Last Tuesday my husband and I met at the farm on a warm, sunny early spring morning to maintenance our bee hives – our first real glimpse of the bees after winter. We had planned to remove the very bottom box of the four boxes on all of the hives. This is not an easy task and fairly invasive for the bees. The first hive (we have named Sophia) we agreed to lift 3 boxes off at the same time so that we didn’t disrupt the bees and the queen. At this time of year in the past, each box is typically light and virtually empty of honey. As my husband carefully lifted the boxes he noticed they were surprisingly heavy and as he lowered them to the ground they quickly tipped over onto the ground. Needless to say this was disruptive and scary. The bees came pouring out of the hive wondering what was happening to their safe, warm home.
We picked the boxes up, put them back together and as we stood there, unable to move, we realized we were in a state of shock. I looked at him and said, “Let’s go to the other side of the barn and regroup.” Not knowing exactly what to do next but noticing the unsettled feelings, we removed our veils and gloves, paused and followed a simple exercise I have been practicing from The Embodied Present Process. For the past 3 years I've been studying with Philip Shepherd, author of New Self New World. In this situation with the bees, I began to see in real time the impact this work could have in my life.
We took a few breaths, inviting the experience to settle into our pelvic bowl. We felt the spaciousness of our bodies’ ability to hold the experience. After a few short moments we glanced up at each other and I asked, “What would you like to do now?” Slowly and with a more grounded sense of what just happened, we were able to assess how and if we would move forward. We decided to continue to work with the other hives, and it went seamlessly. While Sophia returned to a natural flow of bees coming and going at the entrance. There was a felt sense that we weren’t carrying the experience of dropping Sophia to the next hive or the next one. Some sort of integration of this very difficult situation had occurred.
We were both sad. I could feel the sadness, and I could feel that my husband was disappointed about dropping the hive. What didn’t happen this time is that we didn’t separate; we didn’t enter the separation spiral (which is my new name for what happens when we disconnect from life). We didn’t blame each other or ourselves; we were present to 'what is' in a way that didn’t leave us fighting what had unfolded. We didn’t fight each other either. This is a big change for us. We had been talking a bit more about my experience studying with Philip and The Embodied Present Process, so the offer to actually practice wasn't foreign to him. This simple action of shifting our awareness of our energy to our pelvic bowl enabled us to stay in relationship to life as it is.
There was no lesson in what happened, no learning, no striving, no karma, and it didn’t happen for a reason. I was able to just be present to the bee hive tipping over. Shit, that’s all. We were sad because we love and care about our bees so much. However, the after effects of this experience was not gripping me in the same way it has in the past. Sophia didn’t hold onto it and I don’t have to either.
The best gift of all was when my husband returned home late that evening. He looked at me and said, “Hey, I want to talk to you about what happened today. It felt so different how we handled the experience with the bees. It left me feeling at ease and connected to you even in the midst of a difficult, sad and stressful situation." Those words were magical to hear. He felt the difference too. Hours, maybe days of suffering averted in that one simple choice to fully embody “what is” and “just this.”