It doesn’t matter how many times life knocks you down, but sometimes a tiger loses its claws, and an eagle breaks its wings.
“Calm down, it’s no big deal, pull yourself together!” – can you hear anything worse than that in moment when you are lost in a deep hole? Such words could be the final nail in the coffin for someone.
This is how you know a real friend: instead of empty and useless encouragement, they will pull you from this horrible, black, damp and terrifying hole by the hair.
It isn’t something that can be done at the speed of light – it’s better to do it slowly and effectively and they understand it, even when you don’t.
I once broke my wing.
The wing, or rather, what was left of it, hurt a lot.
I couldn’t be myself anymore. I couldn’t fly. I couldn’t even didn’t walk, so I hide in my shell.
When you live in claustrophobic space, your thoughts become stunted.
I misses my wings – not just to fly high, but to broaden my thoughts to give myself a space.
But there was no space anymore for me and in me.
There was no sky anymore – I was surrounded by clouds.
I used to fly a lot, so I still remembered and I know that as soon as you break through this huge, grey, sad, melancholy mass – the sky is still blue and the sun still warms you.
I know it’s there. But it’s not my sun anymore. I don’t see it anymore.
And the longer we don’t see something, the more we begin to believe that it doesn’t exist.
When I broke my wing, I thought it was the end of the world.
Who needs a bird that can’t fly? That catches the scent of freedom only in its memories.
That will feel open spaces only in its fantasies.
The more I asked myself who needed me and who I was without my wing, the more my pain turned into numbing helplessness.
The idea that I was once a bird now seemed like just a dream.
Just a fantasy that I mixed up with reality. That’s all I thought of.
Slowly, I changed from an eagle to a hen.
I felt that I was close to becoming something worse than a hen – a motionless egg.
I was regressing. I was on a train without any brakes going downhill.
I’d like to say that some miracle happened because every fairy tale has a happy ending.
But there wasn’t any miracle.
Instead, there were daily conversations with my friend.
She talked to me because I only had the strength to listen.
But she didn’t give up.
She kept chatting like crazy, until finally this one time… she managed to make me laugh.
And she clung to this:
– Can an egg laugh? No! So, you’re no longer an egg.
Then, she gently but firmly forced me onto the road to recovery – she told me to eat breakfast with people rather than reading a book in my room:
– But just breakfast. Eat dinner wherever you want. Just hang in there for half an hour.
She told me to swim:
– Just half an hour, but every day.
After a week, I realized that I was making progress with my journey. And after 2 weeks, I had swum around an entire island. Ok, an islet, but from my perspective, it was like Mount Everest.
I believed that I wasn’t an egg.
My friend told me to go back to meditating:
– You don’t need to fly to do this. Just sit for half an hour. But do it every day.
Every day at 6:00pm, I sat on my terrace and caught what I love most – the rays of the sun, and what loves me most – mosquitoes and bad thoughts.
– Focus on colours. Focus on what is beautiful. Because, you know … there are people who have never seen the sea. And you look at the ocean every day from your terrace. And you see the sunset on the ocean every day. You breathe what others can’t even experience. Send them this gift.
Years ago, my teacher told us about a type of meditation that helps others in tough times. We send them the most beautiful things that we have. At that time, I sent a bird’s eye view of the universe.
– Don’t be so dramatic. Now you also don’t have such a terrible view. For me it’s minus 10 degrees, for you it’s plus 25. I have some dirty sludge that was once called snow outside my window, and you have mountains, the forest, and the ocean. So, if you don’t want to send that to others, send me a little. I won’t refuse it.
After a few days, a 9-year-old boy started coming to me:
– Can I sit with you? – he said.
– Do you know how to meditate? – I asked.
– Yes. Meditating is sitting and being happy with the fact that you exist.
That’s probably the nicest definition of meditation I’ve ever heard from someone who lives in a third-world country.
– Julia, talk to him. Or don’t. Listen to him. Let him be with you. But the question is – what can you offer him to make him come to you daily and want to sit with you? So, you probably give him something. After all, he’s not a masochist. You know, this isn’t the age for that.
I don’t know what Malik got out of our relationship, but he came every day. At 6:00pm – like clockwork. He lit an anti-mosquito candle, and we meditated together. Later, he began bringing his sister, Trinity. I had my own meditation group :) Once, Trinity said: “I don’t need to meditate today, I can just watch the sunset. It’s so beautiful!” To which Malik said: “That’s meditating…”
It took a few days, maybe even a few hours, for me to transform from an eagle into a hen and from a hen into an egg.
It took 75 days to heal my wing.
It took 75 days to get back to being myself.
No, not to fly. That took me a little longer.
But to believe that I’d fly once again, 75 days was enough.
– You always say ‘born to fly – won’t crawl.’ So, dear, the ground isn’t your destiny, but since you’re already here – and you definitely won’t be here soon enough- enjoy it a little. You also say, ‘everyone has their karma and must live through it.’ You have wings. Maybe a little bruised, but they’re your karma. There’s no pressure, my dear. Those born to fly will always find a way. So, take care of what’s happening now.
Seventy-five days of emotional rehabilitation. I succeeded because there was a person with me the entire time who didn’t let me down even when I asked her to give it a rest for both our sakes. She stayed with me because “you don’t negotiate with terrorists.” She became my terrorist who I couldn’t negotiate with.
Lesson number one that comes from my experience: when someone says to “pick yourself up”hang up the phone. No one but you should tell you what you feel and whether you have the right to feel this way. Stay away from people like this because they’re looking for a quick solution.
Seventy-five days is a long time. But being an egg your whole life – that’s even longer.
Make friends with those who will call you like a maniac and say: “Remember about breakfast with other people tomorrow, OK? And swim tomorrow. Focus on what is nice NOW”.
My friend imposed a rhythm on me and created rituals. They were my lifeline. Small and gentle. But she firmly made sure that I wouldn’t run away from them.
No appealing to common sense.
Or to sick children in Africa.
An unimposing but firm friendship.
Total and absolute acceptance.
Gentle but thoughtful persuasion.
Total access to a helping hand, regardless of the black hole’s depth.
For the whole 75 days.
And always, whenever you need it.But when I was ready – she set me free. And that is second important lesson: in real friendship we don’t want slave of gratefulness. We want to help because we love, bit because we want to feel how great we are.
“Everybody breaks their wing sometimes. Born to fly – WILL FLY. Go ahead and fly, and call whenever you land. Or don’t call – send a text. Do what you want – and make sure you feel good.”
Apparently, there are people out there who don’t believe friendship between women exists.
I also don’t believe it because it’s not a question of believing.
I KNOW that it exists.
Now, from a bird’s eye view, I see that it’s bigger and more important than I thought it was when I landed on the ground for those 75 days.
When your wing will be hurting, I’ll also be there for you.
75, 175, or however many days you need to start flying again.