Of Hummingbirds and Spending Plans

Although I have a monthly spending plan with categories for all of my expenditures, if I’m honest, it’s actually more of a check to see if I went over in any categories at the end of the month plan. 

Back in the days when my clothing allocation was $600 per month, it was a challenge if I wanted to buy an $800 pair of shoes. I’d have to find another category that I had not yet over-spent in and pilfer from that column. If you haven’t already spit out your kombucha or choked, read on.

You may be relieved to hear that my clothing allocation is now $50 per month. And perhaps you can imagine how formidable that can be for someone with my love of fashion. Add to that the fact that, now, I will only buy clothing that is organic, fair trade, US made or consignment and you have a serious fashion challenge. A completely first world problem, I am aware.

Last week, I had already spent my allotment on a couple of fantastic pieces at a consignment store here in Sebastopol that was having a 50% off sale. Major score. But I have been dreaming of a long blue, very feminine, diaphanous dress for quite some time.

Following a lovely birthday lunch with a friend, I strolled into a Mill Valley consignment store that had just such a dress hanging in the window. And it was only $48. Major conundrum here! Despite the balance in my clothing category, naturally, I had to try it on. 

The fit was impeccable. The color, stunning. I felt sublime in it. The store owner even cooed. (And this is a very grumpy store owner.)

I called the friend. I was trying to be good and stick to my plan. For a change. She suggested that I see if there were any other categories in my plan that I could re-allocate from. (I know whom to call, right?) But I knew that this was my gig. How was I ever to stick to my plan if I was always “borrowing” from other categories?

So I made a deal with the Universe. I asked for a sign. If it was okay to buy this dress, I wanted to be shown. And it was my birthday week...

I walked back to my car. It was parked in front of the house where I used to live, and in the window was an owl. Owls happen to be one of the symbols I was incorporating this month in the archetype work that I’ve been studying. Okaaaaaaaay. Maybe. This could just be me being willful – seeing what I wanted to see.

So I asked for another sign. This time I was specific. I would walk back to the store and if I saw a hummingbird, I would go ahead and buy the dress. I walked around the corner to the store. No hummingbird. Damn. I turned around and walked the block and a half back to my car. Plenty of flowers. Still no hummingbird. And I really looked. Okay. I was willing to walk away. I had made a deal and I was going to keep my end of it.

I texted my friend and told her of my bargain with the Universe and that I didn’t buy the dress.

My next stop was to head up the mountain to visit a different friend who was camping there. I knew that I couldn’t change my mind about the dress because by the time I had gotten back down the mountain post-visit, the store would be closed. I was quite proud of myself in trusting that if I were truly to have that dress that I longed for, the Universe would have shown me. I wasn’t going to be willful about it for a change.

I headed up the winding pass toward the top of Mt. Tam. About a third of the way up the mountain a text came in that, at a glance, I could see was from the friend I had messaged earlier. I had Siri read the text to me. It said, “Ha! Look at what I just bought.” Huh? 

I pulled over at the next opportunity and saw that there was a photo attached to the text. It was of a greeting card with a bejeweled hummingbird on it!!! I texted her back. “Seriously? You bought the card before you saw my text?” She said that she was in the line with the card in hand when she read my text.

hummingbird.jpg

Wow. 

Needless to say, I made a u-turn. 

Twenty minutes before closing time, I pulled into a spot directly in front of the store that already had money in the meter. The dress was still hanging in the window. It was mine. Happy birthday to me.

I do believe that we are given everything we need in this life. And some of what we want. Often a lot of what we want. I have to remember to be grateful. And to trust. Perhaps it was that trust and the willingness to let go that brought that hummingbird to me in the final moment. 

In the big picture, pretty dresses are pretty insignificant. But delight is a gift that we get to have, too. It’s sort of a wink. An, “I see you.” 

Thank you, Spirit. Thank you for all of the gifts that you give us. Every single day. And thank you for the delight of the dress!