Waiting for the Hummingbird

By: Tanvi Maharaja

The temperature has been going up steadily for a while now. As the pleasant weather keeps up its steady march to turn into a scorching summer, we all tend to resort to that nectar of life – water. As we quenched our thirst and kept watering the lawn, the little red blob in the corner caught our eye. The hummingbird feeder. Surely the tiny creature needs water too! So out came the feeder to be hung in a place of pride and prominence. We scoured the internet to find the best ways to go about this project, stirred up some sweet nectar, cleaned up the feeder, and filled it with the sweet temptation that we knew the hummingbird could not resist. And we were all set.

Next came the waiting: silent, patient, very quiet, and very, very still. For this tiny guest is known for its shyness and is extremely wary of movement (read predators). So we sit quietly by the window or by the deck and dare not move a muscle. We waited and waited as it flew past a couple times because, well, we did move a muscle, or two. And then, in one glorious moment, it graced us with its visit and bestowed the brilliance of its self on these craven eyes.

How wonderful is the action, the action of learning and prepping for the arrival of the hummingbird? You do your research and plan and scheme and get everything ready to go. But then comes the non-action. The waiting, the being still, the doing nothing. And believe me when I say that the doing nothing is a lot harder than the doing everything you can. Because in that moment, you feel so powerless, so helpless.

Isn’t it so with life too? We expect something from life, and we prep and lay out the carpet. We work hard, jump through every hoop, go through the motions, put in the time and effort to make our dreams a reality. But often we forget that the arrival of the hummingbird is not in our hands. We can only control so much. There comes a time in every endeavor, where we can say that we did everything we could, and there is this little bit that is not in our hands. So, it behooves us to sit back and have patience with the machinations of nature.

The stillness, the quiet, the patience is the final step. and the hardest! But fretting over the hummingbird not showing up within the next five minutes is not going to solve anything. The stillness has to be not only in your physical form, but also within. An emotional stillness, a spiritual stillness, an intellectual stillness. This mindful waiting can mean the difference between bliss and misery. Being mindful of our effort in patience, being mindful of our control of certain elements and lack thereof of others, being mindful that waiting patiently in inaction is an action in and of itself, being mindful that the bird shall come if it is meant to come.

Cherish the efforts and enjoy the magnificence of the bird if it blesses you with its presence. If not, find peace in your preparation, indulge in some self-reflection of what could have been done differently to result in an outcome that was more to your liking; if you do find something, implement it. If you feel that it is truly not up to you, let it go. The hummingbird shall come humming when you least expect it, when the moment is right. Remember, just as you are waiting for it to come try out the nectar, it is also waiting for you to step back so it can come in safely.

There is more to life than meets the eye. A little inward looking, a little mindfulness, and a little attention to how we respond in thoughts to the perception of the world that our mind creates for us, can go a long way in creating an aura of peace and containment.

Here’s to more humming and more nectar in everyone’s lives!

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