Design Elements

This morning our backyard is filled with bluebird song. There are 3 to 5 of them up in the trees, flying about and announcing to the world that this is an extraordinary morning. Other birds – cardinals, robins and the like, are playing the rhythm section in the background. Lead guitar is firmly with the bluebirds. And of course it’s by design – keep filling the feeder, put up the birdhouse and they reward you with song. The opposite is true as well. I stopped filling the other feeders in May and the cardinals, jays and finches have receded into the background. This immediately prompts thoughts of the Cherokee story about the two wolves for me (which wolf wins? The one you feed), but in a slightly different way.

We all design our lives to attract what we desire into it. The work we do, the people we surround ourselves with, the habits we form, and the media we consume are all design elements that move us forward on the path or set us off course.  And design doesn’t equal results.  Sometimes the bluebirds fill the yard with song, sometimes the timing is off or they’re filling someone else’s yard.  My neighbor on the other side of the fence gets the same bluebird song without earning a bit of it (Then again he’s not outside to hear it anyway).  You keep doing the right things and eventually you build the life you’ve wanted for yourself.  And sometimes the rewards you’ve earned benefit others.  I planted daffodil bulbs on the corner of our street with the main street.  Those daffodils rewarded thousands of people driving by, though the majority of those people barely noticed them at all.  I build playlists and fill the house with music with the same intent, and perhaps the same result.  I’ve built an itinerary for Scotland in the fall that I’m especially excited about.  Hopefully the results surpass the design.

I tend to fill social media with pictures of the kids, the garden, places I’ve travelled to and  generally the positive things about plodding through this life together.  Plenty of people use the same platform for negativity or to point out things they’re angry about, to cry for attention, or to somehow teach the rest of the world that they were right all along about something or other.  Who knows which of us is right, but I do know that’s not for me.  Whenever I post something I’m angry about I feel like I’ve taken a step back in my own development, so I try to filter it out before it lands.  Abraham Lincoln had a drawer full of angry letters to his generals and other people that he never sent.  I’m trying my best to use social media the same way.  What moves us all forward?

My morning was filled with bluebirds and hummingbirds and the sound of thousands of drops of water hitting the ground as the tree leaves shake off the overnight rain in the breeze.  My evening will be filled with celebration and music and friendship.  In between I’ll so the work that must be done to enable all of that.  Yard work and cooking and building playlists and touching base with family and friends.  In general being actively engaged with life…  and the life you want.  You never know if the bluebirds will come, but you do what you can to attract them anyway.

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