owl

I had an owl – and didn’t know it

In fact it was exactly when I found that out that my life started working properly.

People like me, I believe, are born pessimistic, skeptical. Fear of frustration makes us imagine the worst case scenario – and expect it to happen.

On one of these typical days in a person-like-me’s life I go running in the park to sweat the sadness, or anger, out of my body. That is a great treatment against this kind of ailment. Running has always been accompanied by rock and moaning. Here’s the recipe: put on running shoes, grab earphones, head to park. Put some rock music on and start running. The pace is set depending on the feeling – anger or sadness – then moan, breath in, weep, breath out, sing, breath in, sweat, breath out… Not necessarily in that order. And I’ll tell you, sweating will hide your tears, singing will hide your moaning! Repeat whenever needed: success guaranteed! – for about 30 minutes or a few hours.

Well, one day something goes wrong. I am running and rock and moaning but, it might have been out of tiredness, I stop. Look up and notice those huge eyes. Owl eyes. Yes, that’s a real owl! I just stand there for a while, contemplating, before I carry on running. I go past it again and all of a sudden, I’m not moaning, I’m smiling! I don’t realize it at first, but none of this is part of the script.

Now it’s the third time around, and as I’m coming close to where the mysterious bird is, a dog barks threateningly at it and I hear it hoot. That bird is angrier than me! Just as I run right next to the dog, the owl decides to attack it, scratching my forehead with its claw, moving on towards the dog and vanishing, both of them, as I kept on running.

On my forehead, a little bit of blood, in my mind just a thought: I didn’t know I had an owl!!

Yes, the owl was always there and I decided to change my treatment: during my running I stopped to look at it. And as I stopped, I forgot the moaning, the anger… And I started looking more often and forgetting more often. And paying attention to all the things I have, the flowers, the trees, the birds, the fruit, the smells, the sounds… Maybe I wouldn’t have the one I hoped for at the exact moment I wanted it, but I always had what I needed to bring me back, down-to-earth, centered.

 I haven’t seen that owl in a while now. But I frequently find a surprise. The worst case scenario still pops up in my mind – it’s difficult to teach old dogs new tricks – but I don’t really expect them to happen anymore. In fact I don’t even expect to find a surprise. And, thanks to my owl, I way more often get the latter!

Priscila Rocha

Priscila M. Rocha believes everyone can be a superhero and that is how she discovered her super-power - not by a spider bite, but by an owl scratch. She has been a teacher for more than 20 years, and working as a self-employed private teacher for 13 years. She is a CELTA holder and has a degree in Communications from Universidade Metodista de São Paulo. Since she showed signs of depression as a teenager, she started to seek treatment and fell in love with meditation practices, which she brings together with her teaching skills to help her students be more mindful while learning English.

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