Hummingbirds from the universe + an invitation to practice pleasure
A few weeks ago I FaceTimed with my dad to wish him a happy birthday, he was sitting in the garden so I asked him to give me a little tour around. I can hardly believe it’s been over three years since I’ve last visited my family and friends.
One of the things I really miss is my parents garden. Growing up it has always been my favourite place, my haven.
My dad showed me the palm trees and olive trees, the red poppies, the arum-lilies...
We spotted two hummingbirds flying together around the salvias.
I’ve always been in awe of these tiny creatures ever since I was a child, and so that moment filled my heart with joy and in an instant I got this overall comforting feeling that everything is going to be ok.
In the thick of a week of trying to juggle work and parenting without childcare, this moment felt magical. It felt like a synchronicity.
My inner voice was telling me: ‘google the spiritual meaning of hummingbirds’
And there it was, a timely reminder -
“If the hummingbird shows up in your life, it may remind you to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and take time to enjoy yourself. The hummingbird’s wisdom carries an invitation to take part in and draw to you life’s sweetness, like you would drink the nectar of your own flower”
Presence and joy are things I try to practice in my life every day and I encourage my clients to do the same. As someone with ‘high achiever’ tendencies (I generally don’t like labelling myself or my clients -- I see behaviours / tendencies more as a spectrum we can move through rather than a black or white fixed state) it’s easy for me to fall into the beliefs that I need pressure to get what I want, that I need to hustle to see results or that my worth comes from my levels of productivity.
Over the last several years, I’ve been working on rewiring my brain for pleasure. For ease. For thinking about life RIGHT NOW and trying to make it as light and enjoyable as possible. I had to redefine what “success” meant for me (there's nothing successful about achieving something but not enjoying the journey towards it or ‘getting there’ feeling totally depleted).
This mindset changed everything for me.
And so to make sure I keep standing in this truth I’ve committed myself to 'practice' PLEASURE daily.
From choosing to eat food I love, to wearing comfortable clothes that make me feel good, to doing my best to make every day as amazing as it possibly can be (even when I have things to do that I don’t want to do), to sneaking in moments of joy whenever possible (just reading a book in a cafe or going for a walk with an inspiring podcast or music I love… it’s the little things), or investing money in things that truly make me happy (anything from candles to a massage to a coaching program).
I run my business in a way that feels as joyful as possible – of course, like in any career, there are lots of not joyful things, but I allow space for both.
I make time for rest and relaxation, knowing that by following the natural rhythms and needs of my body, I can spring forward with more energy and a “fuller cup” when it’s ‘go time’.
I’ve come a long way in terms of my relationship to my joy and pleasure. It has had a massive impact on me, and I have seen the impact it has had on many women I’ve worked with when they focus on their own pleasure.
Most ambitious, caring, brilliant women tend to put off pleasure and desire as something they need to earn by working hard, or a “nice to have” when they’ve checked everything off their to-do list. It keeps us in the hamster wheel of attaching our worth to things outside of ourselves - results, outcomes, productivity, external validation.
And so today, I want to invite you to start exploring this idea of pleasure, too:
Can you gently tell your inner critic that you don’t need to earn pleasure, that you can make time for it right now? you don’t need to earn pleasure. You don’t need to look a certain way, achieve certain things or make a certain amount of money to claim your desires. Pleasure is your birthright.
I would encourage you to ask yourself today… How can I make my days more pleasurable?
The first step is knowing what you want.
What would the most luxurious, incredible day look like?
What would you eat?
How and where would you eat it?
What would you wear?
Who would you spend time with?
What would you talk about?
How would you take care of yourself?
What would bring so much joy? Design the most amazing day in your life. How can you create a version of that in your life now?
How can you sprinkle micro moments of self care into your day?
How can you add more magic into the mundane? (light a candle when you’re cooking? Create a fun cooking playlist?)
Can you carve out an hour a week to do something for yourself?
Can you buy yourself flowers? If you’re afraid that leaning into pleasure would mean becoming complacent, I can pinky promise that it won't. The best things in my life (business and beyond) happened when I made space and prioritised pleasure in my life. Whenever I approached life through the lens of “to get what I want it needs to be hard” life felt hard and frustrating. Do you know what’s really interesting about hummingbirds? They are capable of traveling great distances, they can fly forward, backward, and even upside down, and they have speed. Yet they are one of the few groups of birds that go into a very deep, sleep-like state, they rest, too. They fly fast and long distances, AND they enjoy the nectar of the flowers. There's a way of relating to life that's conducive to both achievement AND happiness.