It’s that time of year again. The geese are beginning to fly in V-formation, making their annual migration south to a warmer winter home.
Early each morning I lazily make my way to my favorite place, the screened in porch. As the sun is rising and the morning mist is lifting, I sit in the stillness and silence and enjoy my “quiet time.”
Over the past several weeks, a rowdy gaggle of geese have been flying overhead each morning. They seem to wait until just over my yard to begin their incessant honking.
I started to wonder if they were talking to me or if there might be a message they were inviting me to hear. I did a little research and was amazed at the pattern that began to emerge.
The life of geese had something to reveal to me about self-care!
Lesson #1: Geese Migrate
Yep, when the going gets tough, the geese get going!
These birds migrate to move from areas of low or decreasing resources to areas of high or increasing resources.
What does migration have to do with self care?
Low resources might look like:
>> an empty refrigerator
>> consecutive nights of less than 7 hours of sleep
>> little to no water consumption throughout the day
>> bottling up your hurt and disappointment to the point where road rage is all but guaranteed when you get behind the wheel
Choose your metaphor here: “running on empty”; “drinking from an empty well”; “blood from a stone”. Any way you say it, It’s time to stop the insanity and replenish your resources.
What are the signs that your inner resources are being depleted? What small act or gift (a deep breath, a walk in nature, a massage, a talk with a friend or a coach) can you offer yourself to replenish your reserves?
Lesson # 2: Geese Listen to their Inner Voice.
Yes, like you and I, geese have an internal GPS system that is always guiding them. How cool is that?!?
In addition to cues from the environment, geese are genetically designed to take care of themselves and seek the best possible environment for themselves. (You go goose!)
Aren’t we the same? How much of our self-care is actually intuitive if we really stop to listen for what we need?
In our noisy, busy, and demanding world, that voice is easily drowned out. What might we here if we really tuned in? We might hear that we need a hug or a break, a walk, or talk.
However, by not listening, by ignoring and tuning out, were simply going against nature, the way we are designed. Even a silly goose knows that!
How do you tune into your inner voice? What practices bring you into the space of hearing, listening, and responding? What keeps you from tuning in? (fear, busyness, the unknown)?
Lesson # 3: Geese Plan & Prepare.
As they are listening to their inner voice and paying attention to their internal and external resources, they are also preparing for that long flight to Florida with no Netflix or on-board meals.
What? That’s right, not even peanuts or pretzels. So they best be stocking up!
In preparation for migration these birds enter a state called hyperphagia. Here they bulk up on food in the preceding weeks to store fat, which they’ll later use for energy on their long journey.
While I’m not recommending you eat a tub of Ben & Jerry’s to up your fat stores to get you through the week, I love how the geese “look ahead” and prepare for what’s to come.
Without planning and preparation you’re a sitting duck.
Planning and preparation take time, but it’s time well invested. Look ahead at the week to come, what do you need in terms of time and space to plan and prepare? Where and when can you make time for these most essential life habits?
Lesson # 4: Geese Don’t Go It Alone.
That’s right, “birds of a feather flock together.”
Geese know that there is strength in numbers and they rely on one another for social support. Together they are stronger and they can go further. (Can I get an Amen?)
This why they fly in a “V” shape, because it conserves energy! The V shape reduces wind resistance, and they each take turns being the leader. This allows them to fly for long distances before they must stop for rest.
Who do you rely on to “fly up front” when you need to take a break? Who is in your “V”? What do you most need from your support system and how can you go about getting that?
The natural world has so much to teach us if we only stop to notice. I’m so glad those honking geese paid me a visit. Little did I know the lovely lessons they were ushering my way.
“Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.” - Julie Andrews