Overcoming Odds with Bats in Austin, TX

I have been in Austin, TX the past 3 days. I am writing this blog post from the Austin airport, on my cell phone, with mt 2 texting thumbs. The NEED to write is strong. I have a 2 hour delayed flight and it is giving me the opportunity to share while I am still fresh in the magic.

I was in town to attend the Overcoming Odds – Hear Me Now conference. This was a conference that many people who are adopted attended. But, to me, the theme was much more than ” I am adopted…” It was about being your true self. Your authentic self. Becoming a SOLE (a survivor of life’s experiences)

You may recall from a previous post,  that I attended an adoptee retreat in Berkeley, CA in February 2018. To say this retreat changed my life would be an understatement. Many of the beautiful souls from this retreat and I gathered together as a mini retreat / reunion in Austin. It was so great to reconnect, look into eyes who know my heart and also to share some amazing meals. (Eating TEXAS BBQ is an event)

For me, a person who is adopted, being with people who have had similar experiences is everything. I can’t really explain the shared knowing. It just is understood. Sort of like how recovering addicts get each other. Or people from the same small Northern Nevada town have shared childhood experiences.  Or serial killers ‘get’ each other. 😳 (that was an inside adoptee joke)

The magic of the weekend did not just come from the Hear Me Now conference, or the bbq, or the oppressive heat / humidity that cleansed our pours, but it was also  the Austin Bats living in the Congress Street Bridge.

One of our group had the crazy amazing idea to rent kayaks and paddle under the bridge to be there when the bats took flight. (Who knew there was such a crazy thing to do in life?)

I never gave bats too much space to fly around in my head, but now, I can’t stop thinking about then.

Bat facts: bats are good mommas. They can instinctively find their Cubs and feed them. And if they cant find their own, they will feed other momma’s babies….they have a strong sense or community. The boy bats will fly reconnaissance for baby and lady bats to protect them from birds. Bats are chivalrous. Bats eat corn moths saving the corn from insecticides, making TX corn healthy and yummy.

I also learned that bats have great courage. In order to leave the safety of the Congress Street Bridge, they must drop. (Birds launch themselves. Bats drop!) Can you imagine, hanging onto something so tightly and then, just letting go? Letting go. Opening wings and THEN flying. It is a 3 part process.

1) Drop 2) Stretch, 3) Fly.

I keep thinking of those 3 steps. What a huge amount of courage it takes to drop our past injures, stretch our wings, and FLY to our dreams, our creative selves and our most authentic lives.

This is what it looks like when the bats swarm and leave the bridge:

Now, imagine being in a kayak just feet below this amazing spectacle of the animal kimgdom!! Spiritual is the best word I can find to describe how I felt.

The sound – scratching, chattering and the excitement of the bats heading out to eat 1/2 their body weight in bugs.

The smell – river water, my own body sweat, urban traffic smells and bats, which smell sort of musty.

The site – hundreds of thousands of bats (or more… a million?) Flying, crazy and out of control – manic – out of the bridge and into the sky. Then. Suddenly, the magic happens

They form columns. They fly next to the tree line. They have one purpose. The flock of bats becomes one, huge black cloud of bat community. COMMUNITY!!!

Community. Tribe. Group love. Agape friendship. Whatever you call it, who ever you are, and whomever you need: find them.

Life with like hearted people is why we are here on earth. Connect. Love. Give.

***Shout out to those I met face to face this weekend in Texas who read my blog. Thank you for your kindness and for connecting. We are all bats together. 💖💖💖

Austin, TX – Bat Hat, full heart

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Robyn Gobbel, LCSW

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