A Hummingbird Flew into My Monastery Cell
In my Value Anatomy spreadsheet, the Hummingbird is a symbol of Joy and Vitality, Enthusiasm and the kind of a Spark that we all hope for in our lives. Luckily, I have one such Hummingbird in my team – Alasdair Bouch.
Aside from being a musician who gives joy to audiences, he’s also good with languages and well conversant in personal-development matters. Songwriters are essentially poets and have a high sensibility for nuance in language. And that’s precisely what I needed for this project.
What I didn’t expect was the ease with which Alasdair tuned into my work and fundamentally understood it. He visited me in the monastery cell, where I’m writing, sat in my chair and naturally took over the keyboard. Then he sifted through my spreadsheet item by item for over 7 hours.
He tirelessly asked me the right questions. “Why is this here?” and “How does this relate to this animal symbol?” and “Isn’t this essentially the same thing as that?” But being familiar with the chakra concept, he could also sense when some item was in the wrong spot regarding its quality. “This is way too earthy for this position,” he would say, shifting an item into the first chakra slot. “Isn’t this more of a Love thing?” and “I see this as a fifth-chakra thing, it’s about communication isn’t it?”
Three things really shook me up. First, the realization that it made complete sense to him, that someone – anyone at all! – could get it at first sight. This brought me a great sense of relief and excitement. I didn’t produce an overwhelming monster of a spreadsheet, but one that people can understand! Hurray!
The second thing that blew me away was the depth of our conversations that sprung from his questions and the fact that for those 7 hours of extremely intensive creative work we didn’t have one single disagreement. He would ask, I would either have an answer or realize that I don’t, and then we’d find a solution. My greatest victory was when I heard “OK, I’ll give you that one.” He was playing a tough Devil’s advocate and it worked.
The third thing were moments of silent disbelief when we got something right. I mean really RIGHT. We would almost randomly shift an item from one spot to another, and suddenly it clicked. It would relate to all the other items in the column and often even to those in a row. Suddenly we’d know that it can’t be in any other place.
If this was a jigsaw puzzle, this would be the moment of adding a piece with an eye on it and suddenly being able to recognize the face we were building all along. All pieces of a puzzle are important, and the picture isn’t complete if even a single one is missing. But there are some that move us closer to being able to imagine the whole picture.
Yet this wasn’t a game; it was more like catching glimpses of the structure of human nature, the threads that weave the web of our psyche. Much like A-ha moments in personal development, these clicking-in-the-perfect-spot moments were exhilarating for us, almost sacred and certainly humbling. We’d do copy and paste and suddenly hold our breath – This is it! It can’t be any other way!
Thank you, Alasdair! You are one amazing Hummingbird!