Find Your Hummingbird Hotel
Hummingbirds used to be a rare occurrence in my life. But then, something happened.
Maybe it had to do with climate change or migratory patterns. But I like to think it’s my Dad.
You see, my sweet, lovable father (such a softie that I nicknamed him “Mr. Marshmallow”), died a year ago after a long, debilitating illness. We were extremely close.
The first morning after he passed away, a beautiful little hummingbird fluttered onto my mother’s cement patio. There were no flowers around. Just me.
I believe that happy little creature came to tell me that my father was finally free and only a hummingbird away.
Ever since then, hummingbirds have been appearing out of nowhere. And everywhere. They’ll fly up to the window when I’m working. And over the doorway when I come home.
On the morning of my big speech (in front of 400 women last month), two hummingbirds flew by to wish me luck while I meditated at 6 AM in the garden.
I’ve discovered that in many indigenous cultures, hummingbirds are considered “messengers of joy.” They teach us to hover in the present moment and to drink in the sweet nectar of life.
That’s definitely something I’ve needed to be reminded of lately. Besides losing my father, my mother-in-law passed away two months ago. My Mom has been in and out of the hospital, extremely ill.
And as if that’s not enough, our one-and-only teenage son seems to have been abducted by aliens.
Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed with sadness and worry, I let myself have a good cry or roar (a.k.a. “lion’s breath” in yoga).
Then, I walk a few blocks and check into “The Hummingbird Hotel.” That’s what I call the great big, beautiful red bottlebrush tree that I recently stumbled upon in my neighborhood.
Several days in a row, I found dozens and dozens of glimmering, shimmering hummingbirds, happily hovering in the branches like characters in some Disney cartoon.
As I stood under that tree, surrounded by those magical little beings, I could feel my energy shift from “oy” to joy. Thanks to my little friends, I felt an infusion of happier, more hopeful feelings.
Now, I’ve made it a practice, when I find myself someplace that I don’t want to be (physically or emotionally), to imagine myself under that red tree.
In fact, the other night when I couldn’t sleep, I took a few deep breaths, relaxed and checked myself out of my worst-case scenarios -- and into my Hummingbird Hotel.
Here are a few tips for finding your own Hummingbird Hotel:
Check in with your feelings.
Before shifting your focus from “oy” to joy, give yourself permission to feel. Really, it’s okay to be sad, angry, disappointed, worried or whatever. But there is a difference between “feeling” and “wallowing.” You’ll know when it’s time to change your mental scenery.
Where’s your happy place?
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths right into the center of your heart. And imagine a moment of pure joy. Maybe you’re on a hammock in paradise. Or in an English rose garden, underwater aquarium, mountain cabin, childhood treehouse, or you-name-it. Just imagine anywhere or any time where you felt joy pulsating through your body.
How to “get there.”
Breathe that place into your heart. And see yourself there. What colors, textures, sounds and scents surround you? How do you feel there -- relaxed, safe, inspired, refreshed? Stay as long as you want. And know you can always go back.
A trip to remember.
Years ago, I had a boss who was known for his volcanic temper tantrums. One day, he threw a HUGE one right in my office. So, I went to the beach. I just stood there, letting him rant while I calmly envisioned the tide rushing in and the sand in my toes. My boss was so surprised at my (non)reaction, that he actually apologized. (Note to self: try this with teenage son.)
Collect some souvenirs.
It takes practice to re-train our minds in this way. So, I like to keep some mementos around to help remember that happy place. I admit that I’ve gone a little overboard with hummingbird paintings, photos, paperweights, earrings, wind chimes and garden stakes. But you get the idea.
So, the next time you find yourself stuck in the muck, remember: a happier place is only a thought away.
Have a great trip. And if you feel like it, drop me a line.
For over 25 years, Wendi Knox has been an award-winning Execu-Woman creating advertising for brands like Honda and Acura. She’s now on a campaign to encourage women to unzip their unique gifts into the world. (Her motto: to divine self be true.) Wendi is joyfully unzipping her gifts as a writer, artist and transformational speaker through her own brand of inspiration called Oh My Goddess. To learn more about Wendi’s blog, book, videos, and creative speaking events, go to ohmygoddess.com.