Red Feather: On Creating, Healing, & Your Extraordinary Gifts


A flicker sounds above me in a broken tree, an extraordinary bird well disguised among the ordinary. Flickers live in my urban neighbourhood, but only when I found one dead several years ago did I discover their subtle, breathtaking beauty. The little bird’s motionless presence in my yard compelled me: the fawn-and-white speckled breast; the yellow hidden inside the striped wings; the sleek black tail feathers; the red-streaked head with its black crescent moon at the throat. I returned many times to study it, not wanting to remove it from the place where it had fallen.

A gift.

Each aspect of the flicker’s appearance bears symbolic meaning in at least one culture. For example, the red feathers on its head have a particular import for the Pueblo people, who hold that a red feather on a prayer stick means the same energy used for war can be used for healing.

Self-knowledge is found on a healing path. It keeps us seeking and finding, visioning and creating anew. Gifts are gifts because we make them so. Choosing not to be at war with oneself, with life, but to consciously and courageously create and heal, in any circumstance, is a true gift. In accepting it, we begin to make a paradigm shift and learn to accept forward movement, beyond the established comfort zone, into new territory.

At midlife, I made an active decision to release an old way of being and to make marks in a new way. The word “mark” comes to us through the Saxons: merke, meaning “sign” or “boundary.” The Norse word morke also meant “forest” ꟷ often the marker of a frontier. Latin margo meant “margin,” and Old Irish mruig meant “borderland.” I’ve chosen to live and create at the borderland between the known and the unknown. Making friends with fear, I’ve come to accept its presence as one which tells me when I’m at that place. And something in me strives ever to expand the territory, to live at the frontier and push beyond old boundaries.

As a fiction writer, I ask my characters to take me to the emotional frontiers of knowing, seeing, and experiencing. As an artist and a coach in creativity, dream building, and transformation, I now take risks to serve others in ways leading positively and continually to growth: ways my young-woman self yearned for and my child self believed in completely… I feel that child emerge in me again, my life a spring, regardless of “conditions.”

Where is your frontier? Invite your fear to show you.

Your creative dream isn’t big enough unless it scares you. What dream scares you enough, and holds enough gifts for you and others, that you know it’s worthy ꟷ not only of your time and efforts, but of you?

ꟷAn excerpt from my book, Birdlight: Freeing Your Authentic Creativity 

Robin Blackburn McBride first name signature





P.S. If you’d love help bringing your dream into form, reach out for a complimentary consultation.

Share this content with your friends & followers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *