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Stillness like a Hummingbird


Tiny engines of endless energy, hummingbirds are synonymous with movement. To catch a glimpse of one in motion is as close to the feeling of spotting a forest fairy hiding amongst the tree limbs. I like to think of each occasion when my eyes land on a hummingbird in flight as a momentary message from the cosmos to me, an auspicious affirmation that I am in right place at the right time in my life--this moment is inherently perfect. Why not choose to think that way, right?


Recently I was liken to a hummingbird. Really? Well, ok. I can see that.


Granted, I am not dainty and light as a whisper. I am not particularly fast and agile either. What I can recognize is the heart of the comparison is this: I am a high-energy person whose default is to be constant motion. I was asked to offer insight on my nature for the sake of another with the same temperament:


"What advice do you have for one who is a hummingbird like you?"


Embedded in the question are inquiries about the nature of stillness for those inclined to action.

  • Where does the balance exist between being and doing?

  • How does energy serve to allow for focus?

  • How much is too much doing? What do we lose and gain in the movement and likewise in the stillness?

  • What is the relational dynamic between stillness for conscious intention setting and buzzing energy to actionize intention and purpose?

I will attempt to distill what I know to be true for me into something that will serve each of us collectively as we strive to be in better harmony with our bodies, spirits and minds.

As I considered what other similarities exist between myself and a hummingbird, I dipped into a little fact finding. UC Davis offered a list of facts here and here are a few highlights:


Fascinating Facts about Hummingbirds

  • Their heart is the largest relative to all other animals.

  • Their metabolism is 100 times that of an elephant.

  • They can enter a state of inactivity called torpor, in which the birds reduce their body temperature to conserve energy.

  • The iridescence of hummingbird feathers is a result of prism-like microstructures that fragment light into components of the spectrum, by a process of absorption and angle of light. (This one is my favorite!)


The Challenge of Being Active Like the Hummingbird

  • What I know to be true for me is that with the gift of naturally high energy, I am challenged to

  • create time for both movement and stillness each day,

  • create and maintain focus,

  • convert raw energy into energy that opens up the best of me


What To Do with the EnergyEnergy is the life force that drives us forward. If not balanced with stillness, a space we create to be consciously engaged with our heart and mind, we will likely blaze forward without purpose, meaning or a chance for fulfillment. What works for me is not a solution for everyone, but with that said I will offer that I work hard to create space for stillness in my days.My alarm goes off at 5:10am each weekday morning. I snooze for 10 minutes and then crank the sleeping shaft of my body upright by a will of clear intention aligned with my value of "Healthy Body, Spirit and Mind." For me to live that value each day, I know I have to get out of bed to work out the tangle of urgent energy looking for expression in order to find and sink into the quiet, productive energy of the owl. 5:40am I am out the door and walking back in by 7:10am, restored to my best self and ready to embrace my family with love and joy to help them jumpstart their day too. By 8:17 the kids are off to school on the bus and my work beginning anew. Coffee has gassed by waning energy and the hummingbird takes flight once again with clear intention and zest for life.Making a Choice for StillnessSometimes just making choices for and against somethings is the hardest thing to do. Often I reflect when in the midst of a hectic moment, "How did I get here? At what moment did I choose this?" The inclination of a hummingbird is to flit around pollinating many flowers before assessing the fit of the choice for connection to your values and purpose. What would it be like to know you chose consciously to be just where you are in this moment?The Take AwayThe learning for me as a hummingbird is to recognize my natural inclination to move, and to continue to make intentional commitments to stretch into the growth area of stillness and mindful intention in order to find the balance and alignment that is foundational to a healthy, happy life.I invite you to carve out time in your uber-busy day to be still. Light a candle, set an intention, and breathe deeply into your belly. Stay there for 1 minute, 5 minutes or 10 minutes. Notice what your body is releasing in this time time. Notice what sensations come to you through this practice. With this new sense of space, how do you want to design your days going forward? What are you finding that serves you in the stillness?

What is your balanced articulation of motion and stillness in your day?




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