Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

bees, democracy and grace ~

A friend who knows my fascination with bees sent me a cool link the other day. It was about  ‘democratic bees.’ Bees divide into new hives pretty frequently. But it’s not done, the article notes (and I’d read this before), by the queen. In fact, the queen just goes with where ever  the bee scouts decide.

But like any  ‘government,’ some scouts want one thing, and others want  another. So what happens when different scouts like different locations for the new hive? Well, as the author of the article points out, the bees dance for their choices. They dance over and over again to highlight how enthusiastic they are about the place they found. Did you hear that? They dance!


Digression: does anyone else think it’s the coolest thing that bees dance to communicate? That to ‘speak bee,’ you’d have to learn to dance bee?

After the first scout forays, another round of bee scouts goes out, looking only at the locations that received high numbers of enthusiastic dances (Another digression: are bees ever bad dancers? Does that matter?). And they come back and dance. And then a third round of scouts goes out, comes back and they dance. Three rounds of dancing, and the bees have decided. Just three — that’s it. And get this: none of the bees is upset at ‘losing.’ AND ~ the queen doesn’t even vote!


This is beginner’s heart, I’m absolutely sure. Bees are all about the good of the group. So they just let go of their attachment to location X over location R. Everyone else has decided on X, so they go along w/ that. Easy peasey, as niece used to say. No hard feelings.

Now a scientist points out that it looks like this ‘3rd time’s the charm’ thing is hard-wired into bee DNA. Which certainly helps. (But it might just be grace…) And the author of the article points out that we’d lose original ideas that no one liked at first, if people did this. And all that’s true. But maybe we could figure out some way to stop being such sore losers…? Maybe we could figure out a way for us to really reach consensus over good ideas? And maybe it wouldn’t be all about who gets to be in charge? Because all the conflict gives me a very bad heartache ~

Anyway, it’s one of many reasons I love bees. It really isn’t all about the honey :). It’s about a kind of sweetness beyond honey — the grace to do what’s right for everyone. Even if you don’t get to be right. Or in charge ~


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