Mantra Monday: Bird by Bird

This afternoon I  took a walk through Ravenna Park when I felt myself stuck with lethargy, overwhelmed by how many different projects I have going at the same time, and a bit melancholy about how early the evening arrives these days. What to do when you’re stuck?  Move!  Lucky for me, it wasn’t raining.

On my walk, I listened to my feet scuff-slosh against the fallen rain-soaked leaves and felt the cadence of my steady, assertive pace.  I began to create a mantra in my head. It came to me quickly: “bird by bird,” a concept by Anne Lamott when you have so many things to do that you do them just one step at a time (or one bird at a time).

With each step, I said

bird by bird

bird by bird

I will do things

bird by bird

(repeated 20 times give or take another 20)

I returned refreshed, clear, and inspired. Mostly, I was inspired to write this blog post, for the idea for “Mantra Monday” came to me on my walk, too, but I also felt more settled, less anxious, and more certain that a “bird by bird” approach is what indeed is necessary to do all that I wish to do. In essence, one step at a time is all that I can do.

What also occurred to me after my “bird walk” was how not only speaking mantras can be helpful, but listening to them can be, too. And mantras have a powerful effect on our minds, hearts, and even bodies. The repetition is grounding and the words sort of infuse themselves into our psyches. At least that is my experience.

I have some favorite “mantrists” (is that a word?) in this world and one is Deva Premal.

I leave you with her mantra “Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha (Removing of Obstacles),” which seems quite appropriate for today’s walk of unraveling overwhelm and stagnation:

What is your mantra for today?


About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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2 Responses to Mantra Monday: Bird by Bird

  1. jillsalahub says:

    Love Deva Premal. Almost every time she comes up in a yoga mix in one of my classes, I immediately start to cry. And Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha is my favorite sanskrit mantra. My other recent favorite, that I recite while I walk, is these lines from an Alexi Murdoch song:

    May the grace of god be with you always in your heart
    May you know the truth inside you from the start
    May you find the strength to know that you are a part of something beautiful.

  2. monk-monk says:

    exactly what I needed this morning! baby was super fussy and I put the mantra on and he was quiet and focused for more than 20 seconds!

    I have been following Ann Lamott’s campaign FB status updates…she is awesome 🙂

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