These Weekly Tips are a reflective elaboration from my speech at the 2016 Muslim Women’s Literary Conference: “Just Let Me Bee: Finding Your Creative Niche”
A couple of weeks ago, I called my insurance and said, “I need a therapist.” When we don’t take care of ourselves–when we can’t just bee–our mental and emotional state suffers. When the bees can’t just bee, they become victims of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). It comes from being overworked and suffering from monoculture, lack of diversity and well-roundedness. Sound familiar? The result of this bee disorder is a phenomenon of hive abandonment, where basically the queen and her worker bees desert the hive. And they actually disappear. No one knows where they go. And this is happening so much, that it is predicted that bees will be extinct by 2036 in the USA if they continue in their current pattern of Colony Collapse Disorder. It’s sad, but it’s real. And this kind of thinking parallels–how many people do you know who just disappeared, abandoned families, and fell off the grid because life was just too much?
The fact is plain and simple. We humans just aren’t taking care of ourselves. And because we can’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of others…children, families, other forms of creation–bees. We don’t take care of ourselves. We don’t take care of our environment. We are overworked. We eat too much of the same food. We are unhealthy. We are sick and tired and we are giving up.
With pesticides and the big agriculture, the bee is overworked. There’s too much on her plate. She is trucked around to mass pollinate for fields of agricultural industry. A 30-day worker bee is worked to death. She is suffering from a suppressed immune system that is similar to AIDS, mostly stemming from stress. If she works in agriculture, she suffers from monoculture, a deficiency disease from not being able to eat from different plants because she is stuck on one farm with one type of plant. She is enslaved in one type of job, where she yearns to be free to work several of her own choosing and inspired revelation. She craves diversity. She needs it. She thrives on a well-rounded diet. She thrives on diversity and in exchange she gives us more diversity. Without bees, there’s no color. Nor are there fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Do you know that without bees, we’d be eating only corn, wheat, and rice? Bees also pollinate cotton, seeds and nuts, so without them, we’d better be lovers of wool, rayon, and synthetics.
There are all sorts of imposters out there. There are wasps and hornets that look like bees. They buzz, sing, and smell like bees but they aren’t bees. They aren’t friendly. There are bears ready to pillage your hive and steal your honey, too. Their job is to make you leave your hive and distract you from your calling by being pests. They are a test. But within, throughout, and after tests, there are buried treasures…if only you set your mind’s eye on seeking them out. But do not fear, and do not rely on others to spread the message that you’ve been given to deliver. You are your own messenger. Not everyone is going about their message the right way. So do something. Make istikhara and take some form of action. Do you…even in the middle of the storm…and whatever you do, do not abandon your hive. Your daughters, your worker bees, your family, the entire world…will not survive without you, queen bee. Even the sheep that makes wool needs the bees to pollinate the grass to feed her. Do not give up. Patiently persevere.