The power of gratitude – a lesson from hummingbirds

This week I received a beautiful reminder about the power of gratitude, a lesson remembered courtesy of migrating hummingbirds making a pit stop in my backyard.

My family and I used to live in a lovely condo right on the bayou in Mandeville, Louisiana. We had a resident alligator, a maintenance free pool and some fantastic neighbors. It was a coveted location near the lakefront. We had much to be thankful for. My favorite spot was a small balcony located off the master bedroom on the second story shaded by a giant oak tree. There I could sit and hear the sounds of the bullfrogs in the bayou and the trickling of water from the fountain in the nearby community space. It was MY spot. The place I went for quiet and to relax. It was also the place where I completed my morning writing each day.

What is morning writing?

Morning writing is a practice that I’ve incorporated into my daily life. It’s free-writing, which is simply stream of consciousness to paper, unfiltered and unedited. You write what comes to you and you keep on writing for 30 minutes or three pages, whichever comes first, even if you feel you’ve run out of things to say…you keep writing. This practice has become a source of incredible insight and I’m using these “downloads”, as I call them, that I receive as the inspiration for my blog. The Daily Download. Today’s Daily Download is about the power of gratitude.

The very best thing about my balcony space was the hummingbirds. There were typically three or four flitting back and forth between my two feeders and the big adjacent oak tree. And as I mentioned, it was a TINY balcony. What this meant was that the hummingbirds were a mere 18 inches away from me sitting at my bistro table in the corner. I was in love with this space. The condo itself, however, was missing something I knew I very much wanted in my life. A yard. More specifically, a BIG yard. I wanted to be surrounded by woods. I dreamed of having enough land to accommodate a big flock of chickens roaming the property. Of a garden and room for the girls to play. So we set out in search of and shortly found the perfect house.

I was ecstatic, it had everything we wanted. But would there be hummingbirds? There was no balcony…

Mindset matters

I can’t tell you the number of days I sat on that balcony at the condo, my heart filled with contentment, feeling grateful for my secluded corner and the gift of the company of the hummingbirds. When we were settled into our new home I created a space in which to do my morning writing. Nestled in a swinging egg chair on the back porch I would remember the hummingbirds fondly. I didn’t think of our time on the balcony with longing but with appreciation for having had the experience. This is the difference between having an abundance or a lack mentality.

An abundance mentality celebrates what you have, where you are and where you’ve been. It is a feeling of contentment and gratitude for what is. A lack mentality emphasizes what is missing. When we focus on what we don’t have, through wishing or wanting we are unintentionally living in a lack mentality. Do you see the difference? What we want can be the same thing, in this instance, the company of hummingbirds. But depending on which thought process we adopt we put out one of two completely different vibrations into the universe. An abundance mentality shows gratitude for our having had the experience, a lack mentality longs for the experience we are missing. In a nutshell, when it comes to energy we get what we give, so thoughts of gratitude always yield a better harvest than thoughts of lack.

The power of gratitude

We decided to put up a couple of feeders this spring to see what happened, and guess what?! Hummingbirds came! We had one or two that frequented our two feeders over the summer, every time I heard the familiar buzz and that quick flit of green it brought a smile to my face. My friends were back.

A week or so ago we heard that the hummingbirds were migrating through the area and thought “Why not?” let’s put up 6 feeders and see if they come. And then, something phenomenal happened, boy did they show up! There were easily twenty hummingbirds in our yard the next morning. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Hearing the low hum of their collective buzz, my eyed darting from this feeder to that trying to count them, but ultimately giving up because they were just too many and they were simply too fast. It was an experience I’ll not soon forget. I am once again overcome with feelings of gratitude and appreciation.

The universe amplified that to which I was grateful for. That’s the way it works. If you’re interested in hearing more about mindfulness, learning to listen and lean into our intuition and other inspired musings I’d love for you to subscribe to the blog and join me as I share my Daily Downloads.


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    Documenting authenticity in Southern Louisiana and beyond.

    Jess Lagrange



    (913) 579-8005

    Madisonville, LA