This Hummingbird Sings a New Song

By November 2, 2015Uncategorized

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” Henry David Thoreau

The West Texas Hummingbird Feeder Cam is nestled in the mountains outside Fort Davis, Texas, at an elevation of over 6200 feet. This site hosts a total of 24 Perky Pet Grand Master hummingbird feeders, and during peak migration can attract hundreds of hummingbirds from a dozen species that are migrating through the arid mountains. For the whole experience watch.

I’ve begun chanting and meditating weekly with my friend Marsha Eger. Every Tuesday morning we gather to sing and chant as a means of meditation and to tap into our creativity. Two weeks ago we sat outside enjoying the warm, still summer sun. As we prepared to sing we were visited by a pink and green hummingbird hovering in the air above us, flitting from one hanging flower basket to another. Its wings were moving so fast in an infinity pattern and the vibration of that movement created the hum we are associate with the hummingbird.  Marsha and I sat silently watching and listening to this beautiful tiny bird and when it flew away minutes later we both felt like we had witnessed a holy visitation and we were filled with reverence.

Reverence (/ˈrɛvərəns/) is “a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration”.[1]  Reverence involves a humbling of the self in respectful recognition of something perceived to be greater than the self.

Reverence is seen more as “acknowledging a subjective response to something excellent in a personal (moral or spiritual) way, but qualitatively above oneself.”  Feelings of reverence are associated more with active engagement and responsibility toward that which one reveres. Nature, science, literature, philosophy, great philosophers, leaders, artists, art, music, wisdom, and beauty may each act as the stimulus and focus of reverence.

I’ve had a busy autumn performing, traveling, writing, teaching, repeat. Just over  a month ago I was in Kentucky performing my one woman show Snap! which is about my teenage experience with mental illness. Last week I performed Snap! for a mental health facility in New Jersey. As I prepared to tell this difficult story to both groups I felt a sense of awe and reverence for the simple power of telling my story. A familiar hush fell into the room as the story unfolded and we were drawn together through a common experience of pain and suffering, courage and hope.

I am presenting a TedxTalk this Thursday, November 7  in Corning, NY. I am speaking about my experience telling stories to sick, grieving and dying children, their families and their caregivers. I am speaking about is the power of stories to heal things no medicine can heal: loneliness, isolation, fear. To be a storyteller is to be in reverence of the power of story to express the enormous spectrum of the human spirit which seeks to eternally connect to itself, to others and to something greater than itself.