A friend recently said some people behave like bees while others are more like flies. The premise was that bees are drawn to the smell of sweet nectar emanating from flowers. While flies are drawn to the smell of….well….all things rotten. His thoughts were that we should strive to behave like bees and avoid being flies at all costs.
While I do strive to be more like a bee than a fly, I disagree with the notion that it’s inherently negative to be a fly. Flies serve their purpose. They’re recyclers and transform decay into new life. They also inadvertently call attention to what is putrefying and other recyclers follow their lead in the transformation process. When we take on the role of the fly, we focus on what things are rotten in our personal life or society as a whole and in need of transformation. Then we get to work changing it. That’s vital. If that transformation didn’t occur, there would be no soil for the flowers to grow in. We need to deal with the decay in our world, even if it stinks. That’s the only way change happens. Thank goodness for the flies.
To his point, if the shitty parts of our world are the only thing we feasted on day and day out, we would get sick. We need balance.
I’m all about following the scent of beautiful things. While drinking the sweet nectar of life, we carry with us the seeds of wisdom we pick up and scatter them wherever we fly next--bringing life and vibrancy to the world. We then go home and vomit all the good things we find and feed them to our loved ones. Ok, ok, that last part didn’t sound as appealing, but metaphorically I think my point’s getting across.
And because we’re fueled by the sweetness of the world, we bees have the energy of dawning on a fly suit and processing the rotten parts too. When we see injustices, we can transform them with our fellow flies the best we can. When we get our fill, it’s time to turn back to the flowers and do our bee thing again.
I think rather than trying to avoid being flies, it’s more helpful to do the work of recognizing when we’re being flies and allowing ourselves to take a break when needed before we get swallowed up in the muck. And make sure we wash our hands (recenter ourselves) before interacting with others. Because ultimately, that’s the most distressing part about flies, right? That they get their hands all over disease-ridden things and then decide to fly on over to our picnic baskets and grope our tasty treats. If we’re not mindful to do a reset before we interact with others, we’ll bring with us all the grime and accidentally cause dis-ease in those around us. That’s where self-reflection and self-care come in. Dedicating moments each day to checking with ourselves, taking care of our needs, and consciously allowing ourselves to set down our grimy work makes a huge difference in our physical, mental, and emotional health.
Whether we're talking about flies, bees, or any living thing on the Earth, we're talking about buzzing packets of energy that help in the ever-evolving transformation of our world. We all serve a purpose. And with mindfulness and cooperation, we can break down the injustices and ills of this world and sow a freer, more peaceful world for all.