BodyLogos Blog

The Cages We Live In

Like Noah’s Arch, I’ve always found it helpful to care for animals in pairs. Presently, I care for two four-leggeds, two winged-ones, two+ finned-ones. While my adopted menagerie of cats, birds and fish highlight differences between species, the pairs offer comradery within species.

Creating different environments for different animals to thrive has been my task as an animal rescue activist. But only recently have I considered two-leggeds as members of the menagerie. I too began to want comradery.

The winged-ones have been the biggest challenge since adopting a very lovable two-legged man into my world. Each bird had chosen me as their mate, which created rivalry between them, but they united in their jealousy toward my man.

I began to question if I should keep the newest member of my bird-duo. She was aggressive toward my longstanding bird-friend of 25+ years, and after 5-years it’s clear they’re not going to be peaceful comrades.

Every time I serve dinner to my man, she squaks to be included in our feast. She ignites the other bird’s shared, but contained, agitation, and they blast us with siren-like screeching focused on our food and ignoring their own throughout dinner.

This atmosphere isn’t exactly a thriving environment for my two-legged relationship.

But I took this bird on, with all her foibles, when I adopted her. Even if I found another good home for her, my commitment to her would be breeched. No matter how I looked at it, judgment was all I could feel… toward me, toward her, toward my man for being the agitator.

Then I realized, the feeling I get when my bird acts out was familiar! I was being triggered into the, “she doesn’t care about me,” punishing hopelessness, that I’ve always felt with my mother.

No wonder I couldn’t think straight!

After a few deep breaths, I could see that feeding her off my plate was teaching her that screeching reaped reward. To train her to stay quiet, take away the stimuli—cover her cage when serving dinner and save her some for after dinner as a reward for staying quiet.

I’m happy to report, it’s worked! But I still struggled?

Then I realized, the guilt I’ve carried for caging my birds was a part of this saga. They’re born in captivity and would die in the wild, but they’re built to fly free. My mind understands the need for the cage, but my body cringes.

Covering the cage exaggerated this internal argument. The punishing screech was easier for me to bear than covering her, until I had yet another realization. Considering my needs was as important as considering hers.

The root to transforming the relationship with my mom was revealed through my relationship with my bird.

After another few breaths, I could see that the cage and its cover aren’t punishing, they’re used to protect and shield them from threat and excess stimuli. Not so different from my apartment and its curtains.

The cages we live in are not made of metal, they’re made of hardened judgments that allow us no space for process, growth or learning. And the way out, as I have illustrated in this story, is to learn to love.

My menagerie and I are intact and learning to love each other. And my man continues to agitate the love-fest. Now, I can use what I’ve learned with my mom.

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Redefining Strength

I want to change our perception of strength. Strength is the ability to meet resistance and influence an outcome without compromising ourselves. And we already have it.

Strength is not an attribute; it’s a state of being. Gladiators, bodybuilders, and football players demonstrate strength through brute force, sheer willpower, muscle mass, and relentless pursuit. But we’re also quick to identify dancers and martial artists as strong. Their medium taps into a sense of vulnerability, balance, alignment, controlled power, and grace—but no one can deny their strength. Strength may look different on each of us, but it is an inherent part of who we are.

You are not weak by nature; you are stronger than you think. Your strength is not something you need to kill yourself to gain—it is already within you, waiting to be excavated. The key is to stop chasing something you already have and tap into it, so you can manifest that strength in your everyday life.

Because we don’t think we’re strong, we approach resistance with the idea that we’re not enough. We throw everything we have at it and push past our physical, mental, and emotional limitations. We see strength as domination, but it’s not.

When you learn to listen to your body’s divine wisdom, you cultivate a sense of where your body is developing tension instead of standing in its strength. You end the vicious cycle of unrealistic expectations, injury, and self-criticism and learn how to consciously embrace responsible growth. You stop compartmentalizing your strength into emotional, physical, and mental pieces and operate from the strength of your being at all times.

You learn how to align yourself with gravity—instead of working against it—so you can channel your strength to meet life’s resistance. As you meet resistance with equal parts power and alignment, you transform tension into strength

As in the sword dance above, the power lies in bringing just the right amount of force—not too little and not too much. By meeting the sword’s weight, I meet gravity. I am tapped into a larger source of energy, free of tension, and discover a strength that is wholly and uniquely mine.

About Tammy Wise

Tammy Wise is a widely respected mind-body fitness expert based out of New York City, owner of BodyLogos, Inc. author of The Art of Strength: Sculpt the Body ~ Train the Mind. A former Broadway dancer turned Tao minister, Tammy was voted the Best of Fitness by Time Out New York and has appeared in Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine, New York Magazine, Natural Health, Shape, and Thrive Global. She’s a Transformational Authors Contest Winner and regular contributor to Honeysuckle magazine and Medium. Visit her at