists of the river, and everyone seemed to heed their warnings.

My attention soon was drawn to a commotion across the water above the still naked trees. A couple seagulls were having a discussion with a bald eagle firmly rooted on its branch. My sense was that the eagle was warning the gulls about territory encroachment. The gulls, seemingly not convinced about the need to move along, called in reinforcements. The discussions continued only slightly louder with more voices; the sole eagle held its space and opinion. And very soon the larger group of gulls calmly left the area under contention. No aggression needed.

I know that life along the river is not always idyllic but yesterday there were so many repetitions of peaceful relating that it caught my attention. I reflected on how often we too find ourselves in situations with conflicting needs and desires with others in our environment. How do we choose to attend to and resolve those conflicts?

Do we scream and make our demands known and insist on their higher importance? Do we puff our feathers and aggressively challenge anyone who thinks or feels differently? Do we allow others’ needs to be attended to at the expense of our own? Do we find ways to communicate each one’s needs and find equitable ways to address and meet the needs and concerns of each? What drives our conversations – Winning? Not losing? Not making waves? Mutuality? Peace?

It felt like a gift to have these gentle expressions of conflict, peaceful relations, and mutuality along the river yesterday. So often in the social and news medias we are inundated with expressions of violence and conflict, it can be challenging to remember there is a better way. So I encourage you not to lose sight of healthier ways of communicating your own needs and desires – not in isolation from, but in harmony with others in your environment.

Shirley Lynn is a great resource if you need support and guidance in creating more harmonious and peaceful ways of relating, with your self and with others. Call or email today to book an appointment and get back to nature, to Wisdom’s way of peace.

Take time this spring to look for your own signs of peaceful relations in your environment. They are likely more frequent than you have realized before.