April 2020 Letter From PublisherMar 31, 2020 06:10AM ● By Holly Baker
In Native American culture, hummingbirds are seen as healers and bringers of love, good luck and joy. In Central America, they are a sign of love and will bring love to the person who spots them. It seems the tiny hummingbird reminds us of many life lessons.
With love and compassion,
Just last week, as the full scope of the coronavirus seemed to be building, I was visited by a hummer who fluttered in through my patio door, seeming to appear out of nowhere. That morning, as I commonly do during morning routine, I had asked for reassurance and guidance during this time of tremendous unknowns. When my heart stopped pounding and the hummer had found its way safely outside again, I felt the enormous blessing of the visit. This surprise visit didn’t feel like an accident or just a coincidence.
In the excitement of the visit, hearing its buzzing wings and seeing its rapid movement, I momentarily forgot it all. It was as if the hummingbird was saying, “Hey, things aren’t so bad. Lighten up. Just take me as an example and look at all the beautiful flowers and sweet nectar we have yet to find!”
In honor of my visit—which I now hold as a sacred gift that provided a much-needed uplift—I’ve chosen hummingbirds to grace the cover of our magazine this month and to set these hummingbirds free to fly throughout our community this month, spreading messages of hope and reassurance to everyone who picks up our magazine.
We’ve all been touched by the pandemic that’s affecting people’s health and closing our schools, businesses and public meeting places. I’ve heard people call it an “invisible enemy”, robbing our sense of security and replacing it with fear.
I am reminded to choose love instead of fear. This teaching, which comes from many sources, including the highly acclaimed psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ work with the dying, recognizes that there are only two human emotions—love and fear—and that they cannot exist at the same time. If I’m feeling anxious or scared, I first give myself some love, and then choose to love and appreciate someone or something else. This not only makes me feel better, but also boosts my immune system.
Speaking about the current pandemic, Dr. Bruce Lipton, a cellular biologist, reminded us that stress negatively impacts our immune system and is a major contributing factor in 90 percent of illness, including heart disease and diabetes. When we are in fight-or-flight mode, our body releases stress hormones like cortisol, which shut down the immune system to conserve the body’s energy for the immediate job at hand, such as running away from the proverbial saber-toothed tiger. The conclusion is clear: Fear of COVID-19 can be just as dangerous as the virus itself.
Now is the time to remember and strengthen our wellness practices. Something as simple as placing attention on our breath can help us connect to that deep calm within and offer loving kindness.
Things remain unclear as I write this letter, but beyond our fears of getting ill or losing our livelihoods, this crisis offers us an unprecedented opportunity to show our humanity and to be there for one another. We are discovering that we can come together for rapid global cooperation and change at a previously unimaginable speed and scale.
Our newfound power to mobilize will teach us how to address other global issues such as the climate crisis, which potentially carries a far greater risk for all living things. The lessons we are learning about mutual responsibility, while recognizing that we are all bound together to a common fate, can help result in the kind of global shift that our planet needs right now.
My prayer is that we see this current crisis as a chance to create a stronger, more vibrant and caring global community that comes together as one. Let’s remember the message of the hummingbird, a symbol of tenacity and endurance, as some hummingbirds are known to travel up to 2,000 miles to reach their destination. Let’s harness that same tenacity and endurance as we face this current crisis.
With love and compassion,