This little girl still exists inside of me. This past week, she has been stamping her red shoes in protest. She is afraid. Of many things. She is afraid her mother will leave her through the exit door marked "cancer". She is afraid she will be harmed(?), judged(?), terribly unsafe(?) if she allows me to keep exposing myself in ever widening increments. She is afraid she will cease to exist if I dare to lift myself beyond the confines of my small life. Her shoes are quite scuffed. She has asked me to lock the doors and turn away from the world. So she'll be safe. I've said no. Instead, I've asked the Universe to help me quell her fears. In response, They sent a bird. They sent a starling. The least loved little star-of-a-bird. This least loved bird was sent to my living room and my bathroom and my studio and my kitchen. They sent a starling to fly around my home in a panic. It knocked trinkets off shelves and art from the walls in its quest to elude my cats and find its way back to the open sky. "Do you see?", I told the little girl in red shoes, "If you confine your wings to small spaces, you are less safe. Panic and fear will consume you". I sequestered my lazy cats in the bedroom and closed the remaining doors. I opened a window in my living room. I could hear the starling clicking its nails on the second shelf of cart in my kitchen. I bent down to see it and soothe it. Oh, such a beautiful bird! I talked softly to it for a time, thanking it for coming, but telling it wings were never meant to be shut away, so I've opened a window back to the sky. "Fly. Be free, little star-of-a-bird." With that I pulled the cart away from the wall and forced the bird out of the kitchen and down the hall. By the time I turned the corner of the living room it was gone. To my amazement, the little red shoes stopped stamping. The lesson was clear. Locked doors and confinement are not the way to live. To fly on the bountiful sky is to be free. Only there, against sunshine and stars, can calmness and purpose and love spread my wings wide open. Only there can healing take place and the self be truly expressed. Fearless and safe in little red shoes.