Quieting the Buzz of a Million Bees

Photo Credit: 123RF
Photo Credit: 123RF

The buzzing is so loud sometimes.

So incredibly loud.

Sometimes I wonder if we aren’t all little bees, buzzing away throughout our days, trying to please the queen and not sting anyone. The sting kills the bee, after all. We’re little bees, flying from flower to flower, from home to work and back again, in search of something. All the while buzzing, buzzing, buzzing.

I don’t think that the buzzing itself is necessarily a bad thing. Heck, it might even be a good thing, but lately, it just seems so damn loud. And angry too. So loud and so angry sometimes that I can feel it vibrating in my bones, rattling my brain and unsettling my heart a bit too.

My news feed is filled with articles that criticize everything from parenting and politics to food and fashion. The world seems a little too much like high school, with impenetrable cliques and stereotypical labels, those who are “in” and those who are “out.” There are millions of buzzing bees all trying to be heard, all trying to please the queen. And sometimes it just seems too loud and noisy for me.

And lately, it seems like the buzzing might be getting louder and angrier too, with lots of stereotyping, finger-pointing, and insulting. There is so much more comparing and excluding and competing. Angry words get thrown around like confetti, and the biggest rewards go to those who can spark a controversy or poke a stick at the hive. Insult someone, instant Internet fame. Retaliate against that insult, more fame. And the cycle continues. There is so much judgment and noise, so much energy spent on arguments and criticism and assumptions, so many piercing words hurled into cyberspace that I can’t hear myself think sometimes.

Maybe I’ve just become more sensitive to the noise lately, more susceptible to the fiery sting. Whatever the reason, I have noticed that when I spend too much time amidst the noise – whether it’s Facebook or reading certain websites or just trying to be someone that I’m not – I become a little angrier, a little more judgmental, a little too quick to point the finger as well.

Like an eager bee, I have my own internal buzzing to deal with too. Sometimes it’s an excited vibration of possibility or a happy buzz of gratitude; other times there is a jittery twang of envy pulsating as well. I want to find my path, but I’m not quite sure how to do that. Buzz, buzz. There are so many options, so many other bees in the way making so much noise. Buzz, buzz. There are plenty of days when I feel like I’m not enough this or that. I’ve got my own doubts and questions, insecurities and soft spots. Buzz, buzz. buzz.

So how can I – a tiny little bee, with my own buzzing to deal with – block out the rest of the noise?

Sometimes I wonder if there is no blocking it out, if it is impossible to succeed in this big and noisy world without being big and noisy myself? Like they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Right? Should I adhere to the finger-pointing and jump on my own soapboxes to be heard? Should I contort myself to fit into the prescribed criteria? Should I be a hard ass and thick-skinned and do all the other things that they say one needs to do to be “successful?”

Maybe. Except none of that rings true to me. I don’t want to be big and noisy. I don’t want to be a hard ass or thick-skinned.  I want to stay soft and open to possibility. I want to observe and absorb without feeling an intense need to rush in and shout in order to stake my claim. I want stillness and simplicity. I want to connect, not divide. I want to build bridges, not walls.

Sometimes I wonder if the buzzing might have something to do with our desire to answer this one essential question: What is my purpose? The bee wonders it, as it flies from flower to flower. I wonder it as I go through my day, making lunches and carpooling and writing blog posts and returning emails. I suspect we all wonder it. How do I fulfill my purpose? In the words of Mary Oliver, how am I going to spend this one wild and precious life of mine?

But the noise, and the angry buzzing in particular, seems to come from an even deeper question and a harsh fear. Deep down, I wonder if we’re all asking ourselves, Am I doing this right? Am I living my best life? Am I being my best self? And I wonder if we aren’t just a little scared of the answer.

So we buzz louder and angrier. We seek validation. We judge those who make different choices than our own. We make assumptions and criticize. We deny what we know in our hearts to be true. We spend more time making noise about what others are doing, than we do trying to make the best damn honey we can make.

I started writing to better understand myself, and connect on a deeper level. I wanted to surround myself with people and writers who would uplift and inspire me to do that. I was drawn into a hive of possibility, where words could be like a salve for the soul. And though it seems harder and harder to find these places, where the buzzing isn’t quite so loud and angry, I know that this is where I want to be.

And despite all the noise, despite all of the vitriol that I read lately, all the blaming and criticizing and judging, I still believe that these places exist. I still believe there are places where there is no queen to please, where the support is a sweet nectar that sustains. I still believe there are places were bridges are built, and quiet voices can be heard. I still believe there are places where words heal instead of hurt, places where the honey is sweet and the stings are minimal.

And maybe it is there that we can quiet the noise just enough to hear the answer that was there all along: Relax, you are doing all right.

 

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This post was inspired by one of the daily prompts in Jena Schwartz’s online writing groups. If you are looking to deepen your writing practice, this is the place to do it. It is a magical two week experience, filled with creative prompts, talented writers, and supportive friends. 

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