One of the creatures of nature that conjure up the idea of joy is the hummingbird. They seem to be emissaries of light because each time we encounter one, a tingly delight instantly fills our very being. It seems as if all of life stops momentarily to bow in awe and watch in wonder as these enchanting little birds come zooming by to investigate any flower that may offer up life’s nectar.
Hummingbird’s tiny feathers are like precious gems, able to reflect sunlight in dazzling arrays of rich luminescent color, while they appear to effortlessly zip about, flapping tiny wings so fast, we can barely see but a blur. They fly in any direction — up, down, forward and backward and can hover better than a helicopter. Who couldn’t possibly smile at these amazing acrobats of nature?
Hummingbirds therefore, bring the magic of joy.
Indigenous people around the world have always known that every aspect of nature is also a teacher for spiritual growth. Every animal for example, offers its own “medicine” simply by its way of being that can teach us wisdom about living in harmony with nature and balancing our own lives. Hummingbird teaches us to seek out the sweet nectar in daily life.
The message of Hummingbird is the invitation to laugh, enjoy the gifts of life, and attend to beauty. Notice how these little creatures will come near us out of innocent curiosity and trust as if inviting us to participate in the splendor of life, but quickly fly away the second any form of harshness is present — loud noise or forced movement. We won’t see these birds hanging around landfills. Hummingbird searches for, and settles for nothing less than the sweetness of life. And where sweetness is found, beauty abounds.
On a mid-summer morning in Port Townsend, Washington in 2001, I was outside in the front yard of my house directing the fine mist of a watering hose over some bushes. It was one of those meditative, peaceful moments where all my attention was simply directed on the act of watering plants, when I noticed a rainbow in the spray of water from the reflection and angle of the sunlight. It was a beautiful sight. Suddenly out of nowhere a hummingbird appeared facing me, hovering in the mist with the rainbow. It’s as if the bird knew that the water was there for its pleasure, joined in, and without apprehension immersed itself in the delight of a fine mist, mid-air bath. We both watched each other. I quietly stood mesmerized.
I was so happy to have the gift of both a rainbow and an emerald green ruby throated hummer as a part of my watering experience, that I could barely contain my good fortune. I told everyone I knew, and a few I didn’t…
Those were moments of pure joy I’ll never forget and a message from hummingbird that to share joy with another is double the joy factor!
Eating ice cream is a simple joy for me, as I eat it just occasionally, so the only way to have it as far as I’m concerned is pure all natural, organic ingredients in an ice cream experience. (Our GI tract only loves natural) Sit down with a bowl of ice cream? Bah! Any kid would tell us that if they had a choice between eating ice cream out of a bowl or from an ice cream cone, the cone wins ever time. I mean, really… So, when I have my ice cream treat, I joyfully enjoy it from a cone, and usually go with a friend. The joy factor experience is completely different. What joy it is to lick the ice cream, twirling the cone ‘round, and feeling the yummy creamy coldness on my lips as it goes into my mouth.
If we’ve sadly forgotten the art of eating ice cream, watch a child. It’ll come back like riding a bicycle, and it’s even better being outside with nature instead of mindlessly eating it in front of the television where we’re not talking and looking at one another. It’s fun to watch people eat ice cream cones.
Always look for the greatest joy opportunity in any situation.
I’ve also come to learn that we cannot know the true value of joy without also knowing despair.
We live in a world of duality: up/down, positive/negative, light/dark, and masculine/feminine, for example. Crossing the bridge of adversity not only provides an invaluable lesson in strength and faith, but always gives the gift of joy! That’s a promise.
Oprah Winfrey is one of our modern day heroines and spiritual teachers. She came from an early life of emotional turmoil and dysfunction, having also been raped as a young girl. She had a difficult road ahead of her as a woman of color who would be challenged to hold her dreams in a society of patriarchal and race discrimination. She not only climbed the mountain to reach her vision, she showed all of us that we can attain our deepest heart’s desire through holding true to our values. Oprah gives back through her philanthropic efforts in education and equality for children and women around the world.
She said, “What I know for sure is that you feel real joy in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your truth.”
Oprah is an example of a person who follows her bliss. She lives authentically to the compass of her spiritual truth, sharing her talents and abilities with the world in fulfilling the meaning and purpose of her life. She lives on top of a joyful life despite whatever clouds may drift her way.
Joy is a type of fulfillment. Whether joy comes to us in little or big ways, it’s always renewing and delightful. It comes unexpectedly and it also comes as the result of effort. From enjoying the moments of eating ice cream or participating in nature’s magic, joy rewards and renews us.
What do you do to create joy in your life? What gives you joy?
Making Space For Joy
A few suggestions:
· Spend moments in nature every day
· Visit botanical gardens and museums
· Grow a garden or houseplants
· Hang bird feeders
· Write down your dreams and steps you can take to fulfill them
· Celebrate milestones of accomplishment
· Dance (even by yourself)
· Celebrate birthdays
· Hug someone — kiss someone
· Share with others — especially your gifts and talents
· Give what you don’t need to others
· Help a neighbor or friend (the simplest things bring joy!)
· Read to a child
· Learn something new often
· Laugh often (find the humorous side of life)
· Cultivate the positive — eliminate the negative (follow your truth)
Capture joy! Embrace it. Dance with it. Linger in it. Relish the moments you make space for joy. Joy loves to be shared. One can never experience too much joy. As the beloved poet Rumi once said, “…keep knocking and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there.”
“Why Is God Laughing?: The Path To Joy And Spiritual Optimism” by Deepak Chopra
“Joy: The Happiness That Comes From Within” by Osho
“Your Heart’s Desire: Instructions For Creating The Life You Really Want” by Sonia Choquette
“A Life At Work: The Joy Of Discovering What You Were Born To Do” by Thomas Moore
Affirmation for this month — Joy
Today, I am filled with shimmers of merriment. I smile with delight because the beauty and goodness of nature is just waiting to be caught and reeled into my heart.
Live in beauty and be well – Triza Schultz
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