Me and the bee

It’s a very sunny day. Like I do most mornings, I left one of the windows of my studio flat ajar but not by much, because I live on the fourth floor and my cat Fifi, who needs to get her fresh air, is uncomfortable due to the height when I leave the windows wide open.

Let it be said that I am incredibly thankful that she has a fear of heights, given the amount of birdlife happening outside: we’re located right in front of a large park. Instead, she jumps on the large rustic sideboard and catches some air while safely peeking at the street and trees. I call it Cat TV.

As I was making coffee in the kitchen I heard a frantic and rather loud buzzing. Turning my head, I discovered a large bee fighting against the window pane, only a few feet away from me. Indeed, she was trapped on the wrong side of the glass, frantically flying against the double glazed panel.

Of course, I went to help. The poor thing was upsettingly bumping into this invisible wall so as a remedy, I opened the other part of the window wide to enable an easy exit. It didn’t happen. In my thinking, I’d figured that the bee would fly back a little and would find the opening which was less than a couple of inches away from her.

Having gone back to take care of my coffee, I noticed from the corner of my eye that not only had she not flown off but she seemed to have given up, probably exhausted and bruised by her unsuccessful efforts. There she was, in the bottom left corner of the window frame, apparently stuck by both wood below and to the left, and glass in front.

As I watched her, I was reminded of this line from a poem by Rumi :

“Why do you stay in prison, when the door is wide open.”

I went back over. My original instinct had been to let her find her way out because, well, bees sting and it would be bad for both me and her should that happen.

Grabbing the unopened post from that morning with one hand, I carefully approached and slid a letter to the glass, just under her. To my surprise, she delicately stepped onto the piece of paper I was offering, which I then softly moved through the opened window and as naturally as you could imagine, she took flight. As simple as that.

I felt pretty good about helping her out. I remember being younger and much more scared of insects in general and I am very thankful for the bee’s visit. Now I am friendly with all sorts, including spiders.

It struck me that the bee was offering me a metaphor, taking place in 3D in front of me. Like a reminder of the power of mindfulness, which I am currently studying. Indeed I have learned over time to see when my own mind gets trapped in a buzzing vicious cycle of anxiety, especially when things aren’t going my way. Which recently has been happening pretty regularly, as it might have for most of us.

In times of uncertainty and stress, our minds are working hard to help us survive, always analysing the past and scanning known options for a safer future. But with no prior solution to apply to current new problems, we get stuck, a whirlwind of thoughts taking over our minds, like flying repeatedly against a glass pane.

And if we don’t occasionally pause and take a step back, it might be that we will feel trapped, stuck in certain situations. But moving a couple of inches to the left, we could discover openness, space, freedom.

I see the bee. I am the bee. Sometimes, stuck in a corner, feeling exhausted, battered and bruised, not knowing how to move forward. But unlike her, I know to pause. To get still for a bit, to take a step back. Which helps me find some space and then within that spaciousness, maybe find the way out and soar. Until I do it all over again that is.

And you know, sometimes even when the above seems impossible, I look for a helping hand to take me where I can spread my wings and fly. That feels pretty great too.