{Inspire} Smoking out the bees

I know it’s a mouthful, but I chose the title of my blog intentionally.

Yes it’s about food, canning, and healthy living.  But my deeper purpose for starting this blog was to explore what feeds my soul, learn how to make time for the important things, big and small, all towards the goal of feeling like I am thriving.

Lately, I don’t feel like I’ve been living at my best.  I have a bad case of swarm brain – when I’m overwhelmed, it feels like a swarm of bees are buzzing around my head.  Each bee is a thought,  Things I should do, think about, take care of.  There are so many bees, and with their loud buzzing, I have a hard time focusing.  I swat at one, only to get distracted by another.

I end up not doing much of anything by trying to do a little of everything.  I have a hard time focusing on what’s important, and consequently, don’t feel like I have enough time for the important things.

Do you ever feel like the universe is trying to tell you something?  In the last couple weeks, ways to integrate the important things into every day life surfaced again and again in emails, blog posts, videos, and conversations with friends.   It feels like the universe has been trying to teach me to smoke out the bees.

Here’s what the universe sent my way.  Hopefully you’ll find it helpful if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and unfocused, too.  Even if you haven’t, these things are good to prevent swarm brain, too.


Cooking does so much more than feed me – it nourishes me.  It relaxes me and gives me a sense of satisfaction, but the most important thing cooking gives me is the ability to express love and share memories.

Lately I have been really uninspired in the kitchen and don’t feel like cooking – a sign that I’m stressed out.  Since part of my love of cooking comes from feeding other people, it also means that I’m not spending enough time with loved ones.

As I’ve mentioned before, I first fell in love with baking in high school, making cookies for my friends’ birthdays.  Snickerdoodles (from the Mrs. Field’s cookbook a friend gave to me) were one of my most requested cookies. Since they aren’t that common of a cookie, I was surprised when I came across two recipes for them in the same week.

It made me smile thinking of how excited and happy those buttery sugar and cinnamon cookies made people, and brought up fond memories of eating still-warm cookies with my sister and watching a movie.

It seems like the universe is telling me to make some cookies… or take time for the simple pleasures and reconnect with some of my first loves.

Saffron-Vanilla Snickerdoodles from Blue Bottled, posted by 101 Cookbooks

Gluten-free and vegan Snifferdoodles from Dreena Burton

Air is something that nourishes us – without it, we don’t exist.  The origin of the word “inspire” is from the Latin inspīrāre: to breathe upon or into.

I loved this post from the Strala Yoga blog about simple ways to remember to breathe.  When I actively pay attention to my breathing, my stress levels go down and I feel more in the flow.  I read once the moment we hold our breath is the moment we most need it.  So true…


This post on ways to take care of yourself when you’re busy reminded me to try to preserve those things that nourish and ground me even when things get hectic.  However, at 55 suggestions, the list is a little overwhelming.

What I realized is that it boils down to focus – and what you choose to focus on.  When I have swarm brain, I tend to be non-committal with my tasks, starting and dropping them without finishing them.  I skim instead of read.  I surface clean instead of deep clean.  I stop to check my personal email in the middle of a work task.  I stop mid-sentence as I’m writing in my journal to write a work email.  I multitask like nobody’s business.

A lot of these tips reminded me to do things with intention.  Focus when I’m working without distraction.  Take breaks – but really turn off, and take them regularly.  Focus on what makes me happy – making my space beautiful, cultivating gratitude, eating good food.


In addition to focusing on the small things, the universe sent some extra reminders to focus on the big things – dreams and goals.   I came across the blog Six Months to Live online and met and became friends with its author offline .  I saw this TED talk (watch it – it’s only 6 minutes).

A podcast reminded me to watch Steve Job’s commencement speech at Stanford, and I came across that speech remixed in this tribute to him using only Mac sounds (another good one to watch at only 4 and a half minutes).

It’s all happening at a time in my life where I’m thinking about direction and where I want to go.  I think the universe is trying to light a fire under my ____, saying it’s time to dream and think outside the box, and start checking things off the list.

Cliff notes from the universe on how to smoke out the bees:

  • Reconnect to some of your first passions, even if it’s as simple as a warm cookie
  • Focus to feel less overwhelmed; focus when working and focus when dreaming
  • Make time to dream and start working toward some long-term goals
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6 thoughts on “{Inspire} Smoking out the bees

  1. Great post, Martine! I really liked your metaphor of smoking out the bees. I definitely know that feeling, and I think it’s great that you’re paying attention and listening, which is so important. Also, great photo and quote!

    My favorite part of this post was this quote: “Air is something that nourishes us – without it, we don’t exist. The origin of the word “inspire” is from the Latin inspīrāre: to breathe upon or into.” You know I geek out on the roots of words, so I found that especially intriguing. I will definitely reflect on that.

    Awesome post, and I look forward to reading more of the ways you will continue to Nourish, Preserve, and Flourish! And, I’m so glad I got the opportunity to meet you and become friends. 🙂

  2. Pingback: {I Made These For Me} Vegan Gluten-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies « Nourish, Preserve, and Flourish

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