Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

images-2In you fast-paced world it can be hard to slow on and tune ino you. Today my guest is Noelle M. Meade-Izzi is the author of “The Hummingbird That Answered My Heart’s Calling,” a full-color photo-book that tells the story of Artemis. The experience was also featured in the U.S. Humane Society publication, “All Animals.” Meade-Izzi is a nature photographer by hobby and a professional graphic designer for the marketing and advertising industries. Her work has been recognized by the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) prestigious Addy Creative Awards for design excellence, including a Best in Show. Here’s her avie for you:

How to Make a Date with Your Soul
3 Tips for Getting Out of the Grind and Into Well-Being
By Noelle M. Meade-Izzi

By a large margin, Americans hate their jobs, according to a recent Gallup poll, which found 70 percent of the work force is either completely disengaged from or thoroughly despises their work.

Since the 2008 economic crisis, millions of Americans have been hit hard in most aspects of their lives – their homes, their jobs, their personal lives. I was one of them. A fast-paced lifestyle in the corporate world combined with the market crash and other negative forces were crushing my sense of well-being.

That was all changed by the tiniest bird known to man – a hummingbird I eventually named Artemis. She was building a little nest right next to my balcony. Witnessing her small yet heroic efforts to complete the nest for her chick and then raise it to maturity, all on her own, helped nurse me through a healthy and spiritual transformation.

Nature offers an abundance of such everyday miracles. Seeing the extraordinary within the ordinary helps put the stressors and strife of our lives into perspective. Here’s how I got in touch with my inner hummingbird:images-1

•    Find your Artemis: I was at a low point in my life when I saw the little hummingbird – a species so tiny, many people never notice it. At one point, I heard the fluttering of wings outside my bedroom screen slider early in the morning. It was the hummingbird and it seemed to be summoning me. After following her to the nest, I discovered Artemis’ chick had hatched. Did she really intend to show me what happened? I think so; we’d developed a palpable bond throughout the entire nesting process. Nature is everywhere and abounds with beauty and inspiration – you just have to look for it.

•    Don’t fear the quiet: Waking up before you’re ready, making the coffee, rushing to work and getting inundated with complaints, getting stuck in traffic on the way home and, oh yeah, you have to stop at the grocery store … Rinse and repeat on Tuesday. Sound familiar? Workdays don’t have to be a grind! Many of us have gotten so accustomed to incessant chatter in our lives – from our mobile smartphones to what’s inside our own heads – that we don’t know how to respond to and appreciate silence. There are many ways to silence the chatter, which offers surprising renewal and fresh perspectives. From meditation to yoga to simply enjoying the sound of rain on your roof, make time for quiet.

•    Focus on empathy: It was the focus on something extraordinarily small and completely other than me – Artemis – that helped me find my deeper self. Obsessing over what I didn’t like in my life did not help me affect positive change – in fact, it made things worse. Empathy helps us hurdle the very tall walls of our ego and puts us in the shoes of someone else and what their experience must be like. In turn, we gain perspective on our own unique lives and find them more manageable.
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