When The Hum Stops

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What do you do when the hum in your life stops? To all the Shonda Rhimes fans who’ve watched her TedTalk, you probably know the direction this might be headed. For those of you who aren’t familiar with any of this I’ll give you a little background to what inspired this post.

In Shonda Rhimes book Year Of Yes, she spoke about how one word changed her life from the things that scared her the most. This word was yes. In her  TED Talk the “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” showrunner shared how the word yes transformed how she thought of herself as a person. The one part that I could resonate with throughout her entire talk was when she spoke about the hum.

The hum is Shonda’s way of expressing what it feels like to be in her element and ultimate zone when working. In this state, everything just flows.

What makes it [work] so good is the hum. There’s some kind of shift inside me when the work gets good,” Rhimes said. “A hum begins in my brain and it grows and it grows and that hum sounds like the open road and I could drive it forever… The hum is action and activity, the hum is a drug, the hum is music, the hum is light and air, the hum is God’s whisper right in my ear.”

Her hum, however, was broken: “The more I work to be successful, the more I need to work,” Rhimes said. “… Overworked, overused, burned out — the hum stopped.” 

The stopping of any hum in your life has got to be the most painful thing anyone can ever experience. The hum can be your work but having thought about it deeper, I think it can also be a loved one, a dream that you hold for yourself, goals that you’ve set and anything that drives & motivates you.

When the hum stops, it feels as though a part of you was ruthlessly ripped out and thrown away without warning. However you choose to define your hum, it hits us all differently when it stops but the common thing is that the pain is real. At this point, you can barely make sense of what is happening but one thing is for sure, you feel a strong bout of emptiness where the thing that filled you up the most used to exist.

You try to find ways to fill up the empty gap but the sad reality is until you acknowledge that indeed the hum is broken, you will fight it out and probably end up with more problems than just the loss of your hum.

Acknowledging that the hum has stopped/no longer exists allows you to take a step back and re-group. It allows you to question many things about why your hum stopped. Sometimes there are no logical answers and sometimes there are.

Figuring out why the hum stopped was the hardest thing for me and admittedly still is something I struggle to grasp. Perhaps it’s an age thing and as I get older and experience more pain in life, I’ll learn how not to question certain things that shatter my soul into a million pieces.

Joel Osteen encourages that we ought to keep an imaginary “I do not understand box.” This is the place where you dump everything bad that’s ever happened in your life that you simply have no answers to or the closure that you seek. I’m learning how to make use of this box more and just leave the things I don’t understand there.

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