Graciousness With THEM
It was just Spring Break for us, so we headed to our warm climate hideaway for a week of family fun. Every morning I happily woke early, a thing that only happens on vacation….the happy part, not the early part….and went for a run with chirping birds and rising sunshine. Each morning I expected to see some hummingbird friends, who have been cheery companions for as long as I have been writing to heal. To complete Week 24 and finish off the topic of Graciousness, I will now share the story of how hummingbirds came to be pivotal in my blogging quest.
After I realized I was a year away from being the same age my mum was when she died, I started contemplating how I might honour her life….and my own….during this year. Being a visual and audio learner, I sought outdoor scenes, took in nature’s chorus of sounds, in an effort to connect with an image of what pathway would manifest before my eyes, to point me in an inspiring direction. While this aided in a flood of peaceful, restorative energy, I was not getting any closer to figuring out what to do with my year.
With the prompting of a little voice somewhere inside of me, I had already begun writing about my harrowing experiences, which started looking like the beginnings of a good story. I shared some chapters with a few close friends, and was encouraged to keep at it because it was good…..It was very good.
Hesitantly, I began delving into painful memories I had not yet been ready to uncover in the previous 6 years, even though I was clearly free from that painful captivity. Ever so slowly, I felt my tormented wounds and scars dissolve into words that poured out of me, as I became not only author of my story, but author of my life. Now this is power.
Taking 14 years of physical, sexual, spiritual, emotional, and psychological abuse…..a time I felt I had no power, and turning the tables to take undeniable control over what I would allow to define me….then….and now.
So, while I am looking for a direction or a vision to unfold for this important year, two things happen:
*A dear friend, who knows I have been writing, suggests I blog and share my experiences with others….
*And I have a dream….
….an actual dream, in bed, while sleeping. It was a short vignette of a hummingbird, pretty and dazzling, fluttering over my head as if attempting to communicate with me. I noticed this creature as it gradually became closer to my face, and I began to wonder if it be a friendly approach, or should I be ducking for cover from a possible beak attack! Not that I have ever seen a hummingbird act in an aggressive manner, yet I felt troubled by this visitor, invading my personal bubble and getting right up into my face.
I gently tried to swoosh this little companion away, not certain of its intention, nor comfortable with its jittery fluctuations in speed and direction. It was not dissuaded from getting closer. It came hovering again, flitting in front of my eyes, maybe to ensure I had indeed noticed my sudden, sweet friend. I retreated, backing away to avoid any further contact, hoping to be left alone, and wishing this to be someone else’s bird issue. Just get away from me, please.
My hummingbird was not going anywhere, following me no matter which direction or maneuvers I made. It was not leaving me….and the dream ended.
Okay….this seems not to be a terribly insightful dream. No booming voices telling me what to do, no arrows pointing out a clear pathway to focus my attention on, no choirs singing, no lightning bolts dropping from the sky. Just a bird bugging me.
But what made this dream rare, was remembering it when I woke. When this happens, I have to mull them over and try to get a better idea of what is going on inside my mysterious head. So, I looked up some possible symbolism for hummingbirds and found their characteristics are linked to resilience, adaptability, optimism, and a free flowing spirit.
Since then, hummingbirds have been showing up all around me. Sometimes in the morning while I run, afternoons when I write, or in the evening when I am having a glass of wine on the deck, they urge me on, remind me of my focus and put a smile on my face. I am grateful for their kind service to me.
But these friends were absent this whole week of Spring Break. There were many little birds, some I tried to convince myself could be hummingbirds, because pretending they were still guiding me was better than facing the fact, I may have been abandoned by my feathered souled mates.
At first, I was worried something might have happened to their habitat, causing them to seek shelter elsewhere. Then I thought, they could be unhappy with the way things were going on my topic of Graciousness, it being so raw and edgy and not joyously smooth, poetic, fluffy and light, like I expected.
I have been working hard to find a true reflection of Grace for ME, for YOU and for US. Now that I am looking at how to be Gracious with THEM, it is all piling up in a great heap of muddled thoughts, with quagmires of doubts, thorns, and thistles of emotions. I have struggled with this more than any topic so far, stumbling over shortcomings I see in myself while trying to live out, breathe in, and give away, “Grace”.
Will it be Graciousness that brings Finding 52 down?
If the hummingbirds have abandoned me, it might be time to rethink my goals and gears.
For the last while, I have been in 3 high gears….
#1 Get to it!
#2 Get through it!!
#3 Get it done!!!
A very assertive, empowered mentality is necessary for these gears, mandatory, actually….but there is a cost. I lose sight of smaller details and goals, which have allowed me to get to where I am.
So, how do I wrap up a month of Grace?
On the last day of our trip, I decided to go down a long declining hill backwards, as I read in a fitness magazine to be good for your muscles. I knew the hill well, it seemed safe enough to try, so I turned and started running slowly. It made me a bit dizzy, so I lifted my gaze higher.
And there, where sunlight was meeting dewy leaves and flora, was a friend.
Hovering back and forth over a giant blossoming shrub, moving in such a way, it looked to be drawing a smiling mouth shape in mid-air. Over and up one way, then back down, over and up the other way. With this quick motion, I could actually see a quivering smile start to form against the shrub greenery. I laughed and thanked my feathery angel, who once again delivered striking clarity.
The lightning bolt was this….being driven, focused, passionate, and capable of doing many creative and powerful things, is not a formula for producing Graciousness. I am certain we all must keep striving to churn out our best work, follow our most fantastic dreams, keep our eyes on whatever is our motivation to be spectacular, but more must be added.
Mostly, my eyes have been fixed on where I want to go, what I want, my goals, my dreams, not looking back to what carnage might be left behind, and certainly not willing to unlock my intent focus from the direction of my desires. But that is what it took, turning my gaze from where I was going, to where I had been, for it all to become a little more clear.
Grace is about the ones around you, waiting in the ‘wings’ to be seen, heard and noticed for their skills, their abilities, their leadership, and there is no way I can be rocketing toward my goals, without potentially drowning a few people in my wake. Graciousness means looking back at the waves my passion creates, slowing my churning motors, and quieting the din enough to allow someone else to emerge from ignored shrubs and shadows….and shine.
So, let them shine….and smile….Grace is about what is NOW.