Last week a friend and I were talking about some challenges in his life and I remembered a line from a poem by Robert Bly:
The albatross that lands on the mast began flying a thousand years ago.
A long time ago, back when we were pure positive energy, we didn’t doubt for a minute that manifesting would be pretty cool. But when we arrive in our physical forms and challenges pop up, we forget that every experience is an opportunity to discover what we really want and to become our best selves.
We don’t need circumstances to be pleasing, or for others to make things easier for us, or to give us praise, or even acknowledgement. It’s wonderful to get those things - but not at all necessary.
What’s necessary is to know that we’ve got everything we need inside us for a great journey. By the fact of our existence we are worthy of love and all good things. We already are love and all good things.
It’s funny, I think my albatross metaphor distracted him, because, as it turns out, he is quite a bird lover and has a bit of an issue with the albatross.
“Wait a second,” he said, “The albatross? That’s like a dodo bird. And it symbolizes adversity.” Moments after we hung up I received an email from him, citing a Wikipedia entry:
An albatross is a central emblem in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It is from the poem that the usage of albatross as a metaphor is derived; someone with a burden or obstacle is said to have 'an albatross around their neck', the punishment given in the poem to the mariner who killed the albatross.
So he didn’t like the metaphor, but after learning more about the albatross, I think it is very apt.
First of all, going back to the poem, the sailor was punished because he had destroyed something that was considered sacred. When we forget or are unable to see that we have come to this planet to accomplish something special, it is a similar waste.
We are here to do good work and do it well. Experiencing joy is the greatest measure of our success. And when we focus on what is not going well, it’s like we are hanging the albatross around our necks.
On the other hand, live albatrosses are symbols of effortlessness. And here again, I think the metaphor is apt. Also from Wikipedia:
Albatrosses are amongst the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses (genus Diomedea) have the largest wingspans of any extant birds…They are highly efficient in the air, using dynamic soaring and slope soaring to cover great distances with little exertion.
Knowing some of the cool attributes of albatrosses, who wouldn't love them? And you know what's also cool? Covering great distances with little exertion is what my coaching practice is all about!
I hope you will visit my website and discover more: I offer a free E-Book about the benefits of humor, lots of inspiring articles and science-based coaching programs - all intended to help you create a life you love!
This week I'm rejoicing in the lessons of the albatross!