I woke up this morning early, slipping out of bed to make coffee, meditate and get ready for a new day. The robins wake me; their song permission to get out of bed. I tiptoe to the kitchen, turn the kettle on and stare at the pot, waiting for hot water. The cups and French press set out the night before, wait too.
I pull the cream from the fridge. Pouring the water, now hot. I smell the beans as I fill the press.
I love this time of day; the quiet, the darkness, the calm space between. The time when my mind is settled and clear, and my heart, warm and squishy, open to the whispers of Spirit. This is gentle time; those peaceful moments before the inevitable distractions of dawn.
The full moon illuminates a bird resting atop the suet house. Struck by his stillness, I realize I’m holding my breath.
I breathe in and reach for my headphones to meditate. I’m hungry for guidance and grounding. I find it in Oprah and Deepak’s latest 21-day Meditation gift, “Hope in Uncertain Times.”
Oprah begins by telling the story of her difficulties learning to swim. Being afraid, she’d always fought the water. It wasn’t until she let go, surrendering to the water’s flow, that she learned to swim. “Move with the flow,” she says, “don’t fight the current. Resist nothing, let life carry you- don’t try to carry it.”
I gaze into my backyard, letting the lesson sink in. I see the figure of a woman I’ve discovered in my Aspen tree.
I realize she’s another messenger.
“Surrender,” she coaxes, “Look at me. I need do nothing to be a tree. I just am.”
The bird, still miraculously perched on the feeder, chimes in, “Look at me. I need do nothing to be a bird. I just am.”
The sun, climbing slowly, also beckons.
“Look at me.” she says, “I rise every morning. I need no justification. I just shine.”
I feel their invitation and pull it inside. I feel my heart expand, then realize I’m holding my breath again.
I smile. The water offers buoyancy, yet I insist on sinking. Flow is as foreign a concept as surrender.
A hummingbird by nature, I focus on doing, achieving, producing, not ‘being.’ Most comfortable whirling around at light speed, I reject the very stillness I crave. I am habitually fast and flitting.
“But,” I reason, “these are very different times. The world is upside down!”
I can’t distract myself in the same ways; my flight pattern, along with the rest of the world, has been grounded. My anxiety about the present only surpassed by my anxiety about the future.
“How many people will die? What is our government really doing to help? Will my friends and family be okay? Will Herb and I be okay? How long will this go on? What will the world be like afterward? Why is this happening!”
Ah, the hummingbird, again.
She’s not undone by the uncertainty, but by the looming certainty of a larger lesson.
Things now do not differ from how they’ve always been. Hummingbird’s obsessions a futile attempt to order a world beyond control.
In my ear, Oprah coos, “In the words of Eckhart Tolle, in his book, The New Earth, ‘There are three words that convey the secret to the art of living.’” (Now she has my attention.) “‘The secret of all success and happiness. Those three words are: Be one with life.’”
I sit still, determined to take it in.
“Be one with WHAT life?” I say out loud. “A global pandemic? Financial risk? Death, disease, and unknowable suffering? Are you freaking kidding?”
This is not what hummingbirds do! We don’t allow. We don’t flow. We don’t choose. We flutter!
I look back at the tree. I look at the yellow finch and the rising sun.
“Be one with life,” they say with a knowing smile. “Just be.”
“Can’t I just be a hummingbird?,” I ask.
“You can,” they chorus, “Surrender. And be a hummingbird.”