The Bee and the Bloom

Dear Reader:

I just got re-introduced to Mark Nepo again after years of losing him to the dusty attic of my personal memory box. I moved on to other writers and poets and time worked its enigmatic power over my feeble human memory that compartmentalized Nepo to a locked door in the treasure box of yesterday’s thoughts.

It was my wonderful friend, Samantha Moore, (owner of Simple to Sublime) who recently heard Mark Nepo speak and posted the experience  on Facebook, that brought me back to him. Ah…Mark Nepo! I love his writings, his thoughts…how did I let him slip away into my unconscious frontier?

So I started pulling some quotes of his and came upon this one that stopped and made me pause…long enough to just be.

Nepo follows this quote with one more:

“Like a tulip whose blossomed petal is the exact shape of the bee, our own self-actualization attracts host of loving others more real than our fantasies.”

Aren’t we all guilty of wasting too much precious time waiting on love to come to us, to find us, without any participation on our part? We reassure ourselves that “if it is meant to be, to happen, it will” and then close our petals to new opportunities.

By doing this…we are shutting out happiness and joy…because the reality is we have to pull the layers of mixed emotions off of us one by one to find the peace of joy that waits for us smothered under our own inertia.

One of Mark Nepo’s latest books of poems is called Reduced to Joy. It immediately caught my attention because I wondered “What do we have to  reduce to find joy?”


Nepo believes that we all share one common destiny: “to be worn of all that is not essential till we are reduced to joy.”

Immediately my mind jumped to the days of the gold-diggers ( after all I am a “49’er”) and the stories of the hours, days, weeks, and years that were spent shifting through all the sediments to find that one spark of gold. Spiritually…that is joy!

I remember one time while  growing up… a neighbor and classmate of mine, Freddy, was walking to school with me (like he did every day) but this morning he was unusually quiet and subdued. We were about eight. I asked him what was wrong and these big tears came down his face.

He had changed his grade in spelling from a D to a B…his parents didn’t catch it…but we both knew our teacher (who was very strict and extremely vigilant) would. We were right. She gave us some quiet work to do at our desks as she went through each report card, one by one, checking for suspicious grades and signatures. (She obviously was an experienced teacher.)

Suddenly she looked up and pointed her finger at poor Freddy who was trembling and sweating by now. She motioned him outside. I remember praying at my desk that poor Freddy would somehow survive this dual embarrassment/consequence.

You could tell Freddy had been crying when he got back but he had stopped and  appeared subdued and quiet. By lunchtime…when I finally had a chance to ask him what happened…he whispered that our teacher wasn’t going to tell his parents…he was. She was re-making the report card and would send it home again. It was up to him to tell his parents what happened.

Surprisingly Freddie didn’t seem as anxious as I thought if I were  in his shoes. Actually it went better than even he had hoped. His parents remained calm, let him know the consequences for his actions (privileges taken away) but acknowledged their appreciation for him making a wrong right.

The next morning…Freddie was downright joyful as we walked to school. The worst had happened and not only had the world not stopped spinning..suddenly everything was brighter and better than before. By “coming clean” so, too, had the world.

I think perhaps that is what Mark Nepo means by being “reduced to joy.”  He concludes:

“Though we discover and experience joy with others, our capacity for joy is carried like a pod of nectar in our very own breast, our very own bloom. I now believe that our deepest vocation is to root ourselves enough in this life that we can open our hearts to the light of experience, and so, bloom.” 

So until tomorrow…”There is a Sioux saying that the longest journey you will ever make in your life is from your head to your heart.” No one is exempt from this great adventure. Our final destiny is to find that special place  “where the glow of our heart touches everything it meets so we can’t help but remember how dear it is to be alive.”  (Nepo)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Tommy and Kaitlyn flew back in to Charleston in the midst of the thunderstorms early last evening…landing safe and sound.


I am sure it will be an adjustment returning home after such a fairy tale romantic honeymoon. So just to make it a little easier…here are some “balloons” to welcome you back to everyday reality…which is a pretty good life too! 🙂

…and Honeymoon!


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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