Life of the hummingbird

To be honest, I’m a huge fan of a non-fiction work that Elizabeth Gilbert wrote quite a while ago, called “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.” And then, it was her talk of the hummingbirds and the idea of following your curiosity wherever it leads you to instead of chasing after passion that made me spend a lot of time thinking about life and its purposes.

So, I guess this post is just gonna be a collection of beautiful messages that I absolutely adore from her speech. Sometimes, it might be hard to hear the truth, but isn’t it the essential for a happy life?

To the future me,

someone who finds joy in collecting beautiful things in this small world, anything I’ve heard, anything I’ve seen, anything I’ve touched, happened to carry a special meaning in my life, no matter how insignificant it might be,

“Hummingbirds spend their lives doing it very differently. They move from tree to tree, from flower to flower, from field to field, trying this, trying that, Two things happen: They create incredibly rich, complex lives for themselves, and they also end up cross-pollinating the world.”

“If you’re willing to just release yourself from the pressure and the anxieties surrounded by passion, and you just humbly and faithfully continue to follow the trail of the hummingbird path… one of these days, you just might look up and realize, ‘Oh, my word, I am exactly where I’m meant to be,’ In other words, if you can let go of ‘passion’ and follow your curiosity, your curiosity just might lead you to your passion.”

“Passion can seem intimidatingly out of reach at times– a distant tower of flame, accessible only to geniuses and to those who are specially touched by God. But curiosity is a milder, quieter, more welcoming, and more democratic entity. The stakes of curiosity are also far lower than the stakes of passion. Passion makes you get divorced and sell all your possessions and shave your head and move to Nepal. Curiosity doesn’t ask nearly so much of you. 

In fact, curiosity only ever asks one simple question: ‘Is there anything you’re interested in? Anything? Even a tiny bit? No matter how mundane or small?

The answer need not set your life on fire, or make you quit your job, or force you to change your religion, or send you into a fugue state; it just has to capture your attention for a moment. But in that moment, if you can pause and identify even one tiny speck of interest in something, then curiosity will ask you to turn your head a quarter of an inch and look at the thing a wee bit closer.

Do it.

It’s a clue. It might seem like nothing, but it’s a clue. Follow that clue. Trust it. See where curiosity will lead you next. Then follow the next clue, and the next, and the next. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a voice in the desert; it’s just a harmless little scavenger hunt. Following that scavenger hunt of curiosity can lead you to amazing, unexpected places. It may even eventually lead you to your passion– albeit through a strange, untraceable passageway of back alleys, underground caves, and secret doors.”

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”

from Elizabeth Gilbert, and the life of hummingbirds