Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

Focus Finding Mission

I open Twitter and see the people doing it right: they focus on their niche, consistently tweeting on the same topic; their tweets have a distinctive voice and are routinely clever, or inspirational, or snarky, as befits their persona; their posts are nicely spaced, appearing every hour, around the clock.

I know this is the right way to build an audience, establish credibility, and attract a following. Every now and then, I attempt to follow these rules. Then, I get distracted. I retweet something, just because I like it. I type a random thought that came to me in the shower. I tweet 50 times one day, and then don’t tweet for days, or weeks.

I have a jumping-around kind of mind. My interests and thoughts scatter a hundred times in a ten-minute conversation. Ideas spin off, sometimes on rapid straightaways, sometimes into deep rabbit holes, sometimes in a thousand directions, like sparks of fireworks.

Source of Scatter

For 30 years, I was the consummate good girl. I created lists and schedules. I color-coded my school notes and files. I adhered to guidelines, suggestions, and shoulds. For 30 years, I thought the true me was the ultimate rule-follower.

From 30 to 40, courtesy of my children, I discovered all the ways that rules do not work. I stumbled upon books about alternative health care, natural living, positive parenting, and expanded world views. I realized that my rule-following youth was not a projection of Me, but a coping mechanism for surviving in a crazy world.

For the past few years, I’ve been learning to recognize my multidimensional self, to honor my non-linear thought process, and to unearth the real True Me. My tweets and blog posts reflect my winding, confusing journey. I may not be doing Twitter and blogging, right, but I’m doing it my way. I celebrate that.

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Through the Keyhole

I live with four other people, so our home decor reflects our collective energy. But the surface of my desk, is all mine.

On the far left corner of my desk, stands a vase of swan and hawk feathers. Each was lifted from the ground, by me. The feathers are from a magical land, on which my great grandmother spent weeks with my mother when my mother was a child; where my sister and I spent the majority of our childhood summers with our mother and grandmother; the place which has delighted me and my children for the past seventeen summers.

I do not recall picking up such glorious feathers as a child. I only remember seeing small feathers, the deep blue of jays and small brown feathers of unknown species.

About ten years ago, a pair of swans graced us with their presence. Each spring, they built a giant nest at the unaccessible, southern edge of the lake. The mother would sit on her eggs while the father swam around protectively. The cygnets would hatch in early summer, and we’d watch them disappear, by ones and twos, prey of snapping turtles. One summer, a cygnet reached maturity and its parent taught it to run along the water, rapidly flapping its wings, until it took flight.

The swans like to feed and groom near our beach. A few years ago, as they molted, they left a deposit of long, white feathers in the grass near the shore. I collected the prettiest. Many were frayed at one side, from use.

I kept the feathers in a plastic cup on my bookshelf at the summer place for a few summers. After, I titled by first book, Swan Mothers,I brought the feathers home and upgraded their container to a pretty vase.

In 2013, my son and I were walking in the woods in early spring. Wandering through a grove a maples, I found a large, brown and white striped feather. Then another and another. I photographed them and shared on Facebook. My cousin wrote, “Beautiful red-tailed hawk feathers. Just don’t take them home. It’s illegal to have them, to prevent poaching.” I deleted the photo, but kept the feathers.

After the first find, in a park, I began finding hawk feathers at the summer place. I watched the hawks circling and swooping, and listened to their distinctive cries.

The burst of white mute swan feathers and striped red-tailed hawk feathers remains on my desk. The feathers bless me with the Medicine of the winged ones. They agitate the air. They remind me to ride currents. They show me that I can rise above it all, and glide.

Swan Medicine: Swan can show you how to access the inner beauty within yourself and in others. Swan represents communication between the worlds, and is and excellent guide to the therapeutic powers of land, water, and air.

Hawk Medicine: Hawk awakens vision and inspires a creative life purpose. A Hawk totem is filled with responsibility because Hawk people seek the overall view. A Red-Tailed Hawk Totem has direct ties to the Kundalini, the seat of primal life force.

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