Connecting to nature, one insect bite at a time

LinkedIn post, 21 June 2021

Ouch, and ouch again! A hungry horsefly threatened to spoil a glorious day out with friends in the countryside. Nursing my bites, I wondered what would happen if I switched from feeling sorry for myself and tried on a different perspective.

If you’ve experienced horsefly bites, you’ll know the stings are sharp and then recede, only to blow up later into persistent painful blisters. My choice to reframe them owes much to reading ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book about healing the exploitative relationship between humans and the natural world.

How could I think differently about this horsefly’s unwelcome attentions?

Maybe the invading species was not the horsefly but us, as we walked through its habitat. Small creatures under our feet were at much greater risk than we were. The horsefly was using remarkable precision engineering to feed, so it could reproduce the next generation. And birds feed on horseflies, so I was being a useful part of the ecosystem.

Also, next time I visit a nature site in summer, I must remember to wear trousers, not shorts!

On better terms with the horsefly, I can now embrace the gift of the beauty of that place.

Choosing a different perspective is difficult when we’re caught up in painful emotions. But knowing we have this choice can help us get unstuck and move into healthier ways of being, acting and relating to the world. It’s useful to practise when we’re not under pressure.

How could you see a current challenge differently? What choice will you make?

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