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Be Like A Bee

I find it astonishing how that natural world always comes to my rescue – not only in the sense of joy and wonderment it offers whenever I’m in the garden or walking the coastal path and in need of some rest and recuperation, but also in my line of work, Nature never fails to give me the inspiration to write what I need to write. Take what happened yesterday as an example. I will shortly be co-presenting a webinar with my friend and co-author, Genevieve Boast, and we decided some time ago to discuss the archetype of Co-creation. Since then, I have been contemplating what I wanted to say on this deep and complex subject.

I wandered out into the garden, a place that always gives me succour, and heard a loud buzzing coming from the direction of the greenhouse. As I approached, I was immediately enveloped by a swarm of honeybees, or perhaps the tail-end of the swarm – hundreds of bees creating this audible buzz from meters away. But then I realised that some of them had been inadvertently funnelled into the dead-end of the greenhouse through the open doors and windows.

Armed with a glass and a piece of card, I tried to rescue them, but there were so many battering themselves against the glass, unable to comprehend this invisible barrier, that it was a thankless task. As soon as I’d trapped and released a few, others would fly in. I shut the doors and windows, hoping that as the day cooled they would settle, and I could eventually release them into the darkness of the night.

I watched them for a long time, consoling myself that at least they had plenty of nectar to feed on in the greenhouse as the tomatoes, basil, rocket, peppers, marigolds and thyme are all still flowering. But then it dawned on me… the honeybees could stay alive in there, yes – but without the community of the hive, they had no purpose; a bee's entire being is designed to co-create with its community, for the good of all. As individuals, honeybees do not thrive – they are part of a living whole that gives them purpose and meaning, and without the sustenance of the hive, they are lost.

All beings and living systems are similarly co-creative. In truth, human beings could not exist if it were not for the myriad bacteria, viruses, fungi and micronutrients that enable our bodies to function healthily. Nor could we exist if it were not for the interaction of the bees pollinating the flowers, and the rain swelling the crops. For centuries the mantra of ‘survival of the fittest’ has shaped our lives, but even Darwin knew that this was only half the story; we have to be fit – yes – but we have to be cooperative too. Our culture is currently driven by the ‘cult of individuality’, where we think we have to go it alone, that we have to claw our way to the top of the heap and succeed at the expense of everybody else; that the individual rules supreme. But this is mirage – we cannot exist in isolation, there is only community: life on Earth is a community of beings, constantly co-creating and evolving. In separating ourselves from this Divine Law, we are imperilling all that can sustain our ongoing evolutionary journey. It’s time we took a few lessons from the bees.

That night, we went out into the dark with a torch and rescued as many of the dopy bees as we could, releasing them onto the rudbekia and helenium under the plum tree, confident that they’d find their way home.

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