Dreaming Pelicans

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As I open up further to the possibilities that life presents, I’m also more aware of the signs directing me in a positive direction. When I pay attention to what’s going on around me, the signs indicate to feel secure in my life, that things will work out. When I can get outside of my fears and back to my center, I feel a sense of calmness no matter what is going on in both my own and the larger world. The following recent experiences elucidates what I mean.   

I was let go from my job in mid-March 2020. On some level I knew that this was a blessing as my vision was much larger than where the organization was “living.” On another level this was frightening. I’ve had to resign from past jobs which was not necessarily what I wanted to do at the time. Going deeper I think this was more about fear of uncertainty than anything else. But resigning led to new adventures, moving me forward in life. (My leaving Lancaster Central Market after 15 months in October 2007 is a good example. As it turned out this propelled me to going overseas to finding my current vocation, as well as, the world.) But there is that tinge of “what will I do?” This time seemed especially difficult given massive unemployment due to the coronavirus.

Although I’m searching for a new job, there isn’t much available. Together with some friends and adaptive athletes we’ve decided to pursue the founding of our own non-profit organization. Based on my research there is little doubt that there are huge gaps in opportunities to participate for adaptive athletes. But given the times, i.e. high unemployment, cash strapped governments, and a general worldwide recession, I wonder whether starting a new organization makes sense? However, I continue to see signs to move forward.

On Saturday when I was cycling with some adaptive athletes and able-bodied (shadow) riders, I was thinking about what kind of “fight” there will be once the new organization is launched. From my experience, the currently existing small adaptive sports organization which I worked for does not focus enough on the athletes and their needs/wants. As I was riding, I was thinking, do I really want to go through this?

The overall ride was 24 miles. We always see many other riders, all very friendly people. After we were about 18-20 miles in, a rider with a prosthetic from his knee to the pedal started riding beside us. The prosthetic was pretty highly advanced and made exactly for cycling. As he came close, he said to one of the riders, “Hey Will, guess who this is?” (Will has a sight impairment.) Michael P., another rider with our group, gave Will a hint citing the prosthetic but Will still didn’t know who it was. Finally, the rider said, “this is Lee,” which made Will very excited!

Lee is Will’s prosthetist at Hangar, a national organization that works specifically to fit prosthetics. Will had an appointment on Tuesday with Lee. When I worked for my past organization I had emailed and called Lee numerous times, but he had never responded. Meeting Lee now was a clear sign to get out of my malaise and move forward with the new organization.

I recall a number of other examples that have occurred regarding the new organization. Whether it is the generosity of our board members, the ease in which we’ve been able to attract people to join us, the pace with which we are moving forward with developing business documents and applying to the state and federal governments in order to establish ourselves, or the time that we met Aaron, who will be on the board, and he said, “Let’s do a ride this summer.”  (I’ve written a previous story about Aaron and the Church of Latter Day Saints, in finding a basketball court to start wheelchair basketball, Himalayan Times, “Divine Intervention”, 1/12/20. Another clear sign.)

Another sign that things will work out came on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. On Saturday night, Yasuyo and I watched Storm Boy, an Australian movie about the relationship between a young boy and a pelican. The boy raises the pelican, Mr. Percival, and his two brothers, Mr. Proud and Mr. Ponder, after a hunter kills their mother.

The young boy had multiple issues to deal with, e.g. living with his father on a deserted beach. The father is a fisherman and, along with the boy, has to take his boat to the nearest town to buy supplies. The boy’s mother and sister had been killed in a car accident. This caused the father to want to remove himself and his son from the outside world. 

When the boy found the hatchlings, he, along with an aboriginal man, Fingerbone, who was also living outside of the boundaries of society, put the birds in the boy’s sweater, which he then brought to his home. The boy’s father agrees to let the boy raise the birds which he did through their adulthood. Two of the pelicans flew off but one, Mr. Percival, after being let go returned to be with the boy. There is more to the story as the young boy, now a grandfather, recounts this to his granddaughter, who has also lost her mother.

Sunday morning at around 9 a.m. I decided to walk to the small pond on the golf course in back of our flat. (I don’t ordinarily do this during the day but rather go in the evening to do some exercises.) As I neared the pond, I noticed a rather large bird swimming. Typically, I only see ducks in the pond, although once I saw a heron. As I neared the pond, I saw the outline of a pelican!

I moved closer and sat down on the bank and watched the pelican glide through the water. Why would a pelican be here? We aren’t close to the beach. I would think that the closest place that I would find a pelican would be the Salton Sea, which is about 45 miles from where we live.

After watching the pelican for about 20 minutes, he majestically lifted from the pond and with his huge wings flew north. Will I ever see him or another pelican again in this pond? 

I rushed home to tell Yasuyo about the pelican. How could this be a chance encounter? What message was there in this meeting?

I looked up what it means to see a pelican as a “spirit animal” and this is what I found.

“This pelican symbolism teaches you a lot about letting go to make room for something better, just like parrot symbolism. The pelican spirit animal also brings with it release and forgiveness. When the pelican spirit animal crosses your path, you are being encouraged to forgive yourself and let go of negative feelings.

“In addition to resourcefulness, the pelican spiritual totem commonly symbolizes social responsibility and active attributes, such as social, teamwork, charity, generosity and friendliness. Pelicans encourage us to develop friendly, caring, and supportive relationships with members of our own communities, as well.”

Although I am upset about being let go from my last job, I realize that there were too many roadblocks to make much progress.

The pelican is telling me to let go of the “fight,” to move on with my life and help, along with my friends, to develop this new non-profit. Although the timing might seem strange, the fact is that now is the best time to do this. The pelican is telling me to take “my gifts” and use them to perform more positive actions in the world. The signs are clear: it’s time to fly.

Position: Lover of Life-Change Agent

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