Friday, February 5, 2016

Worth Considering

I am amazed by and grateful for the workings of synchronicity in my life such just the right people and things land in my life at just the right time. One of the greatest benefits of social media is that it opens more avenues for those connections, making the world seem more expansive and more small at the same time. Learning new things, re-considering, thinking differently . . . like trying on a new outfit or sampling a new recipe . . . fuels my creativity.

And all good things are better when shared. So here's my latest good find - Nicole Gullota and her literary food blog, Eat This Poem. In addition to her blog, Nicole shares a monthly newsletter through her digital club for creative types, The Right Brains Society.

Here's an excerpt from Nicole's February 2016 newsletter ~

During one of my spare moments during maternity leave, I watched Elizabeth Gilbert give a speech on OWN, and in it, she did something shocking. She spoke out against passion and in praise of hummingbirds.

It all started in Australia. After visiting her Facebook page after an Oprah event, Elizabeth discovered a comment by a distressed woman who said her entire life, she’s always been interested in many things, but nothing had stuck the way Elizabeth described. This woman’s heart and soul had many passions, and she felt bad for not having pursued one wholeheartedly. She felt inferior, somehow. 

Elizabeth was struck deeply, and began formulating a new idea. This is where the hummingbird comes in. There are two types of people in the world, jackhammers and hummingbirds. Jackhammers, like Elizabeth, are intense and driven, removing obstacles and focusing on only one goal in their path. They’re ruthless and, she admits, difficult to be around on occasion. Hummingbirds are the opposite. They drift from flower to flower, driven by curiosity, “pollinating” different interests over the years and contributing with unique skills. Most of us, I imagine, are hummingbirds. 

I found this distinction between jackhammers and hummingbirds fascinating.  I am clearly a hummingbird, and I cannot begin to tell you what a relief this is for me. I've often felt I was lacking when it came to passion as I simply do not have one driving goal.

One of the joys of being a hummingbird is that I never grow bored or lose interest in making things that count. I don't have to make the same old pictures over and over again. I can fly by sewing, flit over to picture-taking, hover above writing, feed on museum visits and start my journey all over again. Every. Single. Day.

Sharing a few of my favorite pictures from a recent trip to Richmond, Virginia when everywhere I turned I saw something worthy of artful recording. Curiosity is the best travel guide.

I wonder, are you a jackhammer or a hummingbird?


  1. Donna how very fascinating . I think I m in the same bird family as you are, maybe not as fast but I loved this read and the photos as well. Happy Weekend.

  2. I'm definitely a hummingbird. I wish I had more hours in the day to spend on all my interest. The worse part is, for some reason I feel guilty spending time doing the things I love.

  3. Thank you for this, Donna. I am definitely a hummingbird and have been agonizing lately about my lack of 'passion' and inability to focus single-mindedly on any one thing for any length of time. I like the visual of flitting about from flower to flower, also with great intensity--that's not reserved for jackhammers! I will embrace my hummingbird-ness and stop worrying that I'm not a jackhammer--I mean, who would want to be a jackhammer anyway?!

  4. I watched that Liz Gilbert talk a few months ago, it was so very clarifying. I am definitely a hummingbird, but I am married to a jack hammer, which can cause problems at times. My daughter is also a hummingbird, hard when you are 22 and trying to figure out your life. Loved the photos from your adventure.

  5. First, the gorgeous photos make me wish I had your eye and skill. I drank in every single picture, envious. Yet the best part of seeing your photos is that it helps me sharpen my eye. You continue to be my photography mentor!

    Now, about being a jackhammer. Yes, I am one and want to weigh in on this discussion. It's a dismal-sounding title--who the hell wants to be a one-job-only jackhammer when they could be a jewel-like hummingbird, bringing joy wherever they are seen? I have been a jackhammer since I was seven, bent on one job, going in one direction only with no side trips.

    And while there are times (like right now) when I wish I was a hummingbird, my jackhammer tendencies have built a career, with no education, no advantages, and no real support for many years. Jackhammers know each other when they look up from their work and bump into each other. We are thrilled to find someone else like us, someone we can gab about our passion to, who understands what it means to give up many of life's pleasures to do the work we were called to do.

    Most jackhammers have little choice in the matter. Their work is a deep, driving force. If they don't or can't do that work, they are miserable. And so is everyone around them. Jackhammers are not easy people to live with. They work hard, too hard, often. But they create the books, paint the pictures, advance science and medicine, and, yes, take the photographs.

    Sometimes I pretend I am a hummingbird. I'll work on an art project, take photographs, have little adventures. But you know what? It never really works because the art projects, the photos, the little adventures are always part of the work.

    That's what it's like to be a jackhammer. It's not fun much of the time but when the work is going well, when you know you are doing the right work for the right reasons, there is nothing better.

  6. How cool is this post on the hummingbird, true and nice concept. Love the paint filled aprons and the quote beside it. You found a treasure trove of interest here. What a lovely time you must have had. I continue to think of you at this time and hope you are mucking through. :) Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. All of your photos are worth considering. Gosh the diversity in which you shoot us wonderful. I'm like that also. The fact that you just get out there is amazing. Winter here is not always good but when the snow comes it's gorgeous. You are living life exactly the way it is suppose to be lived. That's a gift to yourself.😍

  8. I'm definitely a hummingbird, but I'm thankful for the jackhammers in this world! Your images are inspiring, Donna, as always!

  9. Flower to flower for me, even more so these days. I've become enamored of this state of beginner's mind. Even more because i can see the beauty in it, which was not always so. Lovely images, Donna. That barn! <3


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