One of the most enjoyable things about the last 18 months has been the birdsong in my neighbourhood. The early bird calls to welcome the day as the sun rises over the park and the empty streets and laneways. The warning calls as they chase the sun to rest across the darkening skies at days end.  Shrieks of delight filling the air as the parrots strip the grevilleas of their spring blooms. Happy squawks as the minor birds splash around in the birdbath in the garden, or screech alert calls of a cat prowling amongst the flowerbeds.

In my neighbourhood, prior to the Covid pandemic, the opportunity to hear such delights was limited. The overriding clamour of close and distant traffic, the scream of planes coming and going, people making their way to work, home or somewhere else equally important, invaded our senses.  The clamour we unconsciously accept as being the way things are in inner city Sydney.

It’s the price you pay for living in the city – constant unquestioned noise. And no doubt it will return once we come out of lockdown.

Now the birdsong may seem like a strange thing to focus on. But to me it symbolises stillness. The noise has dropped off and I can hear not only the birds, but also myself think.  An opportunity to listen and hear what nature has to offer as I contemplate my navel in lockdown.  An occasion to sit, reflect and enjoy the stillness. It has been refreshing.

The stillness is providing time, without all the peripheral clamour, to reflect on life.  It is sustaining my wellbeing as I clear the clutter – both material and mental – and return to what is important. The stillness is allowing me to breathe more deeply and, as Polly writes, access my multidimensionality.  I’ve had a chance to revisit my values and virtues, to create a new future vision, to evaluate my community connections, to reset goals and possible achievements, to hit refresh and get clear about what really is important to me in this rapidly changing world.

I encourage you to take an opportunity now – or at any time – to enjoy the stillness and to listen to what the birds in your neighbourhood have to say. It’s the little things, right!

© First published via the Mannaz Journal – reprinted here with permission.