Getting Down with Gratitude

Hand holding hummingbird

I have to be honest. I approached this posting with trepidation.

Although everyday is good for being mindful and appreciating life’s gifts, the fall days of November are typically when we, in the USA, are reminded to be thankful of our blessings.

One need only to Google the word Gratitude to find that soooooooooo many amazing people have thought and written deeply about the topic. Web sites, like BrainyQuotes, overflow with wise quips. Aesop, Albert Schweitzer, Alice Walker, (just beginning with the A’s) to mention a few. Scientists, poets, authors, politicians, theologians, TV stars, Presidents, on and on have a lot to say about gratitude.

Mikao Usui, founder of USUI Reiki, guided students to “Count Your Blessings”, morning and evening. As part of a daily practice, and coming to this posting, I thought of the many gifts I receive every day. The list is way too long.  I can attest to this because years ago, I started to write them down and don’t think I’ve duplicated any one yet!

So, I decided instead to focus on a once in a lifetime event for which I will be forever joyously grateful. It occurred at 5pm back in 2014 when I stepped outside a Wilmington, Delaware office building, on my way home for the night. After breathing in a bit of slightly chilly air, I turned and looked down the sidewalk. There, a few feet away from the building’s windows, was a bird. It was a ruby-throated hummingbird and I thought it must be dead, but found it was just a bit stunned.

After going through my normal ‘worry gene’ thinking (should I try to get it water or some kind of sugar?)  I got closer.  He didn’t move.   I suppose I could have left him alone, but being a lover of animals, I wondered if he would be okay in the chilled evening air.   I gently scooped him in the palm of one hand and hovered over it with the other, careful to be open in case he wanted to fly.   I really couldn’t believe it.   For the next 20 minutes, I sat feeling his heartbeat through silky feathers, offering Reiki for whatever healing might be needed.  Time stopped.  It was so precious a moment.    Even with all the traffic whizzing by and the sky getting darker, he didn’t seem in any hurry to leave. (The pragmatic me is saying – of course, not – he’s just suffered a hummingbird concussion, so give him a break!)

In a short while, I felt he might be ready for flight and gently offered the branch of a small tree around the side of the building. He continued to stay for a few more minutes. Then, with a flit of his wings, he flew to another bush and away.

When I think of that moment in time, I am grateful and humbled by it. Grateful that the little guy hadn’t died from his collision with the building, grateful that I had left work just at that time, grateful to the universal healing energy. I am forever humbled by the hummingbird’s trust, his strength and spirit and willingness to share those 20 minutes.

Whether it be large gifts or small, daily routine or once in a lifetime, one might consider that each moment provides us with another opportunity to be joyfully appreciative and count our blessings.

Among many other gifts – To all the flora and fauna, Mother Earth, the Universe and Lifeforce Energy, thank you!