Caged Bird (Maya Angelou)

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind   
and floats downstream   
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and   
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.
Caged or free, which bird are you? Are you free and living life on your terms? Or, as with the caged bird, are you being held back from living the life you want by family or financial commitments?
If, as with an awful lot of people you fall into the second, caged, category then you need to focus on breaking free. Only then can you really focus on fulfilling your potential and living the life of your dreams. If somebody close is keeping you back, whether by dissuading you from chasing your goals or eating up your free time, take a step back and put yourself first. This is easier said than done, but i’ve been in the same situation and my life didn’t start to go in the direction I wanted until I did exactly this. That’s not to say that you should turn your back on your nearest and dearest, but that you should prioritise your goals and not let anyone else interfere. There may be some tension and friction at first, but once they see your life progressing well, all will be ok again.
Alternatively, if your cage is in the form of mortgage payments or any other debt or financial commitment, you can still be free. I won’t pretend to be a financial expert, but there is countless free advice available online on how to curb your spending, or find a better-paid job, either of which will bring more money into the household. Alternatively, you may want to consider an extra stream of income by investing in businesses or property, or starting a business in your free time. In this instance, the internet is again your best friend, as are books by the likes of Robert Kiyosaki and Gary Vaynerchuck amongst countless other entrepreneurs, who have become incredibly successful by creating additional streams of income, launching businesses and investing wisely.
If you are happy with your current circumstances, then that’s fantastic. After all, that is what we all aspire to being; happy. However, if you do feel as though you are being held back and are unable to chase the life you desire, all is not lost. It is easy to feel sorry for yourself, lose hope and just accept your current circumstances, but if you want more out of life this will only lead to resentment and frustration. The answer is to take action. Take advantage of the countless blogs and podcasts freely available online which can inspire, motivate and inform. Read books or journals. Listen to audiobooks. Do something to gain knowledge and inform you of what your options may be. Perhaps even hire a mentor.
Free or caged, the choice is yours.

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