January 2021: Blessed Bees
I love bees. I have always had an affinity for them. When I was a young child, my father—who was an amateur apiarist at the time—taught me and my older brother to respect and not be scared of bees. I have never been stung; but my brother was once. My father promptly applied a mud pack to draw out the stinger and no harm was done. To my knowledge, no one in my immediate family has an allergy to bee stings. However, there really is only one way to find out—the hard way! But with a little education and respect, it is not difficult to avoid being stung.
After I married, my initials (BZ) came in handy to purposefully embrace identification with bees. I began personalizing handmade cards with my initials and a bee stamp. The obsession, if one can call it that, grew from there. I began collecting bee-themed objects. Now my kitchen is decorated with a bee and daisies motif. Friends and family have begun to get in on the action creating delightful works of art to adorn my kitchen walls. The feature photo is one of a pair of cross stitched projects my sister made for me this last Christmas.
Recently, I finished reading Song of Increase: Listening to the Wisdom of Honeybees for Kinder Beekeeping and a Better World by American beekeeper Jacqueline Freeman. Now I wish I had an acreage on which to start keeping bees! 🙂 My yard is big enough for one hive; but I doubt the neighbours would approve. Nor am I as patient as the author in educating neighbours about healthy bee populations. But I am looking forward to planting bee-friendly flowers in my garden this summer that will certainly be pesticide free.
Beekeeping aside, this book affirmed my affinity for bees. I even joked with a client about bees being my spirit animal. A bit later, photos appeared in a text about bees from a book about spirit animals she owned. Not surprisingly, the spirit animal book focused on the industry and productivity of bees. While I am a task-oriented person that likes to keep busy, my affinity for bees goes much deeper than that after reading about their natures.
Bees are all about loving kindness. They work together for the good of the hive, the local and global community of bees, and the well-being of the planet. Using their stingers has significant purpose for it becomes a suicide mission. Bees cannot live once they have released their stinger as they lose their entire bee-hind. 🙂 It is a conscious decision on the bee’s part to sacrifice its life for the greater good: of the hive, of the beekeeper, of the cosmos.
This genuine concern for others and the greater good is what clarified my affinity for bees as I am a person who is keen on kindness and collaboration. I, too, am genuinely concerned for the well-being of others: be it friends, family, clients, neighbours, acquaintances, strangers, the global village. For me, it is both innate and a conscious choice. So much so, that I have to set boundaries for myself not to get involved at times—to make better decisions about personal sacrifice (figuratively losing my stinger).
While I may not lose my life, per se, sacrifice does cause more harm than good at times (to myself or others). I must refrain from jumping in when leaving well enough alone is the better long-term option. It also means acknowledging my limitations and, at times, accepting powerlessness to affect change. This will be a lifelong challenge for me. I take heart being in the company of such purposeful do-gooders as the bees who will continue to inspire and uplift me.
Next time I encounter a bee, I will be sure to send it loving thoughts with much gratitude for its industry as well as its goodwill. They are, after all, what keeps this planet alive and habitable—even when misunderstood and maligned. We truly cannot live without them. Brava Bees! And a Bravo for the drone bees as well. 😉 Buzz on, my friends.