The other week our neighbour’s nanny noticed that we had a wasps nest under the guttering above our kitchen. We all piled through the kitchen and out into the garden and looked up and watched as the wasps swarmed in and out. “You must get rid of them,” she said.
“Yes,” I said.
So I went onto Google, curious to see if there was a way of working with the wasps. Animals and nature radiate wisdom from their very pores. Our first instinct is to get rid of these 'pests', but you know: life is expensive and there’s only so much money you can spend on therapists...
The Wisdom Of The Wasp
So it was interesting to look into some of the list links provided by Google. I read Shamanic articles that rather then condemn the wasps for being nuisances, praised them as symbols of "communication, order and productivity." I learnt of how if we are ready to work with them they can invoke the power of the female warrior, “prompting us to take a good look at our lives and ask if we are fighting the good fight...”
So I got to work. Drawer by drawer, day by day, leaving the big ol’cupboard underneath the stairs for last. And as I cleared the detrius of my life, I felt my mind and body respond. I’ve been tired of late and finding excuses not to practice yoga, but this last week I’ve practiced nearly every day and I haven’t done that since giving birth 2 years ago.
And who knew cleaning could be so satisfying? For it has been a week of cleaning and hoovering and binning and bagging and filing and dusting and moving and as the drawers and cupboards of my home became more ordered and spacious, I moved onto my to do list and started ticking off more items then I could replace, all the while having more time to write and be with my daughter.
Meanwhile a friend had posted a reply to my status update asking about how to get rid of wasps on Facebook, suggesting that I ask the wasps directly: Why have they come to my home? Now a logical response could be umm it’s the end of summer, its wasp season... Which okay is a pretty good reason, but it's not the whole reason for life has a grander design then we acknowledge. And the thing is as I read my friends suggestion, my stomach dropped which a pretty good indication from my body that there was truth in what she was saying that I did need to ask the wasps directly.
And I had to work up a bit of courage first, because well home truths can be uncomfortable and I wasn't sure if I was ready to hear anything too potent. So I had a think to see if anything came up first and the metaphor ‘a wasps nest’ came to mind and I thought of our home recently. And you know what? A few weeks before the wasps visited us, it had become a bit of a wasps nest. My partner and I are going through a big transition and sometimes in the tiredness and confusion I couldn't help myself and I said things that stung.
And so later that day after calling the pest control I was in my daughters room trying to get out one of the wasps that had flown in and after it went, I looked out at the nest and asked, wasps please tell me what is it that I need to learn from you.
And the answer that came back?
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” The Dalai Lama.
And now I look up at the guttering where the wasps are now longer and I feel their absence, permeating the air around me, but I also feel their gift. For all life to be a teacher. Our teacher. How lucky are we to be so surrounded by teachers and invitations to know ourselves a little more fully? and we don't need to pay for this stuff, we don't need to go on workshops, or spend hours in a room talking, we can just relate to the world around us, much as many indigenous tribes do, as if the world around us is intelligent in its own right.
For it is easy to say “be kind?” is that all? I want the deep stuff! But kindness is deep. And to dismiss it, well didn't 't Alanis sing about that? You know ‘like the good advice that you just didn’t take?”
But this kind thing: it's hard! Yesterday I went to the launch of the Love Café (inspired by the Death Cafe) at the Hayward Gallery near London’s Southbank centre. And we spoke about love and we spoke about neruogenesis, or rather someone researching this spoke about this and I asked questions, and the ability of the body to create new neurons from cells in the body that help us love. And how scientists can now confirm that neurological activity can be found in the heart and I think it is right to say our spine. And we spoke about self-love – is this mere indulgence or vital to the process of loving? And we said you know what it is kind of vital, because there is a hell of a lot of self-loathing out there and the more we can love and accept who we are, the more we are able to open our arms to others and how can I possibly not love you, when I have gone through the almighty task of accepting myself? For when we do, the ability to connect more to that sacred pulse of life is magnified more then a gazillion. and from there we can love. Love sweet, tremendous, almighty and so extraordinarily healing love. And being there yesterday at the Love Cafe felt like this is the next quantum leap us humans are going to make: about love and about the body and the energectics of and science of how we connect with one another. Of what intelligence really means, and I guess be kind, is a good place to start.
For I would love to be more kind. Not only to my partner, whatever is happening with us, to be kind to my daughter, family, friends and then there is myself. To be kind to myself. Phwroah that’s pretty hard. Because it gets addictive the beating up. The cheap shots and the needing to be in control. That is like some tight jacket I never asked to wear, just found myself putting on and well, I’d really like to take it off. When it's safe... when it's safe.
But perhaps that time is now.