I’ll be a Hummingbird. I’ll Do the Best I Can.

by Prof RR -Rajagopalan

We are being constantly being bombarded by the problems that we face and sometimes we can get completely overwhelmed.

The story of the humming bird is about this huge forest being consumed by a fire. All the animals in the forest come out and are transfixed as they watch the forest burning and they feel overwhelmed and very powerless, except for this little humming bird. It says, “I am going to do something about this fire.” So it flies to the nearest stream, picks up a drop of water and puts it on the fire, goes up and down, up and down, up and down, as fast as it can.

In the meantime, all the other animals, much bigger ones like the elephant with its big trunk which could bring much more water, are standing there helpless. They say to humming bird, “What do you think you can do? You are too little, this fire is so big. Your wings are so little and your beak is so small, you can only bring a small drop of water at a time.”

But as they continued to discourage him, he turns to them without wasting any time and tells them, “I am doing the best I can.”

That to me is what all of us should do. We should always do like the humming bird. I may feel insignificant, but I certainly don’t want to be like the animals watching as the planet goes down the drain. I will be a humming bird. I will do the best I can.

Background: Given above is a transcript of the story as related by Wangaari Mathai, the Kenyan environmentalist, in an animation clip

from the documentary ‘Dirt!’, made by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow.

Wangari Muta Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. who founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights. In 2004 she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

The story is said to be of Ethiopian origin. I have shown this clip to many audiences and have seen that it strikes a chord with people.

A bit about Prof RR (Rajagopalan): An avid reader, former Professor at Indian Institute of Technology and expanding his wings post-retirement, he calls himself “a self-taught Liberal Arts student”. During the past 20+ years, he has gathered stories from all over the world to help convey complex messages, difficult concepts, and bring hope to all people he encounters. These stories can be found in books he has published, Environmental/Ethics/Purpose of Life Seminars he’s coordinated, and presentations given in India, US, and Mexico.  This is a gift to society as a result of Shelter-In-Place quarantine in Oakland. 

Excerpt taken from inspiringstory.org – Born in Oakland, CA on April 14, 2020 – Tamil New Year’s Day

About awakinOAK

Intentionally located in east Oakland -- to, on the one hand, overcome institutionalized violence and on the other hand, be showered by the multicultural love and wisdom from neighbors-- this small community strives for integral nonviolence and supports activities that foster fearlessness, courage, autonomy, unconditional love and compassion for all beings. Every Friday for the last 10 years, the anchors of Awakin Oakland, host "Wednesdays on Fridays", an open-house meditation night that was inspired by a family in Santa Clara who has been doing this for close to 23 years [2020] No teachers or gurus. No set agendas or proposed beliefs either. Just one strong principle -- when you change within, the world changes
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