From the Blog

Happiness and Honey

As well as being a beekeeper, I am also a teacher. Out in the bush I collect honey. And inside the classroom I help students to find happiness through their learning. Here I’m going to attempt to show that the process for making both these things -“honey for the bee” and “happiness for the human” – is based on the same principles.

I love time out in the bush. It reminds me that everything on this planet is miraculous. And as a special part of nature, people are the most amazing things of all. If an alien came and researched our race, and investigated how we were made and born, they would undoubtedly fascinated. It is truly as if our very own existence was supernatural. And we are only one species amongst millions.

But it is in fact the honey bee that I pay homage to today. The short life of this insect is all about carefully making wonderful, magical, golden honey.

Did you know that honey gathered from flowers growing close to the ground (ground flora) ie. weeds like heliotrope, clover, curse, lucern etc produce a pale, light colored honey? And those made from the nectar of tall gum trees, like Iron bark, Stringy Bark, Red gum etc. are much darker, and tangier and richer in color and taste?

Well, there is one thing that all honeys have in common, and that is that it never goes off or goes rotten – it never loses its deliciousness and it never breaks down. That itself goes against the very laws of nature if you think about it. But it’s ability to last forever has been scientifically proven and they’ve found honey in Egyptian tombs that are 1000s of years old. So honey is a very precious thing and if you are a honey bee, it is the sole purpose of your noble and important life.

So when bees make their honey, they store it carefully in wax cells in their hive, sealing it off with a secure, tight wax lid, stowing it safely like a jewel. And looking after it like that actually helps the honey to cure; similar to the way wine needs to mature. Honey that has been taken from the bee too early and stolen away from cells that have not been properly closed up and allowed to mature, is thin and runny and not true honey yet. You see, before perfection is possible, nature needs time. This is true for how people develop and mature as well.

Another way that bees look after their honey is that they keep it at the right temperature. If it gets too cold it can crystalise (so by heating it you easily bring it back to liquid form) and if the hive gets too hot, the wax surrounding the honey can melt and the poor hive can collapse and smother itself. So there is a range of things that bees do to control the temp of their hive, like a thermostat. When its really hot, they’ll stay up all night, and beat their wings to fan the air inside the hive. I’ve seen them do it and I’ve heard them do it – nothing can describe the delicate pitter-patter magic of this sound. And sometimes when the heat is extreme, most of the hive will sleep on the outside walls, so the heat of their bodies doesn’t make the situation worse. So you can’t move a hive on a really hot night, because you’ll damage the carpet of bees that can completely cover all outside edges of the box.

And when its cold, the bees huddle and cuddle and keep their honey warm that way…in one big, collective, protective, heartfelt effort. Because they know how much work went in to making it. In fact , they nearly wore their wings out making it…literally! A bees wing will only last 3 weeks of flying time and then it gets tatty and breaks and the bees drop out of the sky and can’t fly anymore. And the honey-making process involves all of the bees working together – total teamwork. The queen, her drones, the nurse bees, the soldier bees, the worker bees….they all pitch in to bring the honey home.

So for a hive of bees, their honey is their well-deserved prize – their reward..their reason for being. Similarly, I believe that gaining happiness for humans, is just like what the bees go through to make their honey.

Firstly, happiness is not something you just get…..you have to make it. Secondly, you can’t make it alone – you need the help of others before you can make and feel happiness. Thirdly, A hive revolves solely on communication – they communicate details of the flowers , distance, location to each other in such accurate detail; in ways possibly more advanced than that of any other creature. Point #4: happiness can only be made from the good things in life…the minute a bad element enters the mix, the end result is tainted and true happiness can not result. Bees need flowers, pollen, nectar and water to make their honey. Humans need honesty, truth, kindness, love, health, support and a sense of achievement to create happiness. Point #5: In order to be happy you need to know how to avoid danger, and know when to decline, retreat or to give up. When we are working the bees, we can always tell when rain or a storm is coming, because all the bees will suddenly race directly home, flying urgently in big mass groups to get back before the rain hits. So in order to be happy, you need to know when to back off, change direction if need be…and leave the sweet prize for another day. The sixth thing is about knowing where you come from. We have elements of our 2 parents inside each of us. And while this by no means limits or restricts us, because we individually make our own life and our own happiness, in there lies a pearl of truth about who we are. Now everyone in a hive, all 30,000 plus bees, are members of the one family. And all of them are born to one busy lady – who is of course their queen. This origin defines and bonds them completely, and no matter where you take the hive and cart it around and confuse their bearings, they will always fly directly to where she is….and this is a fundamental source of strength – a total life force for them. And so it is also very important for us humans to know where home is – it too is a wonderful source of strength and healing.

So I think that almost covers it. Being happy entails the satisfaction and appreciation of beholding a special prize that lasts forever…like honey.

But remember, YOU MAKE IT YOURSELF

Revision: Happiness is the result of working hard and a sense of achievement.

It results from good communication, good teamwork, focussing on being a good person and from staying away from negative things. It comes from rejoicing in who you are and where you come from, but also from recognising that there are forces that are more powerful than you. And as I said at the beginning, it does take time.

I once heard from an elderly doctor that by the time you get old, humans end up as one of only 2 types of people – those who are content and fulfilled and those who aren’t. So look after that hard-earned happiness and treasure it and protect it….because once you’ve made it…like the Egyptian tombs, it will last forever. And then at the end of the day, you’ll end up with a full hive, rather than an empty one.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Jane, this is amazing xx

  2. Forwarding this to my grandchildren living in Hong Kong…they love bees & honey. Beautiful story.
    Have just discovered your honey…..delish! Best wishes.

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