A few weeks ago I finally cracked open a beekeeping book I got this summer, looking for some tips to help my hive as we head full on into fall. In some of my beekeeping books I skip the intro and head right to the subject in question. This time, interested in the author’s philosophy, I decided to read it through. One passage in particular on the first page of chapter one left me mulling the words over for weeks. Nothing in the following excerpt was shocking factually, and intuitively I already knew it but you know that moment when you hear or read something that is pure truth and you almost laugh that you hadn’t fully thought of it that way before…well that is what this was like for me:
“To live its day-to-day life, the bee need only collect nectar and pollen from the flowers in bloom. These gifts from the plant kingdom, along with some water, plant resins that bees use to make propolis, fresh air, and sunshine, are all the bees need form the world around them to survive and prosper within their colony. Thus, unless it feels threatened and is forced to defend itself or its hive, the bee is the only creature in the animal kingdom, that I am aware of, that does not kill or injure any other being as it goes through its regular life cycle. Apis Mellifera (the scientific name for the honeybee) damages not so much as a leaf. In fact, honey bees take what they need in such a way that the world around them is improved. By pollinating blossoms during nectar and pollen forging activities, the honey bee contributes directly to the abundance found on Earth.” -Ross Conrad, excerpt from “Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture.
This is nature in it’s most poetic expression. The fact that bees, are not just the ONLY creature that does not harm another living thing in order to thrive, the very process of gathering what it needs actually improves the world around it. AND as a byproduct, all of us on Earth enjoy greater abundance as a direct result of what they do best, collect pollen and nectar. This was a lot for me to process.
By living their essential nature and ecological purpose, by simply doing what they need to survive, they are not only ensuring the survival of tens of thousands other bees living in their colony but they are also ensuring the survival of humans and other animals by directly increasing food yields, while, harming nothing.
This concept has kept my mind so enraptured and wondering how it is possible bees are the only species who has manage to master this way of living? How can we as humans seek to live in ways inspired by the bees, striving to cause little to no harm, and actually leaving in our wake, lives that are improved in the process. Of course, we will never be able to live without consuming some sort of animal and or plant based food. We clothe ourselves and live in structures that rely on resources from the natural world but can our impact be lighter and can we do so in ways that actually improves the world somehow in the process. Can we move the needle even the tiniest bit in different areas of our lives? Clearly I am not the first person to ask this question and know there are people everywhere actively working to find different pieces of the solution. The incredible thing is that there is not one answer but many pieces to the larger puzzle, including the pieces you need to somehow answer for yourself.
One aspect in particular, coming from my lens as a life coaching, is by the bees doing what they do best, by living out their essential nature, just about everything around them stands to benefit or at least is not diminished in any way. I feel very strongly that as humans, the more we live in ways that connect, honor and express our essential nature, the more positively impactful we can be in or work, in our relationships and when we interact with our communities. I believe that the more we are aligned the less we will harm the Earth and the less we will harm one another.
The violence, discrimination, the racism and hatred, the natural disasters, and ecological crises that overwhelm the news are in my mind a terrifying symptom. How can we individually and collectively shift? How can we see each other beyond the color of our skin? How can we see progress towards equality something we all stand to benefit from? How can we challenge our own blind spots, fears, our bias and prejudices, and privilege so that they don’t cloud our lens? Can we throw out the “we’ve always done it this way”, or “humans are just in inherently violent or wasteful, or egocentric…” from our list of excuses and can we remind ourselves that there is a species who is doing it, that have been times in our human history culturally we were more aligned in support of individual sense of purpose, were more peaceful, more respectful of eachother’s humanity and saw ourselves as stewards of the Earth rather than elevating ourselves to think it’s here for us to do with it what we please.
The bees see themselves as a collective organism. No one bee is more important than the others, arguably, not even the queen who wouldn’t survive without the worker bees. If they didn’t see themselves are a part of the greater whole, if they attached each other, limited other’s ability to contribute and thrive as equals they wouldn’t be the incredible super organisms that “contributes directly to the abundance found on Earth”. A super organism we all rely on. Think of the possibilities if we adopted this mentality as our own?
Moving the needle towards the honey bee’s standard of zero harm by living their essential nature, is a question each one of has to answer for ourselves. Maybe it’s one tiny aspect of your life you want to try to bring into greater alignment. It could be anything and you’ll know when you’ve found it because it will energize you, excite you, and it will feel important to YOU. Maybe its supporting organic food, standing up when others civil rights are violated, pursing a passion, doing something to help someone else, planting flowers for the bees. What ever it is, ask yourself, am I reducing harmful impact to myself, others, the Earth? Am I leaving something even slightly better, healthier, more enriched than when I found it.? Each small step adds up. Just as every honey bee whose life work contributes only about 1 tsp of honey, when we all shift, each of our contributions adds up and we find ourselves with incredible metaphorical honey harvest. A harvest we all stand to reap the benefits of.
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 !