Speeding through life…moving so fast —it’s hard to see the wall –until it’s too late and BOOM, you are OUT!!! In my line of work, it is usually a human being that ends up requesting my services for specialized rehabilitation when they have hit the proverbial wall. This time it’s different. This time it was a Hummingbird. Talk about stretching my limits….
It is a quiet Saturday morning in September. I am in the kitchen when I hear a loud bang. It sounds like something hit the wall…. and hit it hard. I wonder if I am truly alone. Is someone or something in the house? I walk through the living area to take a look into the courtyard outside. Nothing! I think to myself… “great, now I am hearing things.” Just as I begin to turn to walk back to the kitchen, I see a flicker of movement on the courtyard brick floor. A tiny little creature, a hummingbird is on the floor and it is moving—but barely. I think to myself… “go get your phone…take a photo… it will probably fly away when you open the door.” I mean really,… how often do you get the opportunity to see a hummingbird lying still? So, I get the phone and open the door…. I didn’t expect that the next 7 days of my life would be forever altered.
FAST FLYING…..then THE WALL. CRASH!!! I have seen this before, so many times. This phenomenon has shown itself in so many ways in many people –coming from a variety of backgrounds. All with one thing in common. FAST FLYING! Moving so quickly through life. Intent on continuous activity and busy-ness. Slowing down is not an option. Can any of you identify with this? I can. Through my own experiences and those of the clients that I have served over the last 35+ years. We don’t know how to take rest, how to slow down and just be. As if, in slowing down, we might miss something or…what is it really??? What is it about going slow that causes us to avoid it at all costs? I have heard many say to me that they don’t do Yoga because it is too slow. I myself practiced a very vigorous, fast paced and fast moving exercise in my early years. I had to keep moving. Running, cycling, hi-impact aerobic dance. Anything to keep moving…to avoid stillness. I was addicted to movement…anything to keep me moving. Give me that endorphin high. If I was feeling blue, movement always made me feel better. I was addicted. This habit began to shift when I started to read about yoga. After a year of reading about it, I put the books down and began to practice. It was on the mat in my own home alone that I began to slow down. I didn’t have a teacher, and I did it by myself– so no one was watching me. No one to question my intention. No one to tell me that I wasn’t doing it right. I found that in the quiet of my own breath, I didn’t have to go fast, in fact, in most cases— I couldn’t. There was so much to do…so much to experience. I didn’t want to miss any part of it. And interesting to me, I found that the slower pace was exactly what I needed. Slowing down allowed me to begin the process of paying attention. Attention to my breath, to how my body felt, to what my mind was thinking. This paying attention was not always comfortable. In fact, most of the time it hurt like hell. The physical practice…oh, that felt fantastic. The emotional and psychological pain rose up in the quiet stillness. When I was still, I could experience more fully all the feelings that were rising within me. Like sadness, anger, disappointment, hurt, envy, greed and fear. These times were very difficult. I will say that being still also allowed me to more fully experience other feelings like joy, happiness, compassion and love. What a concept. I was feeling something. The good feelings made me appreciate the pain that came along with the negative. And yes, there was a lot of pain involved in slowing down. Looking back, I now find that it was even way more painful going fast—speeding through life, pretending to be okay. I was just going so fast that I did not have time to process it.
So now, here I am once again faced with the idea of how going fast can cause us to “HIT THE WALL.” As my new friend has now experienced. A new opportunity for me to re-experience the important idea of slowing down. What does it mean to have a hummingbird enter your life? I can’t even believe it. Why me? Why now? All I know is that it is tiny and helpless and at risk of starving to death or being eaten by my cats. I am compelled to help…I can’t NOT help. It is so tiny, so beautiful, so much in need of help right now. I am ready for this work.