Thrive in your purpose.

I have struggled with writing just the right ‘first’ blog for The Good of the Hive initiative. We are launching the website this week and I have written seven different versions on seven different subjects that I have been thinking about regarding bee behaviors, what is going on with them, and how I think we can learn a thing or two from them. I was settled on one (‘settled’ being the operative word) when I realized that it was twice as long as a normal blog. Oops. In editing it down, it spiraled out of control. So here I sit… blogless and vulnerable in the eleventh hour. I feel like Julia Roberts standing in front of Hugh Grant in the movie Notting Hill. “I’m just an artist, blogging for the first time, asking the world to love me.” Yesterday, as I think about it, I also felt like Julia Roberts as she chased Dermot Mulroney across the grass while he chased Cameron Diaz in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” Like Julia, I was racing after something that was clearly running away from me. I was simply trying way too hard to write the perfect blog.

I have never been one to be happy with just getting by. I want to thrive in what I am doing. I have both succeeded and failed miserably at this in my life. But every time I have been willing to dive deep. And it would seem that, this time, I am being asked to dive into a dark pool of vulnerability.

Vulnerability gets me by the ‘short and curlies’ every time. It usually sneaks up out of nowhere, but this time it is obvious where it is coming from, I am putting my face and words on camera! The vulnerability, as I begin this new phase of expression is unavoidable. I am going to say what I think. Gulp! There will be people that may not connect with what I am doing. I can accept that… in theory. I am “putting it out there” as they say. But even just writing about vulnerability makes me feel like I should close this computer and run into the woods and hide. If I tell you I am vulnerable, you will know I am vulnerable! Funny how that works, right? Now that I think about it, I actually did run to the woods to hide on Sunday. I told myself I was going for a hike to ‘clear my head.’ But I was really trying to avoid the vulnerability that I knew was coming with the launch of the website, video and this blog. As I bumped into a five-foot long rattlesnake, it became obvious that I was looking in the wrong place to feel safe! I even came away with a little poison ivy as a reminder from the Universe… So much for running away! It all seems kind of silly as I process it now. But in reality, the snake didn’t attack me, or even rattle threateningly like in a movie. He just slithered slowly off to the side of the trail and I walked purposefully past and continued onward.

The honeybees are far more vulnerable than me. They are subject to our environmental choices these days and those choices are hurting them. I am simply worried about being judged. The bees are in a life and death situation and need us to pay attention. I think I needed to remind myself of that. That thought just gave me the strength to carry some vulnerability into the next phase of the work. Heck, maybe the vulnerability will inform the work in ways that I cannot even imagine.

I am reminded of heading down to LaBelle, Florida last March to paint the first mural about the bees. It was my first attempt at crowd funding, and as the time to start the mural approached, I did not even have enough money raised to pay for travel to get there and back. But something in me said, “Go do it anyway.” And by taking the action based on my heart and not my head (and in the process making myself and my bank account vulnerable), a world was opened up. In the end, we not only exceeded the crowd funding goal by several thousand dollars, but a new direction and purpose in my work as an artist was revealed to me.

So I guess the moral of the story is that it is okay not to be razor sharp in the story I am telling with this one tiny blog. It is just a piece of the puzzle… like one little bee. More words, more art, and more bees are needed to create the hive and get the honey flowing. I do not have to know where this is going. For now, it is okay for me to simply thrive in the purpose of it.

“An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.” -Charles Horton Cooley