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Motion and Stillness

By Nita Walker

In 1985, during the most traumatic event of my life, I miraculously found stillness in the turbulence of the surrounding violence I was being subjected to. When life is hanging in a space of unknown outcome, the space seems so scary as if at any moment , the mountain climber may fall off the cliff she is clinging to. Hope can either be lost or found and yet consciousness seems irrelevant. The immediacy of the single moment in time is all that is left…and even it can be illusive.

As I felt my life would be taken, an acceptance of whatever would be, mingled with a sacred stillness and letting go of life itself took me to what felt like the gateway to death.

What followed? A look into an ocean, of no waves, complete calm. Without thought or action on my part, the oxygen angel visited me and I could breathe again.

From this experience, I have learned and continue to learn. Loss is relative…

I lost my driver’s license recently, probably when pulling gloves out of my coat pocket where I had put my license. This was a mere inconvenience…and I named it so.

When we are moving through our daily lives, we make mistakes, lose or misplace things, multitask to our detriment and often forget to slow down, as WE slow down. Learning to trust stillness of being while in motion takes practice.

And now, here's a poem I wrote several years ago:

Sermon from a Hummingbird by Nita Walker

Go to the very NECTAR of life’s flowers to obtain your sustenance

Hover as long as you need to nourish yourself

Simultaneously keep your wheels in motion…yet overall, create stillness

Make music as you upstroke and downstroke your wings

I hum softly and consciously throughout each day!

Fly forward, or sideways, upside down, or backwards as best fits your intent

Remember that great beauties often come in tiny offerings

Live in remarkable fashion, remembering you are each moment, a miracle!

Participants’ Reflections:

  • I want to say how much I enjoyed your poem. It was beautifully written. I loved the imagery and the humor and the message. Thank you for sharing that.

  • What a wonderful share. The whole idea of that hummingbird flitting around. It reminds me that if we are not present in the moment—the hummingbird is like the fleetingness of life. I remember that song by Seals and Croft Don’t Fly Away. Just being present in the moment. Being present with ourselves. I’ve spent so much time out of my body, in my head. It’s important, especially now, to be in the present moment. I’ve been playing meditation music. It’s helping me to stay calm. What a wonderful presentation this morning. Thank you for sharing your poetry and your insights into life.

  • Thank you for your reading and poem. I love the term ‘oxygen angel.’ It brought me back to a memory before cell phones. I was driving at midnight on the highway and it felt like something was wrong with my tire. I still remember to this day that I saw a little angel on my left shoulder who flew with me all the way home. I now call her the ‘safety angel.’ For a couple of days afterwards, there were sparkles in the woods. I knew it was the angel. I believe animals are angels. When someone is needing it, I’ve asked for medicinal angels. About fifteen feet from my apartment is a huge pine, that’s my tree angel. Thank you.

  • I agree with the earlier comments. I was sitting here with the breath versus death and the letting go. You had acceptance even as you couldn’t breathe, and the oxygen angel brought you air and you were able to breathe again. Breath after breath. Breath after that was more treasured. It’s automatic for us to breathe and yet that experience made just breathing incredibly precious. During the meditation, I was thinking about all that. And the message you got out of watching the hummingbird, it surely was a sermon from the hummingbird. Thank you for the invitation to be hummingbirds.

  • Thank you. I was really impacted by the reading and the poem. I started reflecting about the traumatic experience I had during the riots after Martin Luther King was assassinated. I was in the middle of the riots. Your reflection brought home to me that, in that situation, a cocoon surrounded me. It’s like a detachment and yet, there is a threatening reality. One gets through it. Your way to get out of it was different than mine, but it was something that came out of me and a way for me to survive in that situation. Even when it’s not such a violent threat, I remember parasailing which I did because I didn’t want to look like a wimp. I wasn’t present, I wasn’t breathing, I wasn’t looking. It was an internal threat. I cloaked myself in the thought that, if I’m going to go, I have to breathe and at least see the view. By the end, I was breathing and looking. One doesn’t realize it until facing it what resources arise to help. That’s what I reflected on and appreciate. I loved the imagery of the hummingbird.

  • It reminds me, and validates for me, that we are not alone. At times in my life when I have given up with desperation, I had experiences of finding peace through the desperation. It was on the other side of it. I completely believe in angels. I use angels all the time. I talk to them. I ask for help, and they are there in all different shapes, sizes, and jobs. It’s a wonderful thing to remember they are there. Thank you.

  • I realized, in listening to the poem, that you can be present even when you are going really fast.

  • Thank you. That was intense. I heard a paradox in what you said. To be really aware in those life and death situations where time slows down, you don’t know if you are going to live through it or not. And to be aware of the difference from a little thing like losing keys. To separate the big things from the little things. But at the same time, experiencing the paradox is to be aware that they are all just experiences to let go. They all become equal. I think that’s what Attar was talking about, to not put weight on any of those things that are happening, nothing is good, nothing is bad, they’re just happenings. That’s an interesting paradox. And when my father died, a hummingbird showed up outside the kitchen window and I’ve always associated hummingbirds with my dad.

  • Thank you. Thank you. What struck me was a little different. When you shared your near-death experience, and in that holy instant, you were able to take that breath of air and it replenished your life. In the poem, another replenishing happened when the hummingbird went to drink of the nectar and stayed there for as long as the hummingbird needed to stay there for the replenishment. For me, I am needing replenishment from the pandemic experience. It makes me realize that we will receive what we need if we pause and are still. I thank you for your gift of replenishment. It reminded me of Mr. Floyd and the loss of his breath. Beautiful reading. My calendar this year is all hummingbirds.

  • Thank you. That was beautiful. I keep hearing the words ‘flutter as long as you need to at the nectar and replenish yourself.’ It’s a nice gentle reminder.

  • Thank you. That was absolutely lovely. I celebrate with you the courage that it took to be vulnerable and share with us and relive that experience as the person you are today. What I love about this group, and what Shirley demonstrates so beautifully is that, in reflecting, we can get that paradigm shift especially when there are experiences that are hard to find equanimity because they are so frightening. They do impact us on such a deep emotional level that they literally change who we are and change our perspective. It’s so wonderful we have this safe place where we can share and process, and take the time we need to do this. My concept of you has broadened and widened now that I know you’ve had this experience and have had to process it all these years. I thank you for creating this space for all of us. Beautiful.

  • Since my mother passed, a red cardinal comes and sits outside my window on an evergreen tree. The red, the white of the snow, the green – I feel my mom’s presence.

  • There is such power in vulnerability. When I first learned of that concept, it didn’t make sense to me. But as I’ve lived through sharing my vulnerability, it is an incredible learning experience for the one sharing and for everyone listening.

  • This is a community. Your words are precious. Your presence is precious. I appreciate you all. Thank you all for being part of this powerful community where we enrich our spirits and souls. We feel community. We are not alone. We have a place to come for comfort and solace. It is everything that ensures our well-being when we are open to it. I hope you all have a gentle day.

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