Schooled by a blue jay

Have you ever had the feeling that what you are seeing is specifically for you?

Last month I packed up my car, snuggled my family, and took a drive that included rolling hills and majestic oaks, a squadron of pelicans flying loose in formation, swooping hawks, and ocean vistas. One after another, the beauties arrived; and every mile out of LA, I could feel my soul feeding deeper and deeper. But none of those sites was “meant” for me.

I arrived a few hours later at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in Central California to meet a client for her Shero’s Retreat. Getting out of the car, I could smell the clean of the ocean just a few miles away and the vague scent of sulphur from the springs on the hill. And, of course, there were the trees — giant sycamores — that filled my heart with glee.

All together, this was nourishment I didn’t know I needed. To be in this place, about to do this work, was setting my soul on fire. (I shouldn’t have been surprised, of course. That is what it feels like to be living right smack on purpose. But it surprised me anyway.)

What was especially exciting is that I knew my client would soon be feeling the same way. My sense of nourishment, activation, and alignment was, I knew, a preemptive reflection. Wheeling over the bridge to my room, under the arms of the sycamores now so close, my lungs felt huge and I was flooded with peace.

My first morning in the trees (for that’s what it was — a room in the tree tops), I went out on my deck and found a blue jay (a scrub jay, actually). It was sitting atop the lattice above my mineral springs tub and looking right at me.

I froze for a moment.

I have exactly zero relationship with blue jays. I have what I would call “power animals” in my life, but jays are not even remotely among them. I don’t often see jays and, when I do, they don’t command my attention or otherwise impress themselves upon me.

This jay was different. This jay was waiting for me.

“Hmm,” I said to the bird. “Hello.”

The jay hopped down from the lattice onto the railing of the deck, closer to me.

“Yes,” I said, “I see you. Standing there.”

The jay hopped a bit on the railing, still looking at me.

“You’re hard to miss, staring at me.”

He flew to the edge of the roof over my bedroom, pecked a bit, then flew back to the lattice, then back to the rail.

“Are you looking for food, you little thief?” I asked in my most affectionate voice. Power animal or not, jays are notorious thieves.

“Well, I’m sorry to say I’ve not yet had breakfast, so you’re out of luck.”

He hopped onto the table as if to see for himself.

“You’re a confident bird,” I marveled. “Someone’s been feeding you, haven’t they?”

He continued to hop around, going about his business checking this spot and that, pecking, listening, looking at me. Then he flew off and I went inside to prepare for the day’s adventures. But the next day, and every day, sometimes more than once a day, there he’d be.

And the more he showed up, without ever getting food for his efforts, the more I felt he was there for me. A messenger (or message) in the shape of a bird.

I had a good friend a million years ago who had a deep relationship with the creatures of the world. She’d been trained by a Native American shaman and I loved the way she received teachings from nearly every encounter with a living thing. I learned a lot from her, and it made me sensitive to the “medicine” of animals. But the jay had me stumped.

The only thing I knew about jays was that they steal things, and that when we were kids, my sister gave string cheese to a jay we called Cheeser who, understandably, frequented our yard.

I didn’t think this blue jay’s appearance had anything to do with my sister or cheese, and when I wondered about stealing (was I committing some “theft” or allowing a theft to be committed against me?) I came up blank. Surely I wasn’t being counseled to become a thief.

On the last day of the retreat, after a powerful ritual the night before helping my client give conscious death to her outmoded self and stunning birth to her nearly empowered self, I was lounging in my mineral tub. We’d finished the last of our day’s work, and closed our retreat with a lovely completion ceremony. My client was in the spa getting her massage, and I was allowing the trees and the water to help me integrate all the magic we’d created and replenish my stores. Who do you think showed up?

He landed on the lattice, nearly hanging himself off the edge to look at me.

“What is it with you?” I asked with some exasperation.

He bounced a bit, hopped on top of the lattice, looked around, then swung himself under to see me.

We communed a bit longer as I felt the now VERY familiar feeling he was there for me and, when he finally flew away, I reached for my phone. (I was dying to do it when he first landed, but it seemed a bit rude, the bird being there for me and all!)

“Blue jay medicine” I typed into Google.

Roughly quoted: Jay’s gifts include understanding how to use power wisely, being in the eternal now, fearlessness, resourcefulness, and adaptability using the least effort possible. When Blue Jay Medicine grabs your attention it is asking you to embrace your God-given assets. If jay has flown into your life, this may be a signal that you are coming into a time where you can help the inherent wisdom that lies within you (within us all!) to mature. Blue Jay’s message is about embracing life to the fullest wherever you land and pursuing that which you love at all times.

It couldn’t have been a more timely message.

As the retreat had proceeded through its moments — tentatively setting intentions, entrusting fears to the fertile earth, telling stories over dinner, soaking in the healing waters, feeling wounds be washed clean, setting stronger intentions, feeling the power rise, offering limitations to the flame, creating a vision for the future, allowing deep purpose to emerge, gleefully engaging new skills, laughing, and dancing, and eating great food, telling more stories, asking good questions, activating the vision, feeling new strength, and generally having a ball –I could feel myself expanding right along with my client. The more she released old beliefs and agreements, the more powerless my beliefs and agreements became. The more she embraced her creative power, the more creativity I felt. The deeper she stepped into her purpose, the deeper I stepped into mine.

This, too, should not have surprised me. It is ALWAYS this way.

But this retreat was different. It was as if some splinter of hesitation had been lodged under my skin, some ancient caution that caused me to limit how many retreats I would do, or how thoroughly I would embrace my role as healer and guide. But then blue jay appeared. And before I even knew what it meant, I was receiving the medicine:

Time to embrace your God-given assets. Time to let your inherent wisdom mature. Embrace life to the fullest and do that which you love at all times.

Sitting in the warm waters, the sun shining and the sycamores all around me, I knew it was time to let out all the stops on the Shero’s Retreat, all the stops on me. Blue jay had spoken, and it wasn’t about stealing cheese.

So I’ll be offering additional private retreats this year, and most immediately, I’m so pleased to announce the first ever group Shero’s Retreat, where the old story ends and your new story begins. I’ll talk more about it in the coming days, but if you want to take a look right away (it’s worth it; there’s a $1,000 savings for early registration!), you can check it out here.

Meantime, keep looking for the messengers in your life. Something as simple as a blue jay could lead you home, back to your self, in a dramatic way.


Blue jay medicine sources: here and here.

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One Response to Schooled by a blue jay

  1. Pingback: A hefty dose of magic | Lyena Strelkoff

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