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Taking Notice

In my younger days, I mostly sailed through life without adequate notice of the people around me. I’m aware of this because for the past 10 years, I’ve been awakened to the pleasure it is to know certain people. I don’t mean that it isn’t a pleasure to know certain other people, just that certain people have left behind little jewels of wisdom or set an example that have become part of me. Sometimes these jewels are parts of people that I admire and wish to assimilate into my own life. Sometimes the jewels come in the form of perspective, kindness or gentleness. Jewels that come just when I need them. Jewels that I feel a deep thankfulness for, that humble me and remind me that everyone has something inside them that’s special and shiny and beautiful.

For over 10 years I have had the pleasure of being intimately involved in the life of an amazing human being. He was amazing as he rolled around in my belly and he was amazing just last week when he explained how there really is no good and evil – that they’re just concepts – and that nothing and no one can really be labelled as such, since these concepts are merely matters of opinion. An ‘evil’ person believes that a ‘good’ person is evil and vice versa. It’s true.


Yep. That’s my kid.

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.
Tao Te Ching, Verse 2

This guestpost on Ten Things I’ve Learned is what gave me the blog bug.

Bio: Stephie is a 38 year old medical laboratory technology student about to graduate and become a person with a paycheque. Before that, she was a beekeeper with a home business selling honey, natural cosmetics and beeswax candles. She is a mother, a freelance writer, a city-born-country-dweller and a student of the universe.

  1. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for the whole hive, not just for yourself.
  2. Quite often, getting stung feels like getting whacked with a hammer.
  3. Do you remember the Mork & Mindy episode where Mork took some medication that made him shrink and he ended up in a tiny microworld inside the tablecloth fibres where there was a whole functioning society existing parallel to the world we know? That’s what it’s like when you open a beehive for the first time and realize that, inside, there is a highly successful society complete with a social hierarchy, food stores, and a mind-bogglingly effective workforce carrying out jobs delegated based on physiological development and the needs of the hive.
  4. The value of pollination to our food production each year is extremely significant.  Three-quarters of the world’s crops depend on insect pollinators. The contribution of pollination to the planet’s food production amounts to $217 billion US. Those stories about the bees disappearing? They’re a big deal.
  5. You can’t control nature. You need to be the one to conform, not the other way around. Even when you manipulate nature to do what you want, you can only be successful at it if you’re following her rules. Be firm, however. Respect yourself as a part of nature, not as an outsider. Once you realize this, you’ll get stung a lot less and make more honey.
  6. As humans, we value independence, creativity and individuality, but we also need to acknowledge, and truly see, the interconnectedness between all things.
  7. It’s best to move fluidly when around bees. Move like water; flow and be calm. Do not flail and run. It makes you a target and bees can outrun you.
  8. Bees know what to do. Just let them do it.
  9. Songbirds become a lot less attractive when you’re watching them pick off your bees on their way back to the hive.
  10. If you think you have a lot to do and a lot of people depending on you, looking inside a hive can be humbling reality check.

What Moves You?

My Feet

Yes, I take a lot of pictures of my feet. It’s because they’re awesome. They’re awesome because they move me. They take me places. When I go places, I have experiences and when I have experiences, I grow and learn.

They’re awesome because they connect me to the earth and to the moment. When you walk on the grass in bare feet, two things happen.

1 – You are in direct contact with the earth. With your home planet. With the environment in which you live – the environment that, if you think about it, you don’t likely have a lot of physical contact with anymore. How often does your skin touch the ground (now that you’re all grown up)? Do you lay on the grass? Do you sit on the wet sand and dig and splash? Do you walk barefoot in dewy grass? Do you stay outside when it rains?

2 – You are inevitably in the present moment. When you walk barefoot, you are always conscious of where you’re stepping, of the sensations you’re experiencing. Try it. I’m not kidding.

Grass Stains

The initial grass stains of a to-be-well-used baseball.

I need to spend more time outside with my son. He’s 10 and he needs to be outside. He’s proud of the grass stains on this baseball and we made a plan to get it good and dirty by the end of the summer. It’s a good thing to pay attention to these kinds of details and what they represent. A dirty old baseball is a symbol of hours spent in the yard, together, being active, doing things together, getting fresh air, learning, teaching, just being.

Also, it’s just a baseball. Simple.

Sometimes when we get tired, we lay on the grass and look up at the sky and talk. The ball lays beside us, getting greener and more beautiful.

One thing about love…

Tired eyes on the sunrise, waiting for the eastern glow.

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
‘You owe Me.’

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.
— Hafiz

Letting Go

This lesson is for me, but you can sit in. Let’s start with some introspection and reality checks.

  1. Are you alive?
    If yes, great. You’re 90% of the way there. If no, you’re being dramatic. Stop it.
  2.  This thing…is it going to kill you?
    If no, great, you’re 90% of the way there.
    If yes, this lesson isn’t going to be all you need, but feel free to sit quietly and listen anyway.
  3. What’s the worst thing that could happen if things play out as you fear?
    I’m not trying to make you dwell on the negative stuff. Just answer – you need it for the next question.
  4. Can you recover from the worst possible outcome?
    If no, remember that still being alive is 90% of the way. It’s really not that much further. Of course you can recover. Of course you can.
  5.  Is there anything you can do about this thing right now?
    If yes, then… it.
    If no, then, for now…for a little while, just for practice….let it go.

Since stepping out of the wilderness, all squint-eyed and confused, I have gathered a few concepts and ideas. A sampling:

  • Don’t always try so hard to make shit happen. It’s not going to happen if you force it. If you allow it, however, it will likely come. It also might not happen in order to keep a spot open for something better.
  • Don’t always try so hard to understand everything. Sometimes there is peace and relief in letting go of the need to put things into a box. Peace in just accepting them for what they are, as they are. It’s nice to look over at something – a person, a situation – and let it be, seeing it for its own intrinsic value rather than how it differs from what you think it should be.
  • Labeling things or people can take away from your ability to see their essence. Are you good? Bad? Beautiful? Ugly? No. You’re you. And that is what’s beautiful. Your you-ness. Don’t forget your own essence and intrinsic value.

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery;
ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations.
And the mystery itself is the doorway
to all understanding.
Tao Te Ching, Verse 1

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