The Death of a Hummingbird
Halfway into my 15-year career in higher education, I came home from work late one evening to find that a hummingbird had flown through an open door in our sunroom and broken its neck on a window. I was shaken deeply, upset by the sight of a magnificent creature whose life was cut short because of the illusion created by the windows. This illusion of openness/safety, in combination with the hummingbird's speed, caused its death. The metaphor wasn't lost on me; I too was moving through life quickly (with "busy-ness"), believing in the illusion of the safety of a rewarding but demanding job.
Though I consciously recognized a connection between the hummingbird and myself, I didn’t know what or how to change my life. Everything was going well, except for the exhaustion I felt daily. Though the challenges of adult life – career, mortgage, marriage, motherhood, etc. – were very real, I genuinely loved my work and my colleagues. I enjoyed higher education and felt a sense of pride and purpose in all that we were collectively creating. We were transforming lives! Why would I change my direction and walk away from a rewarding career just because a hummingbird broke its neck on our sunroom window? The exhaustion, I reasoned, was simply the reality of “adulting” – and something to learn to accept, not overcome. But there was always a nagging question – was the hummingbird an extension of me in some way? The answer would come years later, in the form of illness.
As the years rolled by, I poured myself into my work. I was committed to giving 150% to my job – to the students, to my colleagues, and to the vision that we were creating. I was successful and gained increasing levels of responsibility and experience. I loved achieving, not for the sake of achievement, but to make a difference in the world. It was this drive to make a difference, and to work with like-minded people, that lured me into work addiction. Eventually, everything else became secondary to my work: my health, my relationships, my hobbies, my leisure time, and my spiritual life. This led to an overriding sense of burdened responsibility. I felt like everything was “up to me,” and that the only solution was uninterrupted hard work (which frequently involved sleep deprivation). This often resulted in:
· Struggling to trust in something larger than myself,
· Feelings of anxiety that prevented deep, relaxed connection to others,
· Depending on work accomplishments for my sense of meaning/purpose,
· Navigating professional challenges with diminished emotional resilience and flexibility,
· Feeling regularly disconnected from deep joy & awe in the world around me . . .
a sign of dis-integration of my personality and Soul.
Illness As Awakening
And then unexpectedly, I developed random, painful physical symptoms that led to a diagnosis of multiple autoimmune diseases, some of which could be fatal. After 15 years in higher education, I was forced to re-evaluate my choices: maintain my current priorities or change them. I remembered the hummingbird and realized the question had already been answered years before. I would end up like the hummingbird in my sunroom unless I changed my lifestyle. I resigned and reprioritized.
Restored Wholeness and Health
I turned to my roots in dance, somatic psychology, dance/movement therapy, energy healing, spirituality, and contemplative practices (meditation, yoga, tai chi and Authentic Movement) for support and guidance. I began to align my work with my belief/knowing that we’re all spiritual beings, and that we're on the planet currently to learn how to live Soul-infused lives rather than personality-infused lives. This resulted in a new way of serving, of making a difference in this world, while also taking good care of myself, my relationships, and my spiritual development.
I am eternally gratefully for my illnesses because they woke me up. They taught me that I’d placed more trust in my personality than my Soul (my direct connection to God/Source). They helped me understand not only what my deepest needs are, but how to prioritize them (because regular self-care used to seem nearly impossible). They enabled me to commit to a path of wellness and healing, helping me recover my sense of wholeness, which in turn has restored my health.
Why I Started Embodied Wholeness, LLC
I started Embodied Wholeness, LLC to offer some of the modalities that helped me recover my wholeness, in order to support others in their healing and transformation: Soul Focused Energy Healing, Authentic Movement, and NeurOptimal® Dynamical Neurofeedback®. Though my journey to becoming a healer and creating Embodied Wholeness, LLC has been circuitous, I'm so grateful for this winding path. My varied educational, professional, artistic and interpersonal experiences have strengthened my practice by enabling me to relate in a practical, grounded way to a variety of life circumstances across many generations. If any of these services are of interest to you, please feel free to schedule an appointment with me online, or reach out to me through email, phone or text. I would be honored to support you on your unique and sacred journey to health and wholeness.
Laura is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist and a certified NeurOptimal® Dynamical Neurofeedback® basic trainer, providing services in North Wilkesboro, NC. Additional information coming soon.