The Life-Shifting Lesson I Learned from a Bee


After dinner the other night, I headed out on the paddle board to take in the sunset. 

I've been finding myself soaking up every last morsel of my time on the water before it turns to ice over the next few months. 

I sat out on the board watching the sun tuck behind the trees and I got to thinking about the heart-breaking events of the last few weeks: the devastation caused by hurricanes to the unthinkable mass shooting in Las Vegas.

I asked myself the question, "What can I do?"

And for a few moments I sat with myself in the pit of a helpless silence.

Gun laws, mental illness, natural disaster, political corruption...

How can I possibly do anything to make a dent in the tidal wave of pain and fear that so many are living in? 

I knew my own questions were coming from a place of fear.

I knew that what I learned on that operating room table 4 years ago was to lean in to love and gratitude. 

I knew that my next right step lived on the other side of handing it over to something bigger than me.

It was time to listen for the answers I was longing for. 

As the sun disappeared for the day, I grabbed my paddle and started my way back home.

A few strokes from the place I had stopped to pray and ponder, I noticed a bee flailing its tiny legs in the air, stuck on its back in the middle of the open water.

I have a very human fear of bees and have been known to practically throw myself out of moving vehicles as a child when one got in the car, so I instinctively paddled on by. 

And then the thought hit me like a lightning bolt...

"This is where we begin...we must help those in the greatest need even if that means it might be a little scary for us to do so." 

We must meet the ones who need us right where they are...with love...with a helping hand...with the gift of humanity rather than hate and fear. 

I turned the board around and paddled quickly back to the spot where I had just passed the bee out in the middle of the lake. 

Fortunately, he was still there and the fish had not discovered him helplessly stuck there on the surface of the water.

I dipped the handle of my paddle down towards his little legs and he gripped on to it for dear life.

I lifted him up on to the deck of my board and he crawled around a little getting himself re-oriented.

Together, the bee and me, we paddled back to shore.

I pulled up on the little strip of sand on our beach and waited while he continued to get his bearings. 

I snapped this picture of him as a reminder of this sweet lesson and thanked him for allowing me to help him. 


Later that night, as I shared this story with Ben, I thought about the number of times I have "paddled" on by someone who was in need that I had the capacity to help. 

I reflected on the ways I have found myself justifying why I didn't have to send a letter to my representatives because I wasn't sure how to say the right words...or didn't advocate for a cause I truly believed in because I was afraid of not doing it just right.

And then I gave myself permission to start right here.

Because nothing will change until we do in moments like these.

Our lives will not transform until we make the conscious commitment to transform with them. 

There's one thing I know for sure and that's when we choose to pursue our sacred work in the world, when we design a life that feels in alignment with who we know we really are and with our personal missions here on this planet...that's when the world begins to change with us. 

How are you using your voice, your hands, your heart, your gifts to serve?

What small things could you do differently to make an even bigger impact on the lives of others and in doing so, make a dramatic impact on your very own life?

It starts with us.

I recorded a quick podcast episode in response to the events in Las Vegas that felt scary but also allowed me to step in to my truth in a big way. It's called Stepping into Sacred Activism - click here to listen.

I also sent a letter to my representative via Resist Bot. It's a text messaging tool that will send what you want to say to Congress in just a few minutes right from your phone. You can do that right here too

We also made a donations to the Houston Food Bank, the Houston Humane Society and Together Rising in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Click the links above to do the same or donate to a cause that touches you. 

Start where you are. 

When we connect to our own compassion, lean in to love, release fear and show up for the people in our lives and in our communities the change really begins.

Big ol' sparkly love to you.


Amber LilyestromComment