Beekeeping for Mental Health

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Clouds near Porlock, Somerset UK
Clouds near Porlock, Somerset UK

There is not much point in looking good if you don’t feel it. Most of us want to be attractive, I think, but few people ever believe that they are. From my experience, this torment is most pronounced in the adolescent years and early adulthood. However, as a 55-year-old happily married father of three awesome kids (now adults), I still haven’t reached a state of permanent blissful serenity. I do feel more comfortable in my skin and with my place in the universe than I did in my younger years, however.

Here Ego Again

Feeling good is not just about being content with our appearance. How we look is only part of how we present ourselves to the world. Our ego is the cause of so much unhappiness. So many of us, either consciously or unconsciously, seek the approval and acceptance of others to feel good about ourselves. We must be successful and show the world just how happy we are, via Instagram or Twitter or whatever. Success seems to mean being pretty, wealthy, having incredible experiences and being seen to be a “good person” through various philanthropic means.

How many people are gorgeous, minted, climb Himalayan peaks or sky-dive or own Derby winning racehorses and help out the starving children in sub-Saharan Africa? Are these people contented all of the time? Are they the only ones? If so, most of us will always be struggling. It’s all nonsense. I have met many people who have found inner peace without having achieved anything that would grab the limelight. Earlier in my life, I battled my demons and felt the powerlessness of a leaf caught in a tornado. Those days are in the past; today is a good day to be alive.

My Way

I can only speak for myself because that is all I know. For me, it seems that the source of discontent has been the mismatch between how things are and how I think they should be. I can listen to a thirty-minute newscast on any given day and rage at the injustices of the world. Everywhere I see stupidity, selfishness, short-termism and vanity; how wrong it all is! If only they would do it MY WAY. Then everything would be fine. When I was an employee, I used to believe that the bosses had it all wrong. I was surely underpaid considering my undoubted genius. When I was a boss, I used to think that the employees had it wrong; if they would just do what they were told…

Strangely, for such an arrogant prick, I also had moments of extreme doubt and insecurity. That can be a lonely place. Let’s face it, intelligent beings like humans (and some walruses) are complex and barely fathomable.

A World of Wonders

Amongst many other things, I have found beekeeping to be a wonderfully healing pastime. For me, when I started keeping bees, they were the excuse to get out into the countryside. I have always found nature to be full of wonders. Being immersed in the sounds and smells and sights of the natural world is a great way to deal with that ego of mine. I am just an insignificant spec on a tiny planet in a quiet corner of a vast cosmos. It is easy to lose oneself by watching beetles or ducks or squirrels or bees. To be a good beekeeper, I must try to understand the life cycle of the bees and how they integrate into their environment. It’s a lifetime of learning. You could study honeybees for a lifetime and never stop learning. This too is good for ego deflation.

Serenity

Acceptance. That’s a big one. Things are not going MY WAY. I can either accept it or fight. That pretty much sums up the secret to peace of mind, for me.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Perhaps that powerful prayer could be improved by adding, “Let my queens get mated, like soon.” Oh dear, there I go again. Acceptance is not easy!

One comment

  1. I went through a bad patch once where I was extremely down. The bees really helped me during this time. When I was with them and focusing on inspecting it helped me forget my troubles and just focus on them. I still believe I need them far more than they need me. Nature has healing powers.

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