Moving Through Sadness with Self Compassion and a GPS

May 9, 2012

This Can’t Be Good.

This Can’t Bee Happening

I am feeling a deep sadness today for a few reasons.  I shall share one of those reasons here.  Yesterday morning I was sitting at my downstairs desk and heard a buzzing.  When I looked up I saw that the side of my house was being swarmed by tens of thousands of bees, or hornets, or something.  Tens of thousands of them.  It was truly like out of a horror movie.  I have never seen anything like it in real life.  There were so many of them that I could actually hear the steady buzzing of their thousands of tiny wings from inside my house.  I wasn’t sure what to do or even what to feel.  I certainly was trapped in my house. I certainly wasn’t going to risk going outside only to have them chase me like an angry mob back to my front door.

(Funny aside that isn’t relevant to this post:  I really didn’t know what to do so I sheepishly called 911 and explained the situation.  The operator politely directed me to a different entity.)

The next part of the story gets even more menacing. After about 40 minutes of seeing these things in numbers so numerous that they began to cover my window, they slowly disappeared to the point that I felt comfortable going outside to get a better look.  And that’s when I understood the full reality:  those buggers had just taken 40 minutes to take up residency IN MY HOUSE! They had ALL moved in through a slit on the outside wall.  They were building a nest in the walls of my home.  Now I had a better idea of how to feel, and the feeling was not excitement.

I was finally able to have an exterminator come check things out in the early evening.   He got out of his car, took one look, and started laughing in between making comments like, “Ooo, boy!” and “This is like straight out of some horror movie!” and “Hold on, I’ve got to call the office and describe this – they aren’t going to believe it!”  Not the most reassuring words to my ears.  He told me that they were yellow jackets, and they were not here to make friends.  For a fair price he could get rid of them, but they were going to be pissed so I should be sure to not be in my front yard garden for a day or two.

Fair enough.  Just then my boo got home.  He was getting into the drama so I left him and a small gathering of neighbors to watch from the garden while I slipped back inside.  I had seen enough of them while they were moving in.  I didn’t need to be around to see their reaction to getting poisoned.

The Huge and Unfixable Mistake

Twenty minutes later my boo came in with an ashen face and news:  those weren’t yellow jackets.  Those were honey bees.  The same honey bees that are slowly disappearing from places all over this country.  The honey bees that we need to pollinate our garden.  They honey bees that could have been rescued by a local Durham bee keeper so they could have gone on to live peacefully and pollinate for years to come.  WE, GARDENERS AND FRIENDS OF THE EARTH, WERE HONEY BEE MURDERERS.  The horror.

I’m not sure if the shame or the guilt hurts more.  It was a rough night.

This morning my sadness continued to throb as I listened to this morning’s news and drank my coffee.


I found my mind pulled back to a recent episode of On Being, with guest Sylvia Boorstein.  Sylvia describes herself as a wife, mother, grandmother, author, teacher, and psychotherapist.  The full interview is worth a listen.  In an age of lots of opinions she shares the more rare gem of true wisdom.  I’m sure I’ll discuss more about this episode at some point.

In this talk, Sylvia shares with the audience what she always says to herself in moments of fear and anxiety.

“Sweetheart. You are in pain. Relax. Take a breath. Let’s pay attention to what is happening. Then we will figure out what to do.”

Bam.  Self compassion.

She also discusses the wisdom of GPS devices.  “It never gets annoyed at me.  If I make a mistake it says, ‘Recalculating.’  And then it goes on to say “Make the soonest left turn..”

Bam.  Action.

So this is my plan for this morning.  First, I will take a moment to be compassionate with myself.  And yes, I will most definitely do that by referring to myself as “sweetheart.”  Second, I shall recalculate… observing without judgment the recent events that have made me feel so profoundly sad… and then I shall choose a direction and move forward, with compassion for myself and for others.


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