When I was six years old, my parents took me to Africa to visit my aunt and uncle in Nairobi, Kenya.
As this was such a different world from my home in Canada, they gave me specific safety warnings before the trip. One was to be careful around beehives because African bees attacked in swarms, and multiple stings could kill a small child.
One sunny day, while playing in my relatives’ beautiful gated garden, I got stung. Remembering the warnings, I screamed “killer bee” and ran into the house as fast as my little legs could carry me.
The solution was simple and obvious. I avoided more stings by getting out of a potentially harmful situation as quickly as I could.
But so often we forget to do this as adults.
So often, we choose to live in the pain and hurt of the world instead of getting ourselves to safety. So often, we choose to get stung again and again.
Sometimes the threat is external. We feel we have no choice but to remain in toxic friendships, poisonous workplaces or abusive relationships.
More often, the threat is internal. We harbor past grudges, re-open old wounds and dwell on past mistakes, when we should be living in the present moment. After all, the present moment is the only one we can do anything about.
Whether the treat is internal or external, we too often choose to expose ourselves to a swarm of stings, when the smart thing to do is to retreat to safety.