Photograph by April Hopkins
Be like honey, sweet and slow.
When my friend sent me this photo of her first honey harvest, I immediately thought about writing a blog on savoring the sweet spots of summer, as it is coming to a close (it officially ends September 22nd).
Then I started thinking about the sweet spots of life and wondering what they are for me*.
Writing is at times the sweetest spot in my day. But there are different types of writing that I do. Blogging, newslettering, journaling and what I just call “writing.” That last one is reserved for my books and is often the last type of writing I get to, after all the other types.
Honey, sweet spots, presence….my mind starts clicking away, making connections. The sweetest spots in my day and life are the ones I am most present for – when I slow down time or time slows me down. That’s when I get the most out of my moments, and my life. That’s when the most meaning comes to me. It allows for inspiration, too. When I am rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off, I am not “downloading” ideas or getting super excited about anything – aka, no sweet spots.
But when given the chance, life gives me lessons. On the daily, if I am present, open, and curious enough to notice them.
Such as my very own jar of local honey and some visitors. Ants, anyone? Yes, they found my honey in the cabinet, where it sat, warm and ready to dip a spoon into every so often. I guess the ants thought they, too, wanted to dip their little legs and mouths into it. For them, it was an unfortunate choice. For me, it led to popping those jars into the fridge.
This time, when I stuck my spoon in, the honey was as thick and slow as taffy. Yum! I didn’t mind the ant-shaped chocolate sprinkles trapped in all kinds of poses. Extra protein.
As I savored the thick, golden-hued richness, I had a “sweet spot” moment. In that moment between disgust and adventure before eating my honey ants, I understood my father a little more, particularly when it came to food and bugs. Living in Thailand and traveling throughout Southeast Asia helped, too, as many people snack on bugs there, including myself. But that was on purpose, and they are usually prepared in savory ways.
My father was an oxymoron: a professional dumpster diver. Seeing those frozen-in-honey ants in my fridge reminded me of the time he came to visit me at my apartment in the Bronx when I was going to Fordham University.
I had made us homemade spaghetti sauce and a nice dinner. The two of us sat in my narrow basement apartment kitchen at the two-person table and had a civilized meal together. A rare treat, as he lived on the West Coast and I on the East Coast for most of my life.
The deal was that I made dinner and he would bring desert. When dinner was cleared up, I made tea and he brought out the treats – a box of sugar-coated cookies, with one corner a bit dented in, I assumed from carrying it in his bag.
Oh, how wrong I was!
We were munching away before I noticed something black on one of the cookies at the bottom of the box. It was moving! I jumped up, shrieking as fat black ants crawled up, over and around the otherwise pristine-looking cookies. I felt a lump in my throat and could neither swallow nor spit out the mostly munched cookie in my mouth.
“What? They are just ants,” my father said, watching my hysterics as he munched away.
“Uh, where did you get the cookies?” I mumbled, forcing myself to swallow as I hesitantly sat back down at the table.
“I found them in the dumpster behind the grocery store on my way here,” he answered nonchalantly.
I couldn’t bring myself to eat any more of them. But that moment stuck with me, that’s for sure. And it came flooding back to me as I bravely took a spoonful of my very own ant honey, telling myself, “It’s just extra protein.”
My father died many years ago, but in my act of so-called bravery, I felt my connection to him. I am his daughter. His ant-eating daughter. I tucked the honey back into the fridge, imagining him giving me his silent nod of approval, as if he were saying something he never would: There she is, my daughter. I’m proud of you.
And somewhere between closing the door of the fridge and doing the next thing came my lesson, and within it my inspiration.
My lesson: Be like (cold) honey, sweet and slow. Savor the moments you enjoy most. Be present with them, and yourself.
My inspiration: Practice presence through writing. Take one small “sweet spot” and dive into it for all it has to offer you. Right here, right now.
For me, inspiration leads to offerings.
Here’s mine: join me for a 250 word a day challenge. Five days, five pages, five chances to practice presence. The challenge is called Write Here, Write Now. Click to sign up! Totally free. Totally fun. Totally life changing.