Nature photographer shares 3 tips for getting out of the grind and into well-being.
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,” says Noelle M. Meade-Izzi, whose busy lifestyle in the corporate world, combined with the market crash and other negative forces, had been crushing her sense of well-being.
“Somehow, 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.”
Meade-Izzi, author of The Hummingbird That Answered My Heart’s Calling, offers tips for those who are open to experiencing life’s everyday miracles—seeing the extraordinary within the ordinary–in the midst of the stressors and strife that seem to inundate our lives. “Get in touch with your inner hummingbird,” she says…
• Find your Artemis: Meade-Izzi was at a low point in her life when she saw the little hummingbird—a species so tiny, many people never notice it. At one point, she heard the audible fluttering of wings outside her bedroom screen slider early in the morning. It was the hummingbird, who seemed to be summoning her. After following her to the nest, Meade-Izzi discovered Artemis’ chick had hatched. “Did she really intend to show me what happened?” she asks. “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 and appreciate silence,” Meade-Izzi says. There are many ways to silence the chatter, which offers surprising renewal and fresh perspectives, she says. 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 herself—Artemis—that helped Meade-Izzi find her 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,” she says. 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.”