“If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them, you will not know them, and what you do not know you will fear. What one fears one destroys.” ~ Chief Dan George
In the first grade, I developed a phobia of bees.
I registered fear when a fellow classmate cried in agony after getting stung by a bee. Right then and there, I swore I would never get stung myself.
My phobia has served me well and protected me since…or so I thought.
I never realized how my phobia caused a disconnected relationship between the bees and I.
It is not that I have a lack of knowledge of bees. I studied them my sophomore year of collage in a biology class. My intellect filed away the necessary information around the functioning of a bee.
Last week, I went on vacation to Paris with my boyfriend. I found myself uncomfortably surrounded by several swirling bees at our outdoor table. I wanted to move tables.
My boyfriend suggested we stay and I lean into my fear a little bit.
Then we started talking about bees, the sadness of how the importance of bees is overlooked, the necessity of them and the important role they play in nature and agriculture.
I then did something I never took the time to do before: I began relating with the bees in an empathetic way.
We gossiped about the worker bees taking a break from important pollination duties. They were probably hungry and looking for a sweet snack. I resonated with needing a break from work…it is why I took a vacation.
We talked about the queen bee, the female in charge, and how the females only fight when other queen bees start to rise up for who gets the colony throne. I laughed as I identified my own queen bee nature…the one who has a similar reaction towards other females when I feel my own sense of power is threatened.
Not only did I begin to emphasize with them, I began to learn from them. I understood them and their use of erotic energy on a level I never understood before. They behold a strong fertile and sexual spirit through pollination, as well as through their taboo roles of the male worker bee being submissive to the dominatrix queen bee.
As a Sexuality and Intimacy Coach, I found this pretty interesting.
Then, somewhat magically, my phobia dissipated. I felt connected to the bees in a way I never had before.
I attribute this to slowing down and attempting to understand them—in connecting this way, there was no longer anything to fear.
To what length is all fear a consequence of a lack of understanding?
To understand nature, we have to understand our own vulnerable humanness. Our Greek god invincibility dies and slips into a poetic realism of what is. Understanding nature is a form of ego death—our death of being a superior species.
I do not think I would have understood the bees had I not done the humbling work of exploring my own shadow; my ego would have been too inflated to feel equality with an insect.
I have many clients who struggle with loving themselves.
They struggle with deserving love.
There is always that lingering darkness within us that we have shamed and hated out of fear.
Sometimes I tell my clients to visualize that part of himself or herself as a helpless hurt animal—a puppy with one eye, that’s caked with dirt and smells horrible. It pulls on those heart felt strings of wanting to care for this hurting animal that no one else cared to love.
It is now your responsibility to slow down and love it.
It is a part of yourself you have abandoned. It is a part of yourself you never fully understood.
It is your primal nature.
I wonder if we began to empathize with our primal nature we could we begin to empathize with the nature around us?
Perhaps the first step in our planetary crisis is self-development. Through understanding our personal selves, our primal and deliciously wild sides. I suspect this personal harmony could remedy our ability to communicate with nature.
Then we can delight in the sweet erotic poetry of the honeybees, as they swirl mystically around us.
Author: Leah Petrusich
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Author’s Own