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Hearing the Hummingbird

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In the movie, "Ray," (about the life of Ray Charles), in one scene he is in a restaurant with a young woman. He tells her that being blind has sharpened his sense of hearing. For example, he can hear the hummingbird hovering outside a window across the room.

The young woman (who later becomes his wife) can't hear the hummingbird. She becomes silent, and you can almost hear her concentrating. At last, a huge smile lights up her face, and she says, "Yes, I hear it."

The Outer Noise

Imagine the noise in even a quiet restaurant: the rattle of cutlery, waitresses speaking to other diners, sounds from the kitchen. It would have taken great focus to hear the hummingbird.

The hummingbird's song is like our inner voices, that guidance that is so often lost in the swirl of noise that comes from the outside world. So often, we turn to those outer sounds to tell us what we should be doing, wanting, thinking.

We may hear the voices of parents, bosses, friends, or elected officials. They often don't say the same thing. A young person, asking five adults what career she should choose might get five different answers. This alone could lead to confusion. To make matters worse, opinions given by others are usually, consciously or unconsciously, based on their own agendas.

One person says, "Be a teacher," because he loves being a teacher. Another says, "Don't be a teacher," because she hates being a teacher. Someone who feels his job is insecure tells the questioner to go for security. Another who feels her job is boring tells the young person to take risks.

Imagine if you asked someone else to try on an outfit you were thinking of buying. If she said, "It fits me," would that make it fit you? She's not in your body, and people who give advice aren't inside you. They can't know what you want and need. They aren't hooked up to your unique connection to infinite wisdom and guidance.

The Power of Outside

Everyone is "wired" to receive and follow that guidance. You know when you're connected. Your feeling that a thought or action is true for you is so strong that nothing could swerve you from it.

We are born fully connected. Babies know exactly what they want, and they have little hesitation in expressing their needs. They are, however, not born with the capacity to fulfill their desires. Unlike the foal, who is walking and able to satisfy its hunger a short time after birth, we are physically dependent on others for a relatively long time.

Fulfillment isn't always so easy to get. We learn that in order to get what we want, we have to do certain things, which vary from family to family and culture to culture. In its simplest form, this resembles an economic exchange. I give you this; you give me that.

Sometimes the transaction is literally economic. The child who behaves gets an allowance. The young adult who refuses to obey gets disinherited.

Often, though, the nature of the transaction gets clouded with emotional, often unspoken, overtones.

"You should become a teacher because I was a teacher. Your taking up my profession will validate my own choices and the course of my life."

"You should have children, because if you don't, it says something about what kind of mother you think I was. It means I didn't know what I was doing, or I made it look like an awful burden. Please don't make me think that."

Parents often feel that they have a lifelong contract to guide or command their children. They aren't the only voices of authority.

The hidden messages of a doctor's admonitions are particularly outstanding. "I went to school for years to make myself an expert. Don't give me any of this mind-body nonsense. Did you go to medical school? And I don't care what you read on the Internet about the side effects of this excellent drug. You're going to die if you don't listen to me."

Those who assemble statistics and write commercials also broadcast strong messages. "One out of four has . . . ." (You're probably the one).

The Power of Inside

The ideal solution may appear to be to get all those opinionated people out of our lives. Too bad it doesn't work.

I have written before about what happened when I decided to quit my job and open a crystal shop. Some of my friends thought I'd never had a worse idea. They said, "The economy is awful. You have no retail experience. You have a steady, good-paying job." (Subtext: "You're nuts.")

At the time, I was only beginning to learn about the power of emotional vibrations and about how we attract the people and circumstances in our outer worlds. Therefore, it didn't occur to me that I might be in any way causing their negative response.

Later on, though, when the shop was successfully launched, and studying the power of vibrations became a way of life for me, I reconsidered their flood of opinions. I realized that I had been uncertain and fearful about this leap into the unknown. My friends, who were certainly caring, picked up on and mirrored my uncertainty with their warnings.

These warnings actually helped me, because I had to decide what was more important: fear and desire. When I did this, I recognized that my desire to fulfill this dream was far more powerful than anyone's opinion—including my own. I decided to trust the inner voice that said, "Do it." And I've never regretted it.

Tuning In/Tuning Out

Whether you're contemplating a major life change or how to most effectively convince your child that cleaning his room is a good idea, the more you're tuned in to your inner guidance, the less static from outside interferes with that message.

I've indicated that in my own story, I was uncertain and fearful. These emotions weakened my connection and emphasized the voices of others.

Uncertainty and fear often have deeper roots, usually consisting of doubts about one's own abilities. "Maybe," one thinks, "I don't know enough." It's amazing how just thinking that can lead one to be surrounded by "experts."

Another thought that has sprouted in my mind when I've been uncertain, and someone else has seemed very certain about what I should do is "I want them to like me." This was part of my dilemma with helpful friends during my career transition. They all considered themselves locked into their nine-to-five jobs. If I left that world and jumped off into unknown territory, they wouldn't like me any more. If I succeeded, they'd be envious and resentful. (Of course, if I failed, they'd welcome me back into the fold with a shower of "I told you so"s.)

In the end, the key is to trust yourself, and this may require some redefinition of self. It means realizing that you are no longer the child who was inhibited from choosing. You aren't the teenager who felt nervous about making decisions your parents wouldn't like. You don't have to be an adult who lives in the past.

One of the marvels about hummingbirds is their ability to fly backwards and sideways. They constantly change their flight pattern, based on their immediate needs. They wouldn't listen to anyone who told them birds are only supposed to fly in one direction.

When we tune into our unique guidance system, we, too, can fly according to our sense of direction and desire. With all our senses finely honed, we, too, can hear the hummingbird sing.

Hummingbird Helpers


Citrine, the primary crystal for self-esteem, can help people feel the confidence to trust their intuition and inner guidance.

Clear quartz, known as the mirror of the soul, helps us to connect with our true essence.

Peridot, associated with healing a wounded ego, can help keep one strong in being guided from within, despite outside opposition.

Carnelian is the "here and now" crystal. It helps one base decisions on present circumstances, as opposed to past conditioning.


The first three essences are Bach Flower Remedies.

Larch is the essence counterpart to citrine. It gives us the confidence to not only make decisions but to take on challenges that previously would have been beyond our emotional capacities.

Walnut is especially valuable when one is contemplating a transition (as in my move from working for someone else to opening my own business) and experiencing opposition from well-meaning family and friends.

Chestnut Bud is especially helpful when one feels defeated by mistakes made and repeated in the past.

Finally, Hummingbird, a Wild Earth Animal Essence, helps us to to tune into the inner joy that's always present.

Beyond the Rainbow
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