There is an owl outside my window.
Okay, maybe not right outside my window, but it is somewhere close by in the woods.
And I hear it.
Not every morning. I’m not even sure it is most mornings. But often. Whether it is through an open window, or as I stand in the morning twilight with the dog, I hear it. Often enough I am not surprised by its hoots.
I’ve even seen it.
On long walks along the quiet roads it has flown overhead, nearly silent in its flight. Once, it even perched on a branch and watched me. And so I stopped. And we watched each other. For long, long minutes my owl and I.
I see it. I hear it. It’s an owl. It’s my owl.
It’s my owl. I’m sure of it. (but not always.)
How can that be? Owls are rather distinctive birds. They are hard to mistake. So why do I doubt my owl? Why do I doubt myself?
Years and years and years ago when my house was being built, I first saw my owl. Early one morning Cole and I were exploring the great dirt piles of the construction site when the owl flew right over us, in a long arc across open sky from one side of the woods to the next. Cole was in awe. I was so excited when I told our builder.
“Oh no, there are no owls here.” He said.
And I believed him.
He said “If you hear something that sounds like an owl, it’s actually a mourning dove. And what you saw was probably an eagle. You’ve got it wrong. There are no owls.”
And I believed him.
Why? Why would I believe him? Why would I listen to someone else’s opinion instead of trusting my own experience?
And why do I still hear the builder’s voice alongside the hoots of what is clearly an owl?
I even have a picture, buried somewhere in the thousands of moments I’ve captured on my phone, to prove it. A picture of my owl from the day we stood watching one another. I even texted it to a friend.
There. Is. An. Owl. There is my owl.
And it’s time for all of us believe to that. And silence the voices of doubt. Because we all have owls masquerading as mourning doves. We all have truths we have buried under someone else’s beliefs about us. Limiting who we are. What we know. How we trust ourselves.
What message are you holding from someone else that is a limiting belief? How old were you when that limiting belief was pushed at you as truth? And who spoke it first? A parent? A teacher? A coach or doctor or boss? A neighbor? A friend?
It’s exhausting carrying the limits other people hand us.
So let’s let those mourning doves fly free.
And let’s follow our owls down the quiet roads of our own experiences. Let’s trust ourselves.
This week, listen. Listen for your owl. Trust it when you hear it. Hear the truth it is there to teach.
Then speak as an owl. To children, friends, and family. Where have you maybe sounded like a dove? Setting a limiting belief of who they are? This week be the voice that is full of wisdom, that lifts them up, that helps them see their best selves. That invites them to become even more.
Believe the owl. Be the owl.
Hoot. I hear you.