“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” –Jimi Hendrix
When I was young, a close friend lived on a farm. I remember summers of sweetness running through the rows of tomatoes, us barefoot and snatching the red fruit from the vine, the juice dripping down our chins as we chased each other all around the farm avoiding our brothers and delaying our farm chores, lost in the bliss on those summer days of abundance. In moments of stillness, we watched gardens fatten while blossoms blushed, seducing the bees and butterflies as berries ripened on the bushes tempting hungry, agile fingers.
Bees, the beautiful bees, with their fuzzy, striped bodies and perfectly balanced wings, buzzed around, telling each other through their elaborate dances, exactly where to collect enough pollen and nectar to take back to their organized hive where everything made sense. Worker bees, the female bees that do not become queen, each make one drop of precious honey in their lives to nurture and nourish the young ones of the colony–and each other–through the cold winter.
The black and yellow parade into the hidden, six-sided cells was the ultimate expression of selflessness. Each bee, a mother to the whole colony, is inseparably and intricately interdependent on the others. Each living within the paradox that the health and survival of the whole colony is dependent on the participation and cooperation of each individual.
I was mesmerized, awed by, and completely in love with the gentle bees.
I loved the seemingly magical creatures for more than the superficial, sensual fulfillments they offered. I loved them for making sense when nothing else did and for offering–indeed giving–each life for one drop of sweetness.
Now, years later, in a seemingly endless barrage, loud photographs tell of atrocities in far-off lands as bombs explode bodies while flags separate lovers and families. My friends mourn the homicides of children in cities they call home while farmers dig in dust looking for something to feed their loved ones. The anguish is raw as farmers cry their tears and give blood to the land while they are raided and ravaged again by those who call themselves “authority.
Unsurprisingly, anger sets the table as despair prepares to take a seat. And rightly so. This allotment of injustice is enough to make any heart hard and to allow anger to take hold. When bombs are dropped in our name, when there is another assault–often ending in death–against a peaceful person, when the land is raped and ravaged for temporary profit, when we see forests and soils, that literally breathe life into us, destroyed, when value is tossed aside for cheap thrills, it is more than enough to embitter our souls; it is more than enough to cause despair—that feeling deep in our cores of watching the betrayal of humanity. The betrayal that tears our hearts to pieces for our brothers and sisters we will never meet, the helplessness of watching atrocities we think we can do nothing to fix.
But I urge you, do not fear these feelings; do not allow hopelessness and despair to overcome you. Rather, it is time to return to our own colony, lovingly bearing the gifts of our work, our wisdom and our visions. It is time to bring our own precious drops of nectar into our greater communities, realizing as we do so that we are acknowledging, and allowing our love and interdependence to overcome our fears.
Love—it nourishes our resolve and strengthens our courage. It is what gives sense to the senselessness. It is this love that carries us across the bridge from despair to hope, from oppression to freedom, from scarcity to abundance and from war to peace.
Somehow, in their tiny beings, in the magical, beautiful mystery of the gentle bees, they know these things; they know that they are together, that the colony is one organism—with each part of the organism living their purpose, giving their life for that one drop of honey. When we choose to embrace and share the sweetness of hope, the abundance of love, we create and sustain the value and nourishment that is found only in the exchange of love between souls.
Together, we will nourish our colony, as bees do, and you have the exquisite opportunity to share exactly your drop of sweetness.
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Wherever you are in your personal journey toward clean living and local food, thank you for joining me in mine. I look forward to sharing it with you.