A few years ago, I did a vision quest in the desert of New Mexico. The experience continues to reverberate; having sunk its beautiful fangs into me in such a way that I have been unable to deny the power of such an arduous and difficult experience. And while the acuteness of the difficulties I encountered there have subsided, the teachings have not. If anything, they have gotten stronger through the process of integrating them into my life. So that now, they no longer stick out as something I went through, something that happened to me, something that I survived. And are instead, a part of who I am and how I move though the world now.

The things that challenge. The things that bite. The things that hurt. The things that sting. Not necessarily any of the things any one of us wants. As a matter of fact, the unwanted and the unpleasant are all things we strive, often at whatever cost, to avoid.

Yet, they remain a part of Life nonetheless.

I once read that it is easy to appreciate the pleasing stuff, but that it is the biting stuff that forces us to think differently. That the things that sting are the very things that are the most profound in the lessons they impart.

I know this so well around wasps. I hate them. I fear them. I fight with them even when they are not actually around. I am outraged that they wind up in my home. I am indignant whenever they show up in unexpected places. Meaning places I believe they have no right to be; as in, on my porch when I am trying to read or relax.

In the midst of one of my all-time, all-out wars with them, I read that in some African cultures, wasps are a symbol of evolution and control over life’s circumstances. My first reaction was “What? Are you out of your mind?” And then… “Yes, of course.”

What a perfect reminder to me that there are things in Life that I can control. And things that I cannot. Thank God for that. Thank God that I cannot control the wasps. Thank God I cannot obliterate all the things that make me uncomfortable. Thank God I do not get to decide such things as what gets to be here and what does not. This one understanding alone is truly revolutionary.

And evolutionary.

Which takes us to one of the most necessary evolutions of humankind needing to happen. That being, to understand that we are not in charge of it all. To understand that everything that is here, belongs. Whether we like it or not. Whether we understand it or not. Whether we get our way or not.

The evolution at hand being to ultimately understand that we do not always get a say on what stays, and what goes.

To work with this is to stop fighting. It is to learn to know the difference between what is in our power and what is not. It is in a word, to say, “Yes.” And to recognize that to evolve requires integrating all of the experiences of Life into a narrative uplifting and meaningful enough to change you and how you move through the world.

To that end, can you find Truth and Power and Beauty in whatever is stinging you right now?