Swatting at Hummingbirds


October 21, 2010

Born and raised in Michigan, I knew the move to Phoenix would bring profound changes to my life. Accustomed to a lifetime in a state with beautiful lakes and lush landscape, I learned to live with the native insects and wondered about the types of critter-life I’d find in the desert southwest.

The first weekend after my arrival, my new relatives hosted a "welcome to the family" party for me. A bit nervous to meet a house full of new people, I went with excitement and a bit of apprehension to the party. Standing in the backyard, amazed by the "dry heat" in August, I watched in frozen fascination as a flying creature came from nowhere and buzzed my head! I swatted at it with such fervor that I spun myself around, lost balance and fell onto the lawn – in front of my new family! My husband ran over to me and as he helped me get up, asked what happened. "The biggest bee I ever saw just dive-bombed my head, so I tried to swat him away!" He broke out in laughter and pointed to the Hummingbird feeder, "You mean that?" Just then, I realized that swatting at a hummingbird taught me a profound lesson.

Where did it come from?
We can all agree that Hummingbirds are one of nature's phenomena. Like the bumblebee, its flight abilities mystify even the scientist among us and the color variation and nesting practices enchant us as well. My visiting hummingbird seemed to come from nowhere! I'd never seen a Hummingbird before, much less experienced a near collision with one.

In our lives, many times good things come to us in unexpected ways. Pleasant surprises, happy coincidences and even "dumb luck" impact our well being. As we grow older, we resign to expect negative events and occurrences, and when good things come to us unexpectedly or unknowingly, our spirits soar with delight. Often, we don’t even know the gifts exist, much less do we hold any anticipation of receiving them, consequently we travel through life unprepared to receive the good that comes into our lives "out of the blue."

What the heck is it?
Spiritual mentors relay a story that the natives on a particular island couldn't "see" ships arriving at their shores because they didn’t know that sailing vessels existed and had no provision for them in any frame of reference of understanding. Approaching from the horizon, the ships made way to the dry land and the passengers and crew forever changed the lives of the aboriginal people. But it wasn't until the landing and disembarking that the inhabitants fully grasped the breadth of their naïveté and the impact on their lives.

Often, our innocence endures challenges when both good and bad enters our life. Not aware that such circumstances exist, our first startled response strives to identify it. Like my unknown hummingbird, we don’t recognize beauty if we've never experienced it in our lives, or it never appeared in that form to us in the past and we have no awareness of it. Nonetheless, the Universe supplies us with endless encounters of good on a daily basis. We need only acknowledge it when it arrives!

How does it fit in my world?
My new avian friend held no space in my world until it came into my life. Only then did I understand how integral its role in the desert southwest natural habitat. When I grew to appreciate the desert in bloom, I realized the beautiful tiny bird's contribution to the delicate balance of the life cycle.

When new avenues of good and prosperity enter into our lives, we often wonder how they fit with our current perceptions and understanding of how life works. We try to assimilate the new found circumstance into the bubble of our existence and hope that the rest of our life adjusts accordingly to make room for the greater good. Instead of swatting them away, we can take a closer look at the blessings we receive and integrate them into our lives without forfeiting any other aspects.

The Hummingbird symbolizes something new and beautiful entering into our lives. If we've never experienced or perceived a type of positive energy flow before, we may not recognize it when it shows up. Our first instinct may be to push it away because its something new and different. Denying a gift from Spirit in whatever form it takes because we can’t accept something we've never experienced before results in a shallow life filled with predictable outcomes.

When we can figure out what the new good looks like and means to us, then we can embrace and appreciate the gift and include it in our daily enjoyment. Adding positive elements to our world excludes nothing, but rather makes the flight around the sun that much more enjoyable!



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