The Sweetness of Life

For the past few days I’ve been thinking about how I commemorate those who matter to me. How funny and appropriate that it should coincide with Memorial Day.

What kicked off the contemplation is a recent therapy session where I connected with the spirit of my maternal grandmother through a family constellation. We discovered on a subconscious level I thought the best way to commemorate my grandmother was to remember her suffering and pay attention to my own. That if I didn’t remember all the horrible things she and my other ancestors went through that they’d be forgotten. It doesn’t make sense on a rational level, but that’s the way it goes with beliefs sometimes.

During the session I came to realize the best way to honor my grandmother and everyone else is to live a joyful life. They didn’t go through hell for me to live in misery. They want me to be happy, to notice the good things, to live a better and easier life than they did.


Isn’t this a sweet picture? Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

As if to underscore the point, just before writing this post I had a baffling encounter. I visited with my next-door neighbor and their dog for a spell. When I re-entered my apartment, I walked to the bathroom to wash my hands. As I turned, I noticed something on my back. My heart leapt thinking a large spider crawled on me. When I peered closer, I determined it wasn’t a spider, it was a bumblebee. I spent literally one second outside crossing the threshold from my neighbor’s apartment into mine, and in that second, a bumblebee landed on me. Either that or my neighbor had a bumblebee in their house. Regardless, a strange event.

In shamanism, do you know what bumblebees represent? The honey or sweetness of life, of course. I’d like to believe the bumblebee showed up in an unusual way to emphasize the point. To say, “Yes, remember life is joyful, it’s sweet. Keep going in this direction. Remember good things and keep in mind positive outcomes are just as likely as negative ones.”

It’s not only the bumblebee delivering this message; it’s also numerous spiritual traditions around the world. The ancient Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, say, “This quinquelemental world has been born out of joy, is being maintained in joy, and into sacred joy will melt.” Yeah! Sign me up for that! In actuality, I don’t need to be signed up for anything because joy is already here whether I’m aware of it or not. What I’m working on these days is bringing joy out of my periphery and into the forefront. And I have that wish for everyone.

I dream of a world where we acknowledge suffering but also joy. A world where we feel into the notion that the world was born out of joy and unto joy we shall return. A world where we experience the sweetness of life.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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