Still Sitting There?


“Almost everybody is reluctant to change almost everything. Whatever you learned as a kid, you just want to keep always.”

_Dean Kamen, Inventor of many things, including the Segway


 I was getting my miles in, walking along the same route I take most every day.  Not a bad route, mind you…the San Francisco Bay on both sides of me, and spring blossoms along the shoreline. I rounded the corner and there he was, still sitting there! That cute little hummingbird I see every single day and always sitting in THAT tree on the SAME branch no matter what time of day I pass by.


I am sure an ornitholgist would have a scientific answer for it, but I always shake my head, feeling both curiosity and some strange kind of impatient judgment about the little guy. “Why in the world with all these trees, gorgeous plants, beautiful water would he choose to stay in that same dang tree?


Then today, there he was, but this time, I saw something in him that reminded me of myself. Though I would argue that routine is good for us in many ways, it can also be a seductive and subtle form of fear. Sometimes it feels safe to stay in the same tree. Yes, there are lots of beautiful places we could be, but this one we KNOW. What might happen if we leave it? Someone else might move in, or perhaps it won’t be there when we return…worse, maybe we will forget how to get back. Does this feel familiar?


We go to the same restaurants, eat the same entree because, well dammit, we just like that dish. There are 5267 campgrounds in California (just making this up), and we head for the same spot under our same tree every single year.


We go to work every day, pack the same lunch, sit at the same desk and feel the same way we have felt for who knows how long…and it isn’t a happy to be there kind of feeling. Thank God the office doesn’t have windows to distract us or lure us into thinking that somewhere out there is what we want to be doing. 


I don’t know if hummingbirds feel fear or clutch things tightly to those little chests of their for fear of losing their branch. I do know, however that every single second of the day we have hundreds of choices we CAN make. And I know all too well the lure of the branch.


What is keeping you from taking off, leaving your “tree”? What is the cost to you for staying where you are? Do you know? Do you even have the courage it takes to want to know?


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