Out on a Limb
A Monthly Newsletter from Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
April 2011



Welcome to Out on a Limb, a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark Scala. This free e-zine is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in your life.

Field Notes on Joy with Thanks to a Hummingbird

In last month’s Limb, I shared a picture of Helen the Hummingbird who built a nest just outside our dining room. Since then, a lovely miracle took place. Click here for an up-close view of what has been happening. You are really in for a 5 ˝ minute treat!

If you Google “hummingbird medicine” you will see numerous assertions that these tiny birds are the bearers of joy medicine. At Morningstar’s website, I read this: “Hummingbirds are tireless in their pursuit of Joy in life. They are always seeking the sweetest nectar." Since Helen chose to birth more joy right in my backyard, I decided she was a messenger and that it was up to me to take notes. Here are the messages I’ve gotten thus far:

  1. A mother’s work is endless. Can we ever express enough appreciation to our mothers?
  2. It doesn’t have to be pretty to be useful. Mere scraps form a sturdy nest. Something you see as disposable might be very life-affirming or useful to someone else.
  3. Joy doesn’t magically appear. Sometimes you have to “sit on your nest” a while before good or joyful things happen.
  4. Be responsible and finish what you have started. You may need to keep coming back to tend your “babies” until they are ready to fly on their own.
  5. Let others see your gifts. This invites love, appreciation and awe into your midst.
  6. Giving and receiving nourishment does not need to be elegant. It’s just absolutely necessary.
  7. Protect what is precious to you. Try not to be paranoid but take reasonable measures to guard your babies, which could be your children, art, values, wisdom, hope, etc.
  8. Don’t interfere. Let nature take its course even if this means an outcome you dread or fear. Click here for more on the topic of surrender.
  9. Share your gifts with those who will honor and respect them. It may require tremendous discernment to discover who can and can’t honor and respect your gifts/babies.

Seize any opportunity to witness new beginnings. It is both an honor and a privilege. The boost(s) you get will help you sustain hope and possibility even in difficult times. After all, hope and optimism are precursors of joy.  

What Gives You a Boost?

If you can identify that which gives you a shot in the arm, you increase the chances of actually getting a boost, but only if you take steps to receive it. For example, if the ocean’s surf is a guaranteed boost, you may just need to envision it, or see pictures/video, or you may need to schedule a road trip. The darker your mood or outlook, the more boosts you might need.



Taken April 2nd. Babies are approx. 10 days old.

Your April 2011 Prompts for Joy

Your first Prompt for Joy for this month was mentioned above. In case you missed it, click here.

Click here for an awe-inspiring piece of music performed in a beautiful forest.

Heaps of thanks to Bobbi Emel and Bill Scala for their role in making these Prompts available to you.


Joy-Gram for April 2011

Let Helen the Hummingbird be a messenger for you, too. Watch the video and see what messages you receive about the pursuit of joy from her or her babies. (Feel free to share these if you’d like.) If you want to suggest names for the babies, let me know!

About the Pictures above

Both photographs were taken by Bill Scala who is a paragon of patience.


Archives Now Available

To re-read or share past Out On A Limb newsletters, click here, or type the following url into your browser: http://www.mcscala.com/html/EZineArchives.html.

By no means do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!


Martha Clark Scala, MFT • 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 •

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