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The Buzzing Mind: How an Unexpected Visitor Helped Me Tune Inward

It was a beautiful day for driving. The sun shining through the Autumn leaves and I was singing along to some favourite tunes. I was on my way to deliver a workshop and I was going well for time, in fact ahead of time as the traffic was light. Everything was great!

Then I looked in my rear vision mirror and I saw it.

A wasp, on the rear window of the car. No it wasn’t hanging on to the windscreen wiper conveniently on the outside, it was inside.

What happened in my mind was fascinating. I kept darting back to the mirror to check in on it. Do objects in the rear mirror appear larger? I think they must as this wasp seemed to become larger every time I looked. That was concerning enough but not nearly as concerning as when I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t see it at all! That was when my inner story teller got creative... oh it was dramatic! “I am here driving along the motorway, innocently off to deliver a teacher wellbeing workshop, when bam! The wasp has come from behind me and stung me on the neck. I try to swat it away and start swerving across the road...” Oh wait a minute, what if you are allergic to wasp stings and didn’t know it? Awesome plot twist, let’s go (note the change of pronoun... it adds to the drama!). “Suddenly you start gasping for air, too late you realise that you are allergic to wasp stings, and you are hurtling along the motorway at 100km per hour. You are struggling to breathe and now your vision is fading and you can’t control the car. You become confused, you attempt to press the break but it is the accelerator and then you crash... into the concrete median strip, head pressed on the steering wheel, the sound of the horn blaring as one wheel continues to spin. Dead. Killed by a wasp.” What a story!

(Suffice to say none of that came true, I am here a week later writing this down. Completely unstung by the killer wasp, still not sure if I am allergic to wasp stings.)

It really is fascinating what our brains get up to when we aren’t paying attention isn’t it?

Thankfully I was paying attention, and not only to the wasp. At the same time as my inner story teller was inducing panic in a vain attempt to save my life from the potential threat of the killer wasp I was also observing all that was going on inside me with intense curiosity. I noticed my fear response and my heightened senses, I listened as the story unfolded and noticed how that was set to amplify things. I realised that the rising panic was bringing me back to the rear vision mirror over and over again and that was more of a risk to my safety on the road than the wasp itself. I considered stopping the car (if I could get off the motorway) and cleaning out the boot in search of the offending wasp, but then I would be late for my meeting and chances were that I’d probably not find it or in my fossicking around might accidentally disturb it and then get stung. My observing self stepped in and offered some alternative stories and solutions. I first rationalised that the wasp may have flown out one of the windows I’d opened or if not was hunkering down in the boot somewhere. I added that the probability of being stung while driving (and then having a fatal crash as a consequence) was highly unlikely (see kids, maths is important!). I refocused my energy and attention on what my purpose was and that, given the unlikelihood of an impending attack of the killer wasp, getting to the school on time and with a calm energy was the best option. I focused on my breathing, turned up my music and started singing again (as an added bonus this would probably scare away any would-be killer wasps if that was still a problem). And then I gave myself permission to giggle a little at the absurdity of the situation.

Postscript: The workshop went fabulously, such a great group of people to work with. The drive home was incident free. I haven’t seen the wasp again, I wonder what story it might have been telling itself?

Photo Credits: Landscape: Megan Gallagher, Wasp/Hornet Ralphs_Fotos via Pixabay

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Simone Little
Simone Little
Jul 23, 2023

Well written Meg, I was totally there in the car with the wasp!

Good reminder not to catastrophize a situation.

Replying to

Thanks Simone :) I hope you are well x


Karen Tui Boyes
Karen Tui Boyes
May 12, 2023

I'm super scared of wasps as there was one in my honey sandwich when I was 5 - and I ate it! I was stung multiple times on my lips, tongue and throat! Totally get the story telling! Thanks for the reminder to refocus on what I can control!

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