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Monique Gonzalez, Psy.D.


Sweet bird, fly free

Jun 19, 2024

I have been captivated by the birds. Their melody, their swift movement, their ability to glide and flap as needed. I was watching the birds one recent early morning, as there were so many of them out for their daily dawn adventure. Mesmerized by the ease in which they navigated the landscape of trees and currents of breeze. It’s as if they trusted their tiny fragile bodies to maneuver how they needed to. They flexibly shifted from an aggressive flap of the wings to a gentle, graceful sailing. The birds also seemed to hold a special mutual understanding with the wind and the spring blooms, an unspoken contract. The airy theater would support their smooth descent into the nest, and the birds would help spread the blossoms’ seeds. The trees offered a safe place to land and feast, and the birds dropped their compost in return. 

Birds apparently have a multitude of patterns to their flying escapades. Sometimes it's static soaring, diving, hovering, high-speed flying, alternate flapping and gliding, or simply direct. Of course, it is dependent on the type of bird, type of flight environment, and type of need present. Makes sense. I can imagine the birds tilting their tiny heads and thinking: “What type of weather is it today?” The bird checks in with the climate, physical obstacles, and intuition to feel into the flight path. Plus, there’s the factors that are innate to the bird, what they were born with or grew into  - wing length, feather arrangement, body shape and mass, wing curvature - that also come into play.

So why on Earth (pun intended, love) do we judge ourselves so cruelly when we apply this to ourselves? Why do we believe it is ‘wrong’ to allow ourselves varied approaches to mobility? One type of movement is not better than another. In fact, the birds highlight how important – life saving actually - it is to be mindful of one's body, energy capacity, as well as environmental factors. Birds also move differently based on seasons or even time of day. We see this time and again with migration patterns and cozy hibernatory behaviors. Also, I know bats are technically not birds but they are mammals, like us, who have distinct flight trajectories; there’s something affirming about the fact that they hang out in caves during the day then engage magical sensory ability to hunt their insect dinner at night.

Flight might not be possible if the air in Earth’s atmosphere was less dense.

I recently learned this fact and I found it made my heart ache just a little. I immediately thought what a precarious thing to rely on, especially when four limbed pale white suited man bodies with no wings have been “in charge” for so long. They’ve been polluting the air with their greed, causing it to become hotter. Hotter means decreased density. It’s good for baseball home runs but not good for the birds.

It doesn’t seem at all fair to have these fossil fuel fools to be determining the fate of these glorious feathered friends.

I follow the path of another swallow cruising amongst the clouds, and smile at the determined energized motion followed by free fall surrender. I’m so grateful for this bird. I wonder what it would be like to embody this swallow’s winged liberation. The ability to maintain the course with clarity and independent focused steadfastness. Then exhale a relief, as I open my heart to the possibility that I am meant to be supported, carried and held with compassion, as nature intended. The most natural thing is to rely on one another - bird, air, sea, insect, human, soil. We cannot thrive alone. We cannot thrive as isolated humans. We need our water, land, fire, and air kin.

I appreciate how so many birds travel in spirals, in random patterns, in undulating up-and-down. The sacred shapeshifting feels so natural. I admire how they gather in groups during certain times of the year to do life differently, whether that be more play, more rest, more mating. We are designed to oscillate in cycles. We know in our bones that there are times for restoration through retreating and in other moments we heed the call to actively protect our beloveds. There are seasons to make love instead of war. There are chapters of stability and chapters when the only genuine solution requires revolutionary movement.

We are existing in a time where we must be holding space for both:

The hard, exhausting tedious work day in and out of Being in this world, of surviving a collapse of what has been.


The tender activation of the collective to re-imagine this work progressively skyward, towards the nourishment, beauty, and joy that every one of us deserves.

So, my dear one, may our wings fan the fire of revolution so that all beings fly free.

“In order for me to write poetry that isn’t political, I must listen to the birds and in order to hear the birds, the warplanes must be silent.”– Marwan Makhoul

Here are some delightful ways to connect with birds this season:

🌀Want to learn more about flight patterns? Here’s an adorable easy to understand interactive activity from the Boston Museum of Science.

🐦Identify birds with the Cornell Bird ID application.

🕊️Watch this lovely documentary on netflix about migration.

❤️‍🩹I have had this song on repeat: Pajarito Colibri This video includes lyrics in spanish and english.

🎶Tune into morning songbird melodies when your nervous system needs a reset.

🪺Lots of folks have bird feeders. Did you know bird feeding is not always recommended? Here's a helpful article to navigate the nuance of birdfeeders. This is a bit more important to be aware of with the recent rise in avian disease/flu.

🍉Support the Palestinian American Medical Association by purchasing this beautiful bird art t-shirt - The Palestine Sunbird . This gorgeous birdie was declared the national bird of Palestine in 2015, after Israeli authorities attempted to rename the species as another means of erasing Palestinian identity. It represents freedom and strength. Proceeds from this goes towards PAMA’s mission to provide immediate medical relief to Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank and to establish and support programs, education & training that foster the future of Palestinian health care.

🏙️Birds aren’t just in forests, jungles, and mountains. They’re in the city too! Learn from urban ecologist Jay who shares the importance of an intersectional approach to climate solutions that protect all.

🦜The Republic of the Congo is home to a diversity of over 1,000 bird species! One thousand! Learn about and donate “one coffee” amount to Friends of the Congo. They are an advocacy group raising consciousness of the injustices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, partnering directly with Congolese women, youth, and local village climate justice activists.

🧿Check out Feminist Bird Club, a community determined to “make birding and the outdoors inclusive and affirming to people who may not have safe access to it, and leverage people’s passion for the environment and social justice to help create lasting social change. More simply put: There is no reason why we can’t celebrate birds and support our most cherished beliefs in equity and justice at the same time. For us, it’s not either/or.” 

📖Read this book: The Feminist Bird Club's Birding for a Better World: A Guide to Finding Joy and Community in Nature

🐧We learn a lesson about collective liberation from baby penguins, who take a confident leap into the unknown after their comrades demonstrate bravely that it's safe to do so. This video brought me from intrigue to adoration to worry to playful delight to freedom in moments.

With fierce love,
Dr. Mo

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