Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
- (Sufi Poet Rumi)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Seeing Conflict from a Bird's Eye View

Nancy Burke Loving a Hundred Year Old Amazon Parrot in her Home

I have recently returned from several weeks of being among bird people, attending bird veterinarian conferences, bird breeding conferences, avian veterinary clinics, and pet bird owners of flocks. There was a time when I could not have spent enjoyable time amongst them, for I thought they were "wrong" for keeping wild birds in captivity. Through the deep work of Compassionate Communication I have learned to see that these people are not wrong, nor am I. Life flows through them just as it does me, striving to bring appreciation, beauty, companionship, and nurturing to their lives. They love birds, I love birds. I care for birds, they care for birds. The difference is, and the potential conflict is, that they choose to do so by keeping birds in cages in their homes, or treating captive birds in their clinics, while I choose to work with wild parrots in Latin America. Our strategies differ, but we are interdependent with one another, not separate, but worthy and lovely. We share life. Because I appreciate our common humanity and might empathize with them, I can be among them, and even more important to me, love them for who they are and keep my heart open to the beauty that is their lives. Striving to relate through common needs does not mean that I do not mourn their strategies. Indeed, after several weeks of being among captive birds and hearing of their hard lives in captivity, I am ready for a break. My heart hurts to witness such suffering. This also doesn't mean that I don't tell others what is going on in my heart. Indeed there were many such discussions. In that sharing, my aching heart does find relief, for at the level of universal needs, of mattering and seeing that other species matter, we were able to connect.

By seeing our discomfort as being at the level of strategy, and not at the level of universal needs, we find ways to empathize with one another, support one another, and hopefully help one another see that we matter so that we can work in ways together that reflect the needs of all beings.

Where do you disengage from others because your strategies differ?

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