Flight of the Hummingbird

©2009 Carlisle Bergquist, MA, LCMFT,

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Enjoying the warm sunshine while contemplating one of those forks in the road we always hear about, a beautiful green Anise hummingbird navigated through the red blossoms of a succulent carefully positioning itself to extract the nectar from each flower before it moved on to the next.  Then, hovering directly in front of my face at eye level, a bright crimson-orange flash came from the hummingbird’s breast followed by several more as it danced before me in the sunlight.  Perhaps he was contemplating what sort of flower I was, but each time his vibrant burst went right inside me as potently as if Commander Kirk had blasted me with a Phaser.  It stunned me.  I took it as an affirmation that my decision was correct still it would take several years to realize the complete significance of that colorfully illuminated encounter.

In Andean mysticism, I later found out, the hummingbird represents the North, the wisdom position on the medicine wheel.  It is the symbol of the soul.  It demonstrates its courage and wisdom in the vast migration it makes each year from the jungles of Brazil to the hills and valleys of North America.  With its tiny body and diminutive wings, it flies across the expanse of ocean traveling on what seems like only the will to fulfill its ancestral destiny.  Along the path leading to my fork in the road, I read like a sponge absorbing every mystical and esoteric text I could find.  One book called Healing States by Stanley Krippner and Alberto Villoldo, spawned an earlier flash from the soul.  Now, like the hummingbird on little wings, I was fluttering towards destiny on my epic journey.

The awareness represented by the hummingbird is the realm of archetypes and the sacred.  It is the ability to perceive the mythic in the mundane.  For example, your physical presence [1] is sitting in front of your computer right now as your mind [2] interprets the symbols on the screen into words, phrases, and concepts; but, who’s reading, who’s observing through the mind and the body?  Like a hummingbird darting from flower to flower, your soul—indwelling consciousness—is experiencing this, it draws the nectar of meaning that connects to your life and ultimately that connects you the reader with this author across time and space.

So, what happens when we shift our awareness to the perspective of the hummingbird?  If we look at our lives from the perspective of being the soul within, our journey changes from solving day-to-day problems, to experiencing an adventure.  Life changes from cycling through the same old worries, to discovering what each day offers.  Clearly, it takes a little practice to let go of the control we “think” we have in our lives and learn to trust that everything has a purpose on our great adventure.  We may need to attract the inner hummingbird into the garden of our everyday awareness.

We need hummingbird feeders for our inner landscape the same as in the flowerbed.  Think about the things that feed your soul, things that draw you out of your personal sense of self and connect you with a broader vision.  Maybe it’s reading an inspirational book, or writing one; perhaps it’s listening to uplifting music, or seeing the multiple shades of green as you gaze across a park.  It could be a meditation practice or simply noticing the way the colors blend in a favorite painting.  Everybody is different but everyone has a doorway to his or her inner world.  When we feed the hummingbird within us, it becomes easier to see the events in our lives as interesting lessons, part of the discoveries on our grand life tour. 

We starve our inner hummingbird when we stay in our head, in our thoughts.  If the tiny bird analyzed its stature, it would determine that it could never fly with such small wings nor could it store enough energy in its minute body to make a transatlantic flight.  It doesn’t question, it moves towards its destiny.  Hummingbird consciousness draws the big picture; it gives the inspiration that changes lives knowing that the mind and body are tools it will use to accomplish the task.  If we realize the magnitude of the possibilities we embody, we need not look so cautiously before we leap.  We just need to take off trusting that our soul will find the route and provide everything that is required even if we don’t know exactly what we are doing.  A well-fed inner hummingbird will surely guide the way.

My encounter those years ago, both literally and figuratively, called me to an epic journey just as the Andean tradition describes.  It led me through the fork in the road to graduate studies and eventually to Brazil where I met nearly everyone described in the book.  Calls from hummingbird are easy to overlook at first.  The mind will tell you that it isn’t real, your body will tell you, “you can’t pull it off.”  Nevertheless, callings are persistent.  If you don’t listen the first time, they get louder.  If you never listen, they turn into a nagging “could have been.”  If you’re lucky, it will zip right up in front of your eyes and flash you awake.  In whatever manner you perceive its message, before your mind talks you out of it, be thankful, respond, and prepare to take the fight of the hummingbird.

Hummingbird Feeders:

The Four Insights, by Alberto Villoldo

Masters of the Living Energy, by Joan Parisi Wilcox

Vantage Quest VI, a brainwave entrainment CD for deep trance meditation by this author.

