Last Night I Stroked a Wasp

(Based on actual events)

Enduring power is found in giving it away. Your power expands as you empower others
 – Dr Dacher Keltner

Like literally. Last night, I stroked a wasp. And here’s what happened…

Last night an angry, pissed off wasp flew into my bedroom and couldn’t work out how to leave. It was going mental headbutting the windows, fighting my curtains, buzzing and swooping down around me. Naturally, I completely shat myself as anybody would, but I’m not akin to killing insects no matter how scary they look or how evil they come across. So, I immediately began working out how to get rid of the darn thing.

I switched the lights off and opened the windows, not sure if it would work. I waited and before long I heard some buzzing then silence. Bingo. Lights back on, checked the windows and around my bedroom – no waspy. Result. I get back to my writing. Everything is grand until… out of nowhere, and I sh*t thee not, the wasp lands on my wrist.

I freeze. I don’t move. I’m sweating. I’m clenching my butt cheeks. I’m panicking. I’m breathing like I’m attached to two ventilators. I’m pretty much hyper ventilating, but… I DO NOT move. I am NOT getting stung – no fricking way.  The wasp will just fly away, right? Wrong. It begins crawling up forearm, has a good dance around my elbow and works its way up my left tricep.

I slowly turn my head and look over the back of my left shoulder. It freezes. Its antennae stop moving as we make eye contact. It’s poised. Man vs Wasp. This is it. I’m getting it but… nothing. We just stare at each other. After about ten seconds it takes a sharp left, strolls over to my bicep, back down my forearm, onto my wrist then to my keyboard. How odd.

What’s interesting was that I found myself no longer panicked. I wasn’t sweating or tense. I wasn’t scared. It was as if the wasp knew I wasn’t a threat. Is it because I promised myself that no matter what happened I wasn’t going to kill it? I don’t know, but I stuck my hand out and picked it up again. It’s as if we were equal. I wasn’t a threat and neither was he (I’ll tell you at the end how it’s a he).

As I played with the wasp and fed it an A la Carte crushed grape on Lidl toilet tissue paper, it made me think about a concept called ‘The Paradox of Power’.

The Paradox of Power is what FBI negotiators have in the back of their minds when dealing with hostage situations. It is the idea that; the more force you use, in any given situation, the more resistance you will receive. If you go into any situation with force (aggression for example) then there is a high probability you will be met with resistance (counter-aggression).

Let’s take the

timely example of the #BLM Movement. Police meeting the Black American community with continued force and aggression. What do the Police expect to receive in return? Resistance. Resistance to their aggressive practices and a drive to end police brutality. What if the Police practised and understood the Paradox of Power? I just wonder if there would be a very different outcome…

Next time you are in a situation, let’s say an argument with a loved one, where it gets heated rapidly, allow yourself to be free flowing. Allow their aggression or micro aggression to free flow past you and use the ‘Parodox’ to allow yourself to stay open and connected, without force and aggression.

This is what I practised with the Wasp. I allowed the wasp to do what it wanted without resistance or aggression. I wasn’t a threat.

So, as he scoffed down the grape A La Carte, I gently, with my pinky fingertip, stroked the tiny hairs on his back. He finished, showed me his abdomen, did a little shake and buzzed off.

And that is how I stroked a wasp.

P.S – How did I know the wasp was a ‘he’? Because only female wasps have the stinger. He was never even a threat to begin with.

This post was initially written for our pal Eric over at www.thethoughtfulbeggar.com We recommend visiting The Thoughtful Beggars blog – it’s a place with thought provoking theories.

T.B.C…


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