Spiritual Re(Bee)silience


My bees are confused. This winter, in a year of the warmest global weather trends on record, they go to hibernate as the temps drop nightly to 20 degrees F. But then the next day is 50-60 degrees and sunny. My girls are eager to come out and begin the search for food. Unfortunately the trees are barren, the pollen is gone. Spring is months away. They burn up precious honey stores as they fly around in mid-winter, doing their usual foraging. I continue to feed them.

Global Climate Change is real.

I’m not sure flying hundreds of thousands of people to Paris, burning millions more gallons of fossil fuel en route, was the best way to address the heating of the planet through carbon emissions.

Perhaps if everyone had stayed home and had a giant skype party to plan the next step, we’d be a bit further ahead. Maybe it could have bought the Marshall Islanders an extra year reprieve as their home slowly sinks into the rising ocean.

Honeybees are only one indicator that our atmosphere is changing and warming. Some creatures have already begun to migrate to northern most habitats. Plants and trees that have been Keystones in southwest climates for a millenium are dying from drought and disease. They are being replaced by desert terrain, other flora that is non-native or not co-evolved with the local pollinators.

In these times of unpredictable weather patterns, massive extinction and human carbon activity, as we wonder what another year will bring—never mind a decade—soul resilience is needed.

Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, Sufi Teacher, For Love of the Real (Fall 2015), sees strengthening our spiritual resilience in these times as critical. It is as important as adapting our physical lifestyles to a less impactful, destructive, consumeristic way of being. As he wrote from COP21, the Global Climate Summit in Paris: “Paris, A Spiritual Response to Climate Change” (Huffpost, Dec. 2, 2015)

“[we must do] small things with great love, learning to live and act with love and care, with the true attention of our minds and hearts—these are the signs of the sacred and the truest way to generate life, to help life recreate itself.

The forces of greed and exploitation are more entrenched than we realize, the environmental collapse accelerating, but this is the challenge for those whose hearts are strong, who care for the planet and for the souls of future generations.

The bees teach me to think small, act local, go native. Their little lives of 30-45 days are all spent in the neighborhood, foraging, feeding their large families, staying healthy, building their economies of honey, pollen and wax comb. Working collaboratively, they scour the weediest, most humble habitat, spinning dandelions, chamisa and goatheads into pure golden honey.

As our communities will be shaken with new challenges from climate change in the coming decade, we will need the same community minded intelligence and resilience of bee colonies. Caring for one another and seeking the highest good for the whole commonwealth—human and non-humanwill be our biggest learning curve. Transcending tribalism and opening our hearts to include the bee, the Syrian, the soil, the “other” will make us spiritually resilient.


2 thoughts on “Spiritual Re(Bee)silience

  1. I’ve been following Richard Rohr. Your words ring true and I appreciate the sourcing used. Katie Mast is my niece btw.


    • So good to hear from you! I worked at Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation for 9 years. It was a big part of my own spiritual formation. Yes, Katie is a dear and a good friend of my husband and I. Peace and joy in the New Year, Anita


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