My friends David and Ronda are busy people.

David runs iDome, a successful Kamloops-based IT consulting company, owns a few other businesses, is taking his master’s, is a classically trained opera baritone, and jets off on regular world travels.

He always has something on the go.

Ronda works full time at Thompson Rivers University and helps David run the businesses.

I’m a busy gal but the number of balls they juggle sometimes makes even me feel tired!

Every day, David and Ronda put all the balls down, find their Zen and take care of the bees buzzing in the backyard.

Beekeeping, you see, requires a steady, calm energy.

If you enter the hive area in an agitated state, Dave tells me, the bees sense your stress. You risk being stung and creating stress in the bees’ world, which causes other problems in their complex society.

Dave makes a conscious choice to remove stress from his mind and body, so he can handle his bees with ease.

Glass balls vs. rubber balls

We all have a lot of stuff going on in our worlds, like we’re constantly juggling several balls … sometimes struggling to keep them all in the air.

But we get to decide what the balls are made of.

The glass balls represent what’s really important. They’re our priorities, such as our career, our family, our health. If we drop those balls, they break.

The rubber balls represent the pieces of our lives that we can let fall. They bounce and bounce and bounce until they settle on the ground, waiting to be picked up again.

The trouble starts when we give our rubber balls glass-ball intentions. The stress starts to build around those everyday items that we give too much importance and we start should-ing all over ourselves.

“I gotta get this done”

My friend Sandra and I were at the gym last week. She jumped on the rowing machine and started pulling furiously. I was on the stationary bike next to her.

She was stressing herself out over getting to a certain time and she didn’t feel like it was passing by quickly enough. I hopped off my bike, grabbed a towel and threw it over the timer. Then I started telling her a story.

She caught herself in a stressful moment but she needed to turn off her brain. By the time I finished my story, she was a minute over the time she originally intended.

Sometimes, we need to zone out from everything that’s stressing us.

Health researchers at Penn State and Columbia universities found it isn’t the stress that’s adversely affecting our health. It’s how we react to it.

Lead researcher Nancy L. Sin and her colleagues collected and analyzed data from 909 subjects, asking them to report the stressful events and the negative emotions they experienced every day. On average, the participants reported having at least one stress experience on 42 per cent of the reporting days and generally rated the experiences as “somewhat” stressful.

Each participant also had their heart rate recorded and those who perceived events as more stressful or experienced a spike in negative emotions had lower heart-rate variability.

Which means they may be at higher risk for heart disease.

Sin said it didn’t matter how many or how few stressful events we face on a regular basis, it’s how we perceive those events.

These results tell us that a person’s perceptions and emotional reactions to stress events are more important than exposure to stress per se.

It adds to the evidence, Sin said, that minor hassles can pile up and influence health.

But only if we let them.

It’s like listening to our gut instinct. Once we build up knowledge from experience, we can learn how much importance we give to items or events in our lives.

And we can learn which balls should be rubber and which should be glass.

When we learn how to decide what’s important and protect our priorities, we can be fully present in the moment.

We can relax and enjoy what we’re doing.

We can walk into the beehive and not get stung.

Find your Zen

Our hobbies allow us to let go.

You might be into reading, kayaking, gardening, painting or carpentry. The list is endless and as unique as you are.

Your hobby makes you feel good. It helps you find your Zen and lets you have an experience free of your daily stressors.

Urban beekeeping is on the rise in the realm of hobbies. People the world over are using it to nourish their souls, to tune out, relax and find their Zen.

It also has great benefits for the community. In addition to counteracting drastic effects on a once-declining bee population, urban beekeeping produces:

  • Fresh honey, which can have health benefits
  • Other natural products, such as candles, lip balms and soaps
  • Beautiful blooms and bountiful gardens throughout your neighbourhood because of pollination

Check out this Ted Talk with Noah Wilson-Rich on how urban beekeeping contributes to the vitality of the bee species and our cities:

Because of its potential contributions to the health of our communities, it’s our next topic at Conversations In Health. David Paul Olds and Ronda Olds are leading the discussion and we plan to talk about:

  • An introduction to bees
  • Common myths about beekeeping
  • Bee basics
  • The lifecycle of bees
  • The benefits of bees
  • Honey, pollen and propolis
  • How you can get involved
  • What you need to get started in beekeeping

David and Ronda began their beekeeping adventure four years ago and now maintain three hives and two nucs, which produce 150 pounds of honey. They want to share their passion, offer a honey tasting and help you get involved.

“We wanted to contribute in a unique way to our community,” Ronda says, “and we felt beekeeping offered something sustainable for the environment and our neighbours.”

The Olds appreciate the sustainability and the benefits to the community.

The relaxation they find in beekeeping is icing on the cake.

“It is very soothing,” she says. “The buzz is very mesmerizing and I love watching them on the plants that we’ve planted specifically for them. It’s very satisfying collecting your own honey for personal consumption. It makes us feel like we’re making a difference.

“David calls the bees his ‘girls.’ He loves taking care of them.”

Conversations In Health is set for Tuesday, May 3 , at Caffe Motivo on Victoria Street in Kamloops, B.C. We kick off the night at 6:30 p.m. Let us know you’re coming by going to the Facebook event page:

Bee There

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