I love seasons, the change in the environment and the impact on us individually and as communities. As I move into Spring here in London I also ponder the fact that my family & friends in the Southern Hemisphere are moving into Autumn.
For those of us who are driven by our curiosity to pursue new interests wherever they may lead us (I call us ‘Hummingbirds’) having change in the air is a desired thing. The promise of something new – whether that be trying a recipe on the BBQ or purchasing knee high boots as the weather closes in – fulfils something deep within us.
However, I have learnt the hard way that where we grasp change for the sake of it we frequently end up missing out.
Yes, Hummingbirds need to have constant newness in our lives to feel fulfilled. What we need to avoid is just chasing after the latest shiny thing that has caught our curiosity only to discover that by doing so we have pushed the big red ‘destruct’ button on something or someone that is deeply important to us.
This can be a difficult lesson for Hummingbirds to embody – because we have a deep burning need to have change and newness in our lives to feel whole. Sometimes it takes a few rounds of losing something or someone that matters to recognise and understand our own patterns. To learn that we can have both fulfilling lives that meet our need for ever-changing variety and ones where we retain on-going growing connections with those people and aspects of life that have deep meaning to us.
My own pursuit of the shiny led to me pushing big red destruct buttons on jobs, promotion opportunities, intimate relationships and friendships. Constantly chasing where my curiosity led me also impacted my health. As a young adult I experienced glandular fever that was definitely triggered by the fact that I was burning my candle at both ends and in the middle. My life was filled to overflowing the brim of health and wellbeing as I dashed from one activity, person, experience, interest, interaction to another. I learnt the hard way that just like the birds themselves, human Hummingbirds also need times of torpor. We need to rejuvenate ourselves by resting mindfully.
And I have found over the years that when I leap back into flight after a period of torpor the decisions I make about what is new in my life are more meaningful.
I have taken the time to just be with my Self and with others who are closest to me. I have realigned and reconnected with what is deeply important to me, I have reassessed the patterns in my life … across social, personal and professional levels. This ensures that when something new and shiny presents I make conscious value-based decisions about whether to pursue it or to choose something else that aligns better with who and what deeply matters to me.
Through listening to the stories that other Hummingbirds share with me I have learnt that each of us does torpor differently. However, in all cases mindfulness is a core component of this state … whether we call it that or not. When I was going through a particularly difficult period in my life and a friend told me that what I needed was to meditate I laughed … a lot! And then I looked around to discover a way that I could slow down whilst still ‘doing’ and took a tai chi class for a period of time. Over the years I have continued to learn different ways of how to be still and rejuvenate including through balanced breathing and meditation in a moment. Additionally I have owned the fact that for me hours of sitting and reading a good book has always been a torpor state for me. I no longer feel guilty when I choose to be in torpor.
The more I have found myself able to take regular times of torpor, to build it into my day-to-day routines the less I have pressed the big red destruct button. And the more amazing my life continues becoming.
I’m curious – how do you find your own peacefulness, your own state of torpor?