OUCH: Sometimes a painful experience is just the gift you need
I believe support and love can come to us in many forms. Sometimes it's a person we know, a stranger on the street, a workshop, a sign by the side of the road, a rainbow, an animal, a detour or even pain.
We can choose to see all of the above as just luck or coincidence, we disregard them entirely, or we can decide to see them as gifts, as messengers offering loving reminders of who we are, what we can heal and how we can grow.
A few weeks ago I had an experience in nature that was just too aligned and filled with meaning to ignore. I was blessed to attend a weekend retreat with Gabrielle Bernstein at Kripalu.
I arrived at the stunning retreat center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. So excited to be there and even more excited to be early so I could enjoy nature before getting into the workshops.
I checked in, put my bag in the luggage room and walked confidently outside, across a beautiful open field on my way to the lake, which was only about a 20 minute walk away.
All of my being showcased: I've got this. Nature check, retreat check, life check.
And then... OUCH!!
I had stepped on something - maybe a rock or a prickly plant.
But when I looked down it wasn't either of those things.
It was a bee! And it was still attached! The stinger was in the arch of my left foot and the poor bee was wriggling, attempting to break free.
So I pulled out the bee.
But the stinger stayed.
So I pulled out the stinger.
The pain throbbed and welled up in my foot. I glanced around - no one was near.
There I sat, in the middle of a big open field, in incredible pain.
Luckily I had been stung before so I knew I wasn't allergic. Also luckily I had brought my essential oils for bug bites and bee stings. Unfortunately those oils were back in my bag in the luggage room and I was in too much pain to walk.
So I sat, breathing.
The view was stunning. And my mind couldn't help but wander. This is the train of thought that unfolded:
- Interesting that I got stung on the arch of my foot. In acupressure the arch of the foot relates to the spine. I had spent the previous weekend learning and experiencing the Raindrop Essential Oil technique that involves a series of essential oils massaged into the arch of the foot and dropped along the spine.
- Interesting that the day before that massage experience I had thrown my upper spine out of whack again.
- Interesting that I have slight scoliosis in my upper spine that leads to this issue and that I found out about my scoliosis when I popped my sternum out of place right after one of my early childhood traumas was re-triggered in Graduate School.
- Interesting that I'm writing a book proposal about my early childhood traumas and how to heal and I've been stuck lately.
- Did I just receive a special dose of Nature's Acupuncture?
After a few minutes, the pain ebbed enough for me to hobble into the luggage room and drop Purification and Lavender on my foot. Immediate relief.
Later that night we had our first workshop. The theme of the weekend was 'A Way Through Every Block.' Little did I know that the theme of that night would be healing from trauma.
Gabby's heartfelt honesty cracked me open and when it was time for the Q and A, my hand shot up. I told her and the 260+ attendees about my early childhood trauma that had recently been kicked up by my IUD removal process and asked a question about sharing the details of it in my upcoming book. Her answer was so simple and so clear. Share what heals. Share what helps. There's no need to share every last detail.
I sat down feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted. For the first time in months I felt ready and excited to finish my book proposal and write my book.
As I was drifting off to sleep that night, the bee sting stirred me awake. I thought, What do bees mean?
I jolted upright, grabbed my phone, googled 'bees meaning' and as I scrolled through the list of various meanings of bees as spirit animals or totems I could barely contain my laughter.
Bees aren't meant to fly, they just do! They help us fly, too. "Bee people very often become motivational speakers, teachers, healers and light workers for the greater global village." (1) They are all about pollenating ideas, bringing about miraculous changes through teamwork and community, abundance and prosperity, and balancing hard work with taking time to stop and smell the flowers!
It was just too perfect. Teaching and healing through my book, receiving the support to do so, and feeling ready to do the work. YUM. Thank you, bees!
The rest of the weekend was incredible and in the days that followed, I finished a full draft of my book proposal and received endorsements from 3 authors I greatly admire. All in one week everything fell into place.
And the bees have been visiting me regularly - in my meditations and in nature. I know that they are a reminder of the love and support that surrounds me always and I am so grateful to invite their gifts and blessings into my life.
So this is a gentle reminder for you to stay curious.
Have you been seeing the same or similar messages in multiple ways? Have you been blessed to see or spend time with a wild animal? Is a part of your body in pain or discomfort? What do you think it means? I'd love to hear in the comments below.
Above all, bee open to the love and support that surrounds you now and always. ;)
So much love,