This amazing hummingbird flew into my life on New Year’s Day (look again, you’ll see it).  She was awaiting me after an incredible evening of laughter, love and great (GREAT!) food with family and friends of all ages.  It was truly a night to remember.  Then, as if by magic, the candles we were burning to light our night of celebration and good fortune gave way to this waxy incarnation of the spirit of Joy and Love.

Seeing her perched like this on my mantle took my breath away.  I didn’t, for a second, doubt what it was.  For years, I have explored traditional Native American animal medicine and I knew immediately the power of the Hummingbird’s presence on this auspicious day of new beginnings.

Hummingbird symbolizes the enjoyment of life and lightness of being.  She has the unique capacity to move freely in every direction and is believed to vibrate pure joy, inviting those who cross her path to “lighten up”, to drink in life’s beauty and bounty and to share and express love more fully.

This is powerful medicine for any time of year.  The fact that it came on January 1st is particularly BIG because the turning of a new year is always bitter-sweet for me.  What starts out as the delicious promise of a new beginning typically gives way to a bitter admonishment to do more, to be better, to become enough.  It’s kind of like licking a lollipop covered in dog hair.

I feel anything but light and agile and joyful amid the weight of all the resolutions and taking stock.  Anxious anticipation hangs heavy in my belly with all that I believe I need to do and be and overcome.

No wonder New Year’s Eve has never been my favourite celebration!

But this year has been different.  The hummingbird has reintroduced me to the power of joy to lighten the load and to create meaningful space for possibility and acceptance.  By imagining her unique ability to simply hover and take-in the beauty of the world around her, I, too, find myself slowing down, resisting the pull to relive the past or rush to the future.  Her sunny disposition encourages me to let go of my own voice of judgment and self-criticism, drop any need to fix myself or others and, instead, connect to what is joyful, beautiful and inspiring, right now.

And, as I let go of the striving and rest with life as it is, I feel what must be the same delight and purpose as the Hummingbird, drinking life’s sweet and simple nectar – nothing to change, nothing to become.  The message is clear:  joy is both the purpose and the action, the input and the outcome, the way in and the way out.

Much better than a hairy lollipop, I can assure you!

Give it a try for yourself.  The next time you are on your yoga mat or driving your car or longing for something to change, invite the Hummingbird to hover a little closer, feel her wings brush your cheek and smile.  Let the smile be your cue to ‘lighten up’ and take in the sweetness of life.