As the New Year eases in and the old eases out we are given so many opportunities to look at what we want to take forward with us into the New Year. Do we take the dramas of the past, or leave them in the past. Do we move forward positively looking at our patterns and habits and taking the good ones with us, or do we start the year feeling exactly the same as we did last year. These are all our choices and in celebrating that we have those choices then we can be exactly the change we need for us. As the New Year comes in I said goodbye to one of the Guides who has impacted my life so much, he came and helped me to see the damage I was doing to myself in my own expectations and he taught me massively about the healing power of self-love. Jobe, I’m forever in your debt for showing me how much we can close down our hearts when we think we do not deserve our own love. I love this parable and I hope you love it as much as I do, as it simply makes perfect sense.
The Lark and the Sparrow:
In an open plain, in a land of flowing grasses lived a Sparrow and a Lark. Every day the lark would soar to the heights of the sky and ride the currents of the wind like a surfer of the seas. The song of the lark was so beautiful that other animals would stop and listen to the lark as it sang across the bluest of skies. It’s beautiful wings would curve so wonderfully to catch the winds and its black eyes gleamed in the sleekness of its feathers.
The sparrow sighed, for a very, very long time he had loved the lark so much. However, the lark always was busy and always was popular, the other birds clustering around to hear her sing so he watched her from afar and admired her beauty and grace. He looked down at his own drab brown feathers and short wings and criticised himself for ever thinking he could be worthy of such a beautiful birds love. He shuffled sadly on the twig and gazed out to the evening skies.
The next morning the sparrow was still criticising himself for all of his flaws and his failings, so when the other sparrows flew of to make the most of the day, the small sparrow huddle morosely on the twig and just looked sadly at the day. I wish I was bigger, brighter, more wonderful so that the lark would truly see who I am, thought the small sparrow as he fluffed up his feathers. I wish I was just perfect so I could be perfect for her. The little bird closed his eyes for a moment in dismay and continued to grumble to himself about how ugly he was, undeserving and unlovable, so much so that he didn’t even notice the lark land gently beside him.
She looked over the sparrow carefully, she could not see where he had been hurt, she could not see why he was sitting with his eyes closed on the twig, all puffed up and odd-looking. She leaned in closer and stared at him for a long time. She loved the browns of his coat and the jaunty brown cap on his head, the way that he always was so quick to laughter and was a dare-devil at getting himself into places and back out again, but she was worried because she had never seen him quite so morose before. She waited for a long time but still the sparrow didn’t notice in his criticising of himself the beautiful lark beside him. She leaned forward and poked him gently with a wing tip.
Startled the sparrow nearly fell of the twig. His eyes pinged opened and he looked into the concerned eyes of his beloved lark. He felt mortified, what was she doing here, why was she beside him of all people. He stared at her and she asked politely “Are you okay?” The sparrow was so flustered by her appearance that he really didn’t know what to say at all. He resorted to saying only “I’m not having a good day”. The lark stared at him carefully for another few moments and then she said “When I have bad days, I go to a special place. Would you like to come?”
The sparrow was delighted. “Yes” he replied. The lark took to the skies with the sparrow following her and they winged across the meadows and into the trees beyond. The lark took special care to slow herself so the small sparrow could keep up as she glided through the trees and came out at a small waterfall. She landed gently beside the beautiful water fall and looked down into the small pond below her. The sparrow slightly puffing landed beside her and looked around in amazement. “This is truly beautiful” he said. The lark smiled “Always come to a place where you can see the beauty around you when you feel blue”. The sparrow gazed at her lovingly “I’ll remember that” he said.
The lark in seriousness turned to the sparrow and said “Look down into the pond and tell me what you see”. The sparrow looked into the pond and saw his reflection. He cringed inside and thought to himself, how ugly, a drab brown bird sitting beside this beautiful lark. He thought for a moment how he could word it more politely but then gave up. “I see a drab brown sparrow and a beautiful lark”. The lark was startled for she never saw a drab sparrow but the beauty of his courage, the warmth of his heart and the laughter of his soul.
She asked the sparrow to close his eyes and look with his heart but to really, truly be honest with himself about what he felt. The sparrow wanting to humour the lark completely, sighed and closed his eyes and thought. He then sighed and said “I still see a drab brown bird who wants more than anything to be a lark”. There he had said it, he had blurted out how he felt. There was silence from the lark and he cracked open an eye and looked at her, waiting for her reaction.
The lark was crying and the sparrow was horrified. “What is wrong” he cried in concern and wrapped his wings around the sobbing lark. The lark stepped back a bit on the twig from the sparrow and wept. The sparrow could not work out what he had said that was so wrong and he waited impatiently until the lark’s sobs had abated.
The lark looked at the sparrow miserably. “How can you accept my love when you do not believe that you are deserving of love as you? How can you accept me for me, when you cannot accept you for you? I do not want you as a lark, I want you as you, but I worry so much we will not be able to love one another when you may accept the love I freely give, but you don’t love you in return”. The sparrow was open beaked in surprise. He had never for a moment even thought that the lark cared about him let alone so deeply.
“But I can love you” the sparrow said “and that would be all I ever needed”. The lark shook her head so sadly. “Do you not understand my beautiful sparrow, that love is never on a condition that someone loves you more it will heal the wounds that you do to your own soul? Do you not understand that with every time you criticise and judge yourself, my love will have to be more, be greater to counter that? Do you not understand that day by day my love will not be able to touch the damage you do to yourself and our love will wither and die? Simply because you do not believe you are worthy of such love?”
The sparrow thought about her words and he thought about how hard he was on himself. His expectations, his wishes he was something more, something other than he was. He didn’t remember when he started to be so hard on himself, he always had been it seemed. He closed his eyes sadly and he mourned all the times he had thought of himself less than what he deserved. He opened his eyes and his wings to the lark. “Give me a chance, to change, to empower me within my love of you, to find the love for me”. The lark shook her head, “You have my love, that is truly a given, but you need your own love more. Don’t worry I will wait and I will help and the day I see the love in you for you, is the day you truly have all of my heart”.
The sparrow smiled, for he knew in his heart he could love himself well and he knew that the lark was right. He needed to love himself first in order to receive wonderfully, massively the love he longed for in return.
Moral of the Story:
If all of me, loves all of you. Is that enough? It never is, because until we start to really love ourselves, we will never recognise or fully appreciate the love from others. People can love us with all of their being, all of their heart and soul, but if we have judged ourselves not worthy of that love, then the carefully given, nurtured and loving essence of another can never truly reach the depths of our soul. All of us are looking for that deep, soul connecting love, yet in the searching we forgot we have to start with us first. How much do you love you? all of you, even the warty, supposedly unlovable bits? No part of you is unlovable, none. The most damage you will do to yourself in this life is your perception of yourself. Start by loving you and you will be surprised completely at how much love there is and always was around you that you never even saw before, let alone allowed into your being.