Lessons from a Majestic Mother (and Father)

by Patricia Spadaro

Want a quiet thrill to boost your springtime mood?

Put this at the top of your list:  watch this live webcam of a mother and father bald eagle and their newborn eaglets. The three babies hatched about 10 days ago and you can watch (and hear) them live 24 hours a day  (see more links at bottom of post too).

The non-profit Raptor Resource Project has live webcams of several birds’ nests, and the hottest one right now—high in a tree in Decorah, Iowa—will make you smile. Guaranteed.

WARNING: if you start watching this when you have something you really need to get done, you might be sorry. It’s hard to take your eyes off the tender, magnificent scene unfolding before your eyes.

While I was watching on and off yesterday, the father eagle arrived a couple of times with some fresh prey while the mother—constantly moving her head, watchful and protective—kneaded the nest with her huge talons and fed, cleaned, and tucked those little ones under her immense, warm body.

Why we can’t take our eyes off of you…

Why is this play of nature so fascinating to watch? There’s something deeply moving and resonant in watching the mama eagle gently rock back and forth, back and forth as she hovers over and snuggles her young beneath her. Something unbelievably heart-opening in the way those vulnerable little fledglings stumble and tumble over each other as mother and father take turns feeding them bits of fresh fish. And something awe-inspiring and comforting as the father spreads his enormous wings and lifts off from the nest on his next tour of duty—and then swoops down to visit and drop off a fresh catch.

Most of all, there is something grandly archetypal in this scene that touches our spirit and reminds us of beautiful, majestic, selfless motherhood in the deepest sense of that word.

We all long to be nestled by the great mother. And there is a part of each of us that is compelled to be “mother.” The mother is that part of you that nurtures and protects the emergence of new life. As we watch the mother eagle nourish her young with such majesty and aplomb, it reminds us of our own calling to nurture and protect what’s growing inside of us—and inside those who are in the circle of our care.

We are continually giving birth to something new within ourselves—whether it’s a budding sense of needed change, a seed of creativity waiting to be expressed, a recognition of a long-denied truth. We don’t always do it as well as we’d like to, or perhaps we didn’t have good role models. So it’s deeply satisfying to watch this beautiful mother (and father) energy playing out so naturally and masterfully before our eyes.

The mother eagle shows us what it means to be attentive, patient, wise—enfolding everything that matters under her broad, strong wings.

One has to prepare oneself for each new energy. Every expectant mother thinks about her future child. How then can one not think about the energy that lives within each of us? One has to think about one’s innate possibilities.”
Agni Yoga

Watching the sharp-eyed mother eagle and listening to the helpless chirps of her babies makes me think:

  • What possibilities am I giving birth to?
  • What part of me is the mother eagle?
  • What part of me is like those eaglets, needing nurturing and protection?
  • Am I giving that to myself—and feeding myself what I need to grow?
  • Am I giving that to my loved ones too?

It’s a clear night in Decorah now, and through the night vision camera of the webcam I can see the mother nest her head into her feathers and finally take a nap as one of her restless little ones peeps its curious head out from under her feathery tummy. Time for me to sleep, too—if only I could tear myself away from watching them. I wonder what they’ll be doing in the morning . . . and what dreams I’ll have tonight.

Some fun links:

Links to the live webcam of the Decorah eagles:

If you want to see the third eagle emerging from its egg:

Other nest cams:

Note about the image above, which is a screen capture from Ustream TV: Eagle, Falcons, and Osprey Cams (Raptor Resource Project ) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

What Are You Giving Birth To?

by Patricia Spadaro

ducklings_sm_2What’s the next part of you that is being born? And are you paying attention to what it needs? I was about to make a right turn onto a busy two-lane street today when I noticed that the cars in the left lane had come to a halt. I thought the girls sitting in the red car at the front of the line must be having engine trouble. But as I made my turn into the right lane, the car in front of me stopped, too, at exactly the same spot those girls had. What was going on?

Then I saw it. For one long, sweet, breathtaking moment, I watched a speckled mama duck proudly waddle across the lanes with a dozen speckled ducklings falling over each other to keep up with her. They tumbled onto the curb in beautiful disarray like something out of slapstick routine as the mama pushed ahead in pursuit of safety. Thank God for careful drivers, I thought. And thank God for mothers.

That heart-opening moment made me think about the fragile things in life and our own role as mother.

We are all mothers. In each of us, there is something young and tender that needs our guidance, nurturing, and maybe even the fierce protection of our love. Identifying what that is at this particular moment in our lives, I realized, can help us play our role of “mother” better. It can help us focus on exactly what most needs our compassionate attention so it can grow to its fullest and express itself.

What are you meant to be mothering within you right now? Maybe it’s a new habit you’re trying to give birth to or an undervalued quality or talent that needs shaping and support. Perhaps what needs tending within you is some aspect of hidden creativity or emotional distress or a mission-driven project waiting to see the light of day.

Are you taking care of your inner duckling?

Are you paying attention to the next part of you that is being born? Or are you too busy to recognize what it is?

When we’re too busy to focus on what’s really important in our lives, the part of us that is just budding or is still a seed can become smothered instead of mothered.

Is there a part of you that, like those little ducklings, needs nurturing and protection—that needs you to honor its presence?

Try asking yourself these questions to find out:

>> What am I being called to give birth to, to mother, or to bring to fruition? What part of me is fragile and in need of protection or even rescuing? What is calling out to be recognized, nurtured, or strengthened?

>> Have I been too busy to give it enough attention?

>> What choices can I make to give that part of myself more room to grow in my life?

>> How can I stand up for that emerging part of myself? Do I need to draw boundaries to make room for this budding potential within me to blossom? How can I do that?

Join the conversation and share your comments, questions, and lessons with us…

Home  |  About Patricia  |  About Honor Yourself  |  Paradox   Articles  |  Get in Touch

Practical Spirituality with Patricia Spadaro
Copyright © 2004-2024. Patricia R. Spadaro. All Rights Reserved.