It’s December 27th, 2018 and this Christmas season has been very different for me. Not at all like the wonderous Christmases of my childhood- This one was very quiet, and not that exciting. I spent some time with family, which is bittersweet as my family divided 6 years ago in the summer before my senior year of high school. The adjustment has been tough. Going to different houses now to see separate parts of my family, which for my whole life were unquestionably together for the holidays. On top of that, the breakup of an amazing relationship has been really weighing me down lately. This is not how life should be, but I can’t change it. I can only control the way I respond to it.
I wanted to write this post to expand on a thought that I had on Christmas morning. A new banana flower had just started to open up, and I went out to take a look before making my holiday rounds. Banana flowers have this sweet, juicy nectar which drips out from the flowers, attracting pollinators, especially bees. You can drink it yourself- it’s delicious honey water. I saw one particular bee really loving on this banana flower, and since it was Christmas morning, I thought about the gifts being given in that moment.
The banana’s gift to the world is its flower. The flower it was born to produce- a pure example of its own self expression, a fundamental part of its growth. It would have produced that flower no matter what, as long as it got enough fertility and water. The banana did not rush itself to flower on Christmas morning, but went at its own pace. In this case, it was perfect timing for the bee, who was looking for nectar to drink that morning, and found the jackpot.
The bee’s gift is the act of pollination. In the process of feeding on nectar, the bee transfers pollen from one flower to another, fertilizing and allowing fruit to form. The bee does not go out of its way to do this as a gift for the plants, it is simply how it expresses itself as a bee. Yet the banana receives the benefits of the bee’s bee-ness, and can start to fill and ripen its young fruits.
Neither of these two individuals went to any lengths to purchase a gift, wrap it with fancy paper, or worry about whether the receiver of the gift would like it, or what they’d think of the giver. They simply went about their lives, expressing their full potential and their own unique abilities. Somehow there is symbiosis, and love.
I had been hoping to get certain things done in time for Christmas, hoping to make a certain impression on certain loved ones with gifts that I had gone out of my way to procure. The night before, I gave up on some of those ideas, I was just way too tired. The next morning, after pondering the interaction between the bee and banana flower, it hit me: The best gift that we can give our family and loved ones is the expression of our true selves. Reaching our potential in our own unique way, at our own pace, and not being afraid to share our uniqueness with those around us. Being there for each other, in full, is much more valuable than anything with a shiny plastic bow on it.
“Be a lamp, or a ladder, or a lifeboat”
Expressing your honest, vulnerable self is so important because, as has been said many times- when you shine your light, you give others permission to do the same. We all want a world where people are honest, and free, and have no fear. The way to create that world is to be your most potent, loving self, in a way that allows others to feel comfortable doing the same. Create a ripple effect.
The other part to the equation of the bee and banana, is me. I receive the gifts of having a banana rack on the way, and a bee population that is apparently thriving. Not to mention the gift of being able to watch this interaction take place, it’s what inspired the idea behind this post. All started by my own expression of my desire to have food growing at home. I now get to continue passing on that gift here, by writing this for you. I hope you’ll take the torch and continue passing it on!