This is my third summer as a beekeeper and a few weeks ago I witnessed something that completely shocked me.
As I was checking on my hives, one of my honeybees got her wing stuck to a glob of propolis on the inner cover of her hive. Propolis is an incredibly sticky substance made from resin collected from tree buds which the bees mix with saliva and wax. Bees use this substance to essentially “glue” their hive together and fill in any unwanted crevices like caulk. Once you get propolis on your skin it’s tough to get off and it pretty much never comes out of clothing. As you can imagine this poor bee’s delicate wing was incredibly stuck and she was frantically struggling to free herself. As I was bending down to try to help her, I watched as another bee walked over to the struggling bee and began tugging on her sister, attempting to free her for some time. I watched wide eyed. I had never before witnessed bees trying to help each other in this way.
I am well aware of bee’s empathetic nature, in that the energy and mood I carry with me when I approach my hives is clearly reflected back to me by their behavior and interactions with me, but this, this felt like something else. This felt like compassion, a sense of true sympathy and desire to help. The bee knew her sister was in trouble and exerted her own precious energy to try to help. Even as I write this, there is still a part of me that disbelieves that a bee could have the capacity for compassion, but the question that nags at me is, why else would she try to pull her sister free?
I’ve thought about this experience several times since and have begun to unravel the layers as to why this struck me as so important. For one, here I am, someone who has spent countless hours with my bees feeling utterly in awe and perplexed by this behavior. It occurred to me that while I am quick to preach how incredible these creatures are, I still have been underestimating them, putting them in a box of what is possible for them, solely because they are insects. It has made me question the innumerable ways I mentally limit what I feel is possible for this world, my loved ones and myself.
How do I box myself and other’s in?
How do I Not leave space for infinite possibilities?
With all that is happening in the world, the fear, hatred, killing, the bombardment of messages from media and even those in our communities, that we will never be good enough, perfect enough, or that one aspect of who we are makes us unworthy of respect or even life, it’s easy to give up on humanity, and ourselves.
But what if we didn’t?
What if we opened our minds to all that is possible for ourselves and for others? If it is possible for an insect to show compassion, what possibilities have we been unaware of or limiting for ourselves and others?
You certainly do not have to agree with me but I believe that there is no limit to good that can be created in this world. I believe that there is no limit to our personal capacity to do and be amazing, not perfect, but still utterly amazing. However, we must first see, or at least be open to the possibility of the good in ourselves and each other and acknowledge the capacity for greatness we all possess. We need to challenge one another to be kind to each other, but to first be kind to ourselves. We need to reach out for help and support and to help and support others. With this support, it’s crucial we make shifts internally and outside ourselves so that we live our lives in ways that are true to who we are while leaving space for others to do the same.
It never ceases to amaze me that once again a small wink from a honeybee has shed light, on the kind of life that I want to cultivate for myself and a reminder that I want walk along side others as they do the same.
Questions or comments? I’ve love to hear from you! Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello, I’m Caitlin Bosshart! Beekeeper, life coach for the multi-passionate at heart and wedding coach for couples planning non-traditional weddings! I believe that no one should settle for less than a life that lights them up, ignites their passions and allows them to be, their most vibrant authentic selves.
To learn more about how we can work together, visit: CaitlinBosshart.com
To schedule a free discovery session for multi-passionate coaching or wedding coaching, email me at LifeCoaching@caitlinbosshart.com !