[1] The serpent symbolizes the physical world.

[2] The jaguar symbolizes the mental realm.




Article Summaries

The Coyoté Oak: Burgeoning Wisdom

The Coyoté Oak: Burgeoning Wisdom (Preview Chapters)
by Carlisle Bergquist

A modern-day parable for planet in transformation.

"The Coyoté Oak:  Burgeoning Wisdom by Carlisle Bergquist lives up to its name.  Like the trickster Coyoté, this fanciful read informs with unpredictable authority.  The visionary novel weaves deep ecology, shamanism, quantum physics, Native American spirituality, Taoism, mysticism, and even Christianity into an engaging healing adventure.  No small accomplishment as its wisdom rings loud and exquisitely clear.  The author’s vivid descriptions engulf the senses; you can almost taste the pancakes, smell the moss, see the sunsets and you will certainly fall in love with the characters.  Expect to be drawn in deep, transformed and left howling for more." Share Guide - San Francisco, CA

Available wherever books are sold

ISBN:  0-9791750-6-2
Published by Reality Press

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An Exploration Using General Living Systems Theory

Creativity is the merger of matter/energy with new information.  The process of bringing something new into existence, is an inherent characteristic of life.  To live is to create whether we do so unconsciously, or with full awareness.  This essay is an academic approach to the creative process using James Miller's General Living Systems Theory to model the course from non-being to created work.

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Psychoanalytic, Behaviorist, & Humanistic

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Dancing With The Whole:
A Theory of Creative Entrainment

The holistic theory models entrainment as a communicative occurrence. Examples are given from several disciplines and four stages of entrainment are delimited. The essay compares theoretical quantum physicist David Bohm's notions of order with the realms of spirit, mind, and body. It proposes stages of entrainment operant throughout these realms and suggests that they perform cumulatively in the creative or unfolding process. The systems perspective develops the thesis that humankind is an iteration of a larger system and that entrainment is a central factor in the transduction of information between individuals and across system levels.

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Many cultures around the globe embrace sound in their exoteric and esoteric traditions. This essay reviews the role sound plays in the religions, creation myths, and sacred technologies of various peoples. This review connects creativity with healing which is considered an act of regeneration thus creating health in the body. Several varieties of healing through sound are discussed including music, drumming, toning, chant, instruments, Kabballah, and prayer. The essay proposes that techniques of sound healing and therapy currently rely on the intuitive ability of individual practitioners. Acknowledging the need for effective healing modalities, it calls for research that can qualify the elemental effects of existing sounds, tones and prayers. Such categorization may help construct an applied holistic healing technology.

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Nutrition for Colossal Creativity & Peak Performance

Colossal creativity is a state of balance amongst the mind, the body, and the spirit that actuates human potential. This article concentrates on the vitamin and nutritional components of our system so that they resonate more clearly. The focus is on the brain which rests at the focal point of our physical, mental, and spiritual worlds. It traps and interprets inspiration that comes from deep within, transforming it from one world to another. Colossal creativity unfolds when we nourish every part of our being. Digest new thoughts and ideas to nourish your mind. Develop a daily practice -- whatever your faith -- that invites active participation from your Spiritual-Self.

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An essay for general audiences that explores the creative process comparing it with the duality described in many philosophical and spiritual traditions. Techniques are given to apply these strategies to ones individual work.

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Guest Articles

How Money is Created

by Paul Krumm

Toward an Economy Based on Curiosity and Caring Instead of Greed

by Paul Krumm


  • While the network of money transactions around the world is very complex, the way money works is really rather simple, and is understandable by the ordinary person.

  • The study of the operation of money is pivotal to any discussion of cultural values and social justice, as money is the basic language of economic relationships, and the values built into this language impact all social relationships.

In this paper we will describe how the present money game is structured.  We will show that the idea that money is value neutral is not correct, and go on to describe how money functions to promote greed.

Some preliminary suggestions will be given, based on theory and what has worked in the past, to change the values built into our money to ones that are more congruent with a curiosity and caring driven economy.

We will also show how the present money game is not sustainable, note that the same changes that lead to a curiosity and caring based system are the same changes that make money and our economy sustainable.

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An essay written in the wake of events on September 11, 2001.  This piece addresses the struggles we experience to see beyond the pain.  The author draws together the thoughts of many personal growth writers into an inspiring tonic for our wounded souls.