Before bed last night, Eric invited me to watch a segment of a TV show which documented how Mountain Lions (aka Pumas, Cougars) live in and around human populations quite well. One surprising location is the Santa Monica Mountains in the middle of Los Angeles. The big cats manage to cover a large territory and remain invisible — most of the time!
But the backyard surveillance cameras of hillside homes, as well as cameras placed in the cats’ habitat by researchers, do catch some amazing shots of wild visitors. In addition to Mountain Lions, the cameras captured great images of Coyotes, Foxes and even Bears! My favorite was a mother Mountain Lion who plopped herself right down in front of a camera to nurse her two cubs.
As I slipped under the covers for a heavenly night of rest, I guess I had animals on my mind. And when I watch a show about animals or pet my cat or dog, I notice my mind calms. The same slow-down effect happens for me around elephants or giraffes (so big, so awesome) or while swimming with dolphins in Florida (playful and fun).
So, last night I had a vivid dream, and in the dream, around an animal, my mind went still! I was standing outdoors, and noticed the unmistakable sound of a hummingbird hovering. I turned to see where he was, and when I found him, he came closer. Much to my surprise, he landed on my right arm, which I had raised to brush the hair out of my face. Where he perched was near my wrist (close to my face!) and I was so thrilled to see him so clearly and intimately. I think I held my breath at first, but he appeared to be quite at home sitting there on my arm, as if to say, “Hey, no big deal. I do this sort of thing every day. I’m used to it!” I relaxed. His feathers were bright — some were neon — and they did not lay flat. He was clearly dressed more for self-expression than for perfect aerodynamics! He looked pretty wild and fun!
But the most unusual thing about this bird was that his eyes were large for his tiny body and when I peered at him, he blinked and looked right back, and my mind stopped. I remember that feeling so clearly. We looked at each other for quite a while, just being together in the moment. It was wonder-ful, as in “full of wonder…”
When it comes to slowing the mind, what practices take you out of your head? Racquetball? Running? Meditation? Singing? Walking in nature?
Writing is another practice that, for some people, stops mind chatter. For me it does. Hours go by and I have to set a timer to remind myself to get up and walk around. Next week, I’ll give you an update on the book I’m writing about Relationships!
In the meantime, imagine a big-eyed hummingbird perched on your finger, and have a little meditation with him. Or something – or nothing! However you do it, take time to think about nothing today.