Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

by Antonio Machado

 

This is a part of the longer poem by Antonio Machado, who is seen by many as one of the greatest Spanish poets. I found it years ago in the book Radical Acceptance and the image softly stuck with me – these busy, golden bees buzzing in my heart, working to transform ‘my old failures’ into goodness. There’s a reassurance there: what may seem and feel like failures might over time become something that is sweet, nourishing and even healing. Our rational, daytime mind might not see it that way, but how marvellous that the more intuitive nighttime mind can tell us, widening our perspective, celebrating what is rather than what we think should be.

The poem reminded me of a recent conversation I had with my husband, who has had a colourful life with many highs but also some very deep lows. He said he’d realised he doesn’t know what bad luck is, as he genuinely felt that all the difficulties had brought goodness in their wake. That might be the power of radical acceptance, right there…

kristine