Chapter Four: Recovery.

“It isn’t what you did in the past that will affect the present. It’s what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future.”

– from The Aleph by Paulo Coelho

During Christmas, my family and I visited Balboa Park in San Diego, California.

It was there that I had the pleasure of meeting a curious new acquaintance.

He was light pink and the feathers on his head formed what looked like a spiky-pink pompadour. The first time I saw him, he was perched on the arm of a young female volunteer who was asking the passersby to adopt him.

Near him were other abandoned souls of his kind: saddened feathered beings with beaks that were rusted, and feathers that had grayed, and eyes that hung with a dark loneliness. Each of them were perched on their own eager and young human volunteers.

My sister, who was with me, walked over to the pink bird and asked the volunteer what kind of bird he was. The volunteer said that he was a pink cockatoo. My sister then asked to hold the bird and the volunteer allowed it.

The bird was immediately elated when it found itself on my sister’s arm. (I could’ve sworn it purred like a cat when my sister petted it.)

As she held the bird, my sister noticed something on him that I had just noticed, too: the feathers on his back were all grey and short, as if someone had viciously–and erratically–plucked out his longer and more beautiful pink feathers from his back.

My sister asked the volunteer what had happened, and the volunteer explained: after the cockatoo’s owner had passed away, the bird had started to pluck out its own feathers due to the anxiety the tragedy had caused him.

Saddened by the story, my sister mentioned to me that she wished she could adopt it, but she just couldn’t afford it at the moment.

Finally, reluctantly, my sister gave the pink cockatoo back to the volunteer.

At that point, my sister and I left the our new friend, and headed to a different area of the park together.

But even though I left my new friend, the pink cockatoo, that day, his story did not leave me.

My Friend, The Pink Cockatoo

I met a kindred spirit that day.

I don’t know why, but hearing the cockatoo’s story made me feel less alone.

I felt like I understood him, and I felt like he understood me.

We were like brothers for a moment.

Like me, that bird knew what it was like when tragedy visits us unexpectedly, and how our anxieties can take over from that point on, causing us to do unimaginable things to ourselves: like plucking the very wings off our backs.

I felt like this pink cockatoo knew me, and I knew him, and we both knew, too, that our stories were shared not only by the two of us, but by everyone.

You see, I may just be one man who has been alone in his room these past three years writing his story, but all of us, in our very own way, have been writing our own stories these past three years, too.

Some of us are at the part of our story where everything is going wrong. (Chapter One.) Some of us are at the part of our story where everything isn’t going wrong anymore, but it’s still not getting much better, and so we have to learn how to put up with it. (Chapter Two.) And some of us are at the part of our story where we finally get to rise from the ashes of a past tragedy, and transition into a new phase of life, one that is not necessarily better or worse, but just different from the old. (Chapter Three.)

And then, there are some of us that have entered a whole different kind of chapter.

This chapter we will call recovery.

Recovery.

Three years ago today, I started this blog, and on that day I made a vow to finish the first draft of my novel.

Today I renew that vow: I commit to finishing the third draft of my novel by January 1, 2014. (This time, I meant it for reals. I promise.)

I vow to finish what I started, and to follow-through on my promise to myself.

Today, I also vow to recover the parts of me that I left behind, or threw away, in the earlier, more dramatic parts of my journey–when I was in such a rush to move on. Today, I vow to recover the parts of my story that I edited out too hastily in the earlier, less-experienced parts of my writing process–when I was also in a rush to move on, and wasn’t being very careful.

Today, I stop plucking out the wings across my backside, and I allow those wings to grow out once more, until they are as strong and as fresh as they are meant to be.

Today, I begin the process of recovery so that, when the hour comes, and it’s time for me to take flight, I am ready.

Here’s to the beginning of my recovery and yours; and here’s to our sad friend, the pink cockatoo, too.

May he find the wisdom to realize that the only way he’ll take flight again is if he stops damaging the very thing that can help set him free:

Himself.

much love,

Ollin

Chapter Four of Courage 2 Create begins today.

>>>Blog Update: due to new time constraints, I will only be posting once a week from now on–on Mondays. I will be explaining why I’m making this change next week. This explanation will be tied to a big announcement about my personal life that I’m excited to share with you all! So stay tuned.

To follow the Courage 2 Create and find out what happens to Ollin and his novel, you can subscribe by inserting your e-mail into the subscription box in the top right corner of the sidebar! Subscription is completely free! Thank you for subscribing!

Like Courage 2 Create’s Fan Page.

Follow Ollin On Twitter.

Friend Ollin On Facebook.

8 comments on “Chapter Four: Recovery.

  1. lkwatts says:

    Hi Ollin,
    Great post as usual. I have nominated your blog for the very inspiring blogger award http://lkwattsconfessions.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/very-inspiring-blogger-award.html

  2. sharonledwith says:

    Stay strong, Ollin. Life gets better.

  3. journey to compassion says:

    Hey Ollin
    What an inspiring post. I wish you the very best with completing your story. I love your blog and really look forward to your posts.
    Take care,
    Sue

  4. Kari says:

    LOVE “the chapters” paragraph and possibilities of “whole new chapter”. Keep on keepin’ on! I will if you will…

  5. nancy says:

    Beautiful entry. And inspiring. You and I started this journey together and have been through the same things. If you set a goal to finish by 2004, so will I. Thanks!

  6. Dana Bennett says:

    Ollin, I’m looking forward to your Chapter Four. I shall, however, miss your second blog of the week very much. You have inspired me so much, and I am inspired now by your willingness to make necessary changes to meet your goal of completing your 3rd draft of your novel by Jan. 1, 2014. And even to go back and pull out all your previously rejected parts and re-integrate them into your complete story. I am looking forward one day to reading your memoir – though reading your blog is much like that. Best of luck to you, Ollin. And I shall continue to follow you, read your one blog/week, and, I’m certain, be inspired by Ollin Morales all the more. Much love and support to you, Dana

  7. Crazy that you started with a quote from Coelho. I actually am trying to write the female version of the alcehmist right now. I finished the first draft of my novel. However, now I am trying to find some good venues for self-publishing. You can read the first 10,000 words of my novel here:

    http://authonomy.com/books/49997/girl-who-rises-sun/

    Please check it out. I value your opinion Ollin!!!1❤❤

  8. Linda B says:

    You do speak to the center of my soul.
    “Some of us are at the part of our story where everything is going wrong. (Chapter One.) Some of us are at the part of our story where everything isn’t going wrong anymore, but it’s still not getting much better, and so we have to learn how to put up with it. (Chapter Two.) And some of us are at the part of our story where we finally get to rise from the ashes of a past tragedy, and transition into a new phase of life, one that is not necessarily better or worse, but just different from the old. (Chapter Three.)”

Comments are closed.