To My Fellow Hummingbirds
Accordingly to Elizabeth Gilbert, the world is full of “jackhammers and hummingbirds.” As a jackhammer herself, Elizabeth encounters a hummingbird following an appearance she made in Australia. It opens her up to see that there isn’t just one path and one way to be. In her speech on Super Soul Sessions she admits the faults in her passion driven speeches because in doing so she was leaving out all the hummingbirds of the world.
Jackhammers know their passions and are highly driven people. They have tunnel vision and hammer away at things until they are completed.
Hummingbirds go from flower to flower collecting nectar to create a well of knowledge that nobody with tunnel vision could ever have. They feed the world with a unique wisdom that comes from cross pollination and flying a crooked path.
The world is a collective hum of both these types of beautiful humans.
Our culture seems to have an unwritten code to follow. You must follow your passion, follow the standards, follow what everyone else is doing including; go to school, get married, have kids, stay in line and you will win.
Win what exactly?
This unwritten code may have been created with the best of intentions but if we were to all follow it, it would slowly kill the hummingbirds of this world. Let us open that thought catalog.
What damages are we creating when we don’t acknowledge our unique wiring and our own potential of living?
Early on in life I began challenging this system. But to be honest, at the end of the day there was always a voice inside me that doubted my behavior. It told me I should be doing this and would yell at me, “stop hop scotching around and focus more.” The unwritten code was growing in my DNA no matter how far I ran from it. Self doubt, no doubt, would continuously creep in. This anxiety only built over time and became a very heavy space to carry. Doubt and rumination became friends instead of enemies. We all seem to seek permission and approval, consciously or unconsciously, which can prevent us from living and being exactly who we are. I didn’t understand my role as a hummingbird. I love Elizabeth’s speech because it gives permission against the unwritten code through her own humility.
Let’s identify that there is more than one way to do life.
Recently over lunch, I was asked what makes me feel alive. I replied “the times when I am going against the grain.” When I am farthest away from talking about the weather, installing a white picket fence or checking in 9-5, I am more connected to life then I have ever felt. This is the space where I am free. It’s not the right way or the wrong way, it is just my way. It’s not really a certain hobby or thing I have, “It’s just a space and it feels like home when I am there so I gravitate towards it.”
If I had continued to go against my own natural instincts and pretended to be a jackhammer, I would have killed this love inside me. There are a lot of hummingbirds dying as we speak.
When we loosen the restraints of the unwritten code around us, we have a greater chance and opportunity to connect with what makes us feel alive. It is also a space and time to trust. Trust that what makes you, you, is exactly what you should place on the altar and pray to every day.
Follow your curiosity.
Elizabeth recommends pushing the word “passion” off the table and focus more on the word “curiosity.” Curiosity is the only thing we should be following. Open sealed jars, closed doors and windows to peek inside. Peel off the layers to reveal what is waiting dormant inside of you instead of trying to add to yourself, as if you aren’t whole already.
“You have to learn to leave the table when love is no longer being served.” -Nina Simone
The table everyone seems to be sitting at and what is being served may not be the table for you and that’s ok. What they are serving may not be the most nutritious meal for you. Trust you aren’t alone and that there is a table with your fellow tribe members sitting at it. If you can’t find such a table, trust it’s because you were put on this earth to create a new table.
To all of the jack hammers of this world thank you, we need you. You bring focus, determination and fortitude to the table. To all my fellow hummingbirds, keep flying. It’s ok we don’t subscribe to one thing, we build a life of slowly collecting knowledge, experiences and gifts on the unconventional path making us rare and vital.
The two of us in this world are not a contradiction; it’s a beautiful marriage of life that creates magical experiences to be curious about.
None of us really know who we are and what we are truly completely capable of. I think that is what we are here to discover over and over again, to live the ever evolving answers. When someone comes along who, through her own curiosity, encourages us and expresses an idea that can set us free a little more, it is truly something to be grateful for. Watch Elizabeth’s inspiring speech here.
Are you a jack hammer or a hummingbird? In what ways are you living that don’t serve love at your table and more importantly where can you get a helping of something that will.