A small Western Screech Owl started nesting in our yard about this time last year. She came like a little, wild angel, just when we began our first COVID stay-at-home orders. My wife and I gratefully watched for her at twilight, learned about her ways, and admired her quietly fierce beauty. Later in the spring, we saw her children poke their heads out of the owl box and then fledge into the neighborhood trees.
This winter, when I listened for a new Brave Joy Collective art and practice that might bring some inspiration, our dear owl came to mind. I thought we all could use some of her clear-seeing along with the thrill of being trusted with her presence. And as I started painting her portrait, Owl brought along some other animal friends-- including Fox, who has showed up five times now in my art. No doubt I have more to learn about Fox's cunning, adaptability, and intuition!
When the human community in our time seems to have lost some of its guiding light and wise leadership, we need all the teachers, images, and kinds of insight we can gather! Our friends Owl, Fox, and Elephant seem to invite us to admire and receive their wisdom. But I'm sure they also want us to investigate and expand our own. If animals can be known for smart qualities and ways of being, why can't we?
So I wonder: What’s your main wisdom style? How do you find, know, or make a good way in the world? Do you like trial and error? Do you glean tips and tricks from stories you hear? Maybe you watch and imitate those you admire. Do you follow a tradition, listen for guidance, read instructions, or use your own unique strategy? If you were an earth creature (which you are), for what wise way would you be known?
Are there times when your smarts and talents aren't enough to meet the challenges at hand? What happens then?
If you need more wisdom, could you try using a new-to-you wisdom style, learned from a fellow being? As a community, could we each bring our best knowing and asking into a kind of conversation where we hear all the good ways of moving in the world? What kind of collective wisdom could we create together? What networks of innovation, care, and hope could we weave?
Obviously, paintings and wonderings alone won't meet all the deep challenges we're facing. But maybe this bit of wisdom that I've been given could create something more when it's added to yours, and to ours, and to the wisdom of the Universe shining in the heart of our friend Owl.
Big thanks yet again to the Brave Joy Collective whose support helped me make this art image and so many others.