It is just one hummingbird. A tiny green creature of exquisite beauty whose wings vibrate at such speed it can hold its beak in the tip of a flower and sip the nectar in a few seconds.
I am sitting to the side, just three feet from the red flower that has attracted this tiny creature. I am sitting quietly in the garden, not reading, not doing, just being present to the world in that moment. And in that moment, this beautiful bird appears to tease my heart, to awaken my awe, to touch my spirit.
And I am reminded of Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Wangari Maathai’s who passed away last year at the age of 71 after a lifetime of creating change in the world, “I will be a hummingbird” story.
I must do the best I can, said the tiny hummingbird to the forest animals who stood helplessly watching a mighty fire consume their homes. They laughed and mocked the hummingbird as she flew back and forth from the stream, picking up what water she could in the tiny beak and then flying back to douse the fire with it. “You are too small to make a difference to that mighty fire,” they told her. And she kept flying. Back and forth. Back and forth. Picking up water. Dropping water. Doing the best she could do to make a difference.
Sitting on my deck, watching that tiny hummingbird, I am reminded of the need, no the necessity, to do what I can to make a difference in this world. My playing small does not serve the universe, nor does it serve my life. My playing small only keeps me mired in the ennui of not living my life 100% accountable for my experience; 100% in the game of living life in the rapture of now, living it up for all I’m worth.
It is a drive we all share. To experience lives of meaning, purpose, contribution.
To share our gifts so others will be inspired to share theirs.
To light up the world so others can find their way in the dark.
What gifts are you sharing? What light are you shining to illuminate the path for others to follow out of the dark?
Here’s a simple exercise to help you find your answers:
Ask yourself, “What do I not want to be known for when I die?” Write down your thoughts.
Now, ask yourself, “What do I want to be known for while I am alive?” Write down your thoughts.
Now, write down one thing you can do today to be known for that which you want to be remembered for. If it’s ‘kind’, write down one kind thing you can do for another today, and then do it.
If you want to be remembered as a writer — write something today and then…. share it. Send it along to others.
If you want to be remembered as a great gardener — go out into your garden, weed it, thin it out. In fact, share some plants from your garden. I recently had a woman share some lilies from her garden. I planted them last night and am in awe of the power of her gift to warm my heart, to connect us, and ultimately, to create more beauty in my garden — and hers.
We all have gifts to share. And I don’t mean the gifts we buy. I mean our internal gifts. Our words. Actions. Thoughts. Deeds. Simple acts of kindness. Gentle words of comfort.
And in those gifts, our difference radiates out into the world in never-ending ripples of peace, hope, love and joy.
Sharing our gifts we create a world of difference because — sometimes that is all we can do to put out the fires of discord. Sometimes, that is the best we can do to create harmony in a world of strife.
A tiny hummingbird visited my garden last night and I am reminded that no matter how big or small, I must do my best to create the change I want to see in the world. And I want to see, to experience, to know more peace, hope, love and joy in this world we share.
And to inspire you… here is a short video of The Hummingbird Story as told by Wangari Maathai.