As I was sitting on our porch at sunrise this morning, five sandhill cranes in the field across from me began bugling in chorus.  Even though I was still half-awake, hearing that symphony immediately put a big smile on my face.  

Reveling in the sound, I remembered the profound experience I had  one Spring day, many years ago.  Courtesy of these majestic birds.

I was NOT in a good space that day.  I awoke feeling completely overwhelmed, discouraged, ANGRY and alone.  I don’t remember exactly why but it probably had to do with the fact that I wasn’t happy with my life.  We didn’t have any debt but I still didn’t feel abundant.  Those were the days when I had scaled my income and our lifestyle back to “just enough”.  This provided time for me to go on long walks, work in the garden and do things that fed my soul.   

I was still living in the “either/or” archetype of scarcity.   Either I worked super long hours to make a lot of money OR I made less money so I had time for things I enjoyed. 

Of course, as an “abundance coach”, I couldn’t tell anyone this.  If they knew the truth, they may not hire me and then I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills.  So I kept it all inside, hiding the truth, ACTING like I was happy and grateful, that I loved myself and my life.  In other words, I stuffed it.  And on that particular morning, I couldn’t ignore it any longer.  It erupted in an inner tirade of self-loathing, frustration, anger and helplessness.

I couldn’t focus on anything.    I tried journaling – venting all the disgust I was feeling toward myself and my life onto the page.  It didn’t help. So I decided to go on a “talk-with-God-walk”.  I walk along country roads, talking, ranting, questioning, praying, venting and crying to God.   OUT LOUD. 

I remember this walk for two reasons.  First, because I was really in a DARK place.  Tears streamed down my face as I raged at God and at myself.  Mostly, at myself.   I felt angry and disgusted – ashamed of myself.  It’s not often I am THAT hard on myself.  But on that day, all I could see was how screwed up, incompetent, inadequate, and stupid I was.    And what a disappointment and failure I had become.

Not only was I judging myself harshly, I was talking to God thinking that God was doing the same.  That God saw me the same way.   That God was disappointed in and disgusted by me and what I had done with my life too.

That’s when – through the tears –- I saw THEM. 

Two of my beloved sandhill cranes were in a field – no more than 15 yards from me.   It’s a testament to their tranquility that I didn’t scare them off with all my ranting and sobbing.  🙂

I just stared at them – awestruck and filled with wonder.  I stood there, mesmerized, tears drying on my cheeks.  As I watched, they spread their wings and hopped around each other in a mating dance.    I heard them “talking” to each other in a low, throaty sound that I call “crane sexy voice”.  A couple of times, they bugled joyously.  Nearly 10 minutes went by before they began to slowly walk away.  

Watching these ancient and beautiful birds, all that had been weighing on me disappeared.  Standing there, my anger, my fear, my loneliness, my frustration dissolved.  I stood there, mute – fully present to and transfixed by them.

 And that’s when GOD started talking to me, beginning with a question I had never considered…

Teresa, what would happen if you responded to YOURSELF the same way you respond to these cranes?   What if you looked at YOURSELF with the same reverence and wonder, curiosity and fascination?

Your cranes don’t set goals to achieve.  They don’t feel like failures if they don’t accomplish something.  They don’t judge themselves or compare themselves.  They walk and eat in the fields.  They dance.  They fly overhead.  They sit placidly on their nests in the Spring.   Whatever they do,  you are fascinated.  You love them, value them and see their beauty and worth.   

You do this, my dear, with ALL of creation – MY creation – except yourself.   

It is time for that to stop.   It is time for you to see YOURSELF as the Divine Creation and miracle you are.  As the miracle, the wondrous, unique, gifted and beautiful human being you are.   It is time for you to see YOURSELF as part of MY creation – the creation that I declared “good” from the beginning.  Your beauty, your worth, your lovability is not defined by what you do or do not do.  It is not defined by how much or how little money you have.   

You are beautiful and worthy of love, respect, awe, compassion, appreciation.  This is so because I created you and I live in you.  You are in Me and I am in You.

The way you look at the cranes is how I look at you, Teresa.  It is time for you to see yourself this same way.

As I let those words sink in, I started crying again – this time tears of wonder, relief, freedom, joy and gratitude. 

My beloved cranes gave me a life-changing gift that day.  It was the gift of beginning to see myself with eyes of love, appreciation, gratitude and wonder.   It’s an experience and a message I have never forgotten.   

Now when I start getting hard on or feel ashamed of myself, I remember that day watching that pair of cranes.   And the message I heard.  It supports me to again practice seeing myself with love, wonder, appreciation and respect.  No matter what’s happening in my life.  No matter what I have or have not done.  

I share this with you, my friend, with the hope that my story reminds YOU of the Truth of who you are.  That it supports you to see yourself through eyes of love. To see and embrace yourself as the beautiful human being and Divine Creation you are.

Because that’s how the One who created you sees you… ALWAYS!