Ingrid Goff Maidoff - Tending Joy

"What do you court, worship, gather to hold dear? In my mind I'd like to kiss you, but I'd ask these questions first." ~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff ~ One Thousand Evenings More

Seeking nectar

      Life is the flower
for which Love is the honey.

~Victor Hugo

Dear Friends,
I’ve had a wonderful realization:  I’ve discovered a name for what I do.  Perhaps this may apply to you as well.  I think that it would be fair to say that I am a nectar seeker.  As I go about my days, I hope to find the nectar of each moment, of each situation, each person I may meet. And although I often forget that this is my aim, and have to remind myself quite frequently,  I want to inhale great draughts of life’s light and fragrance, as the subject in John William Waterhouse’s painting “The Soul of the Rose.”  I would like to live in the soul of each moment, indeed, in my own soul.   

Like the bee, gathering honey from different flowers, I want to go into the world and find the nectar there.  To seek nectar is not too seek the addition of sugar or saccharine, but the awareness of the spiritual center in us all.  In myself, in the other person, in the moment, the flower, the tree on the trail before me- a spiritual center, a holiness.  In every child~ there is nectar.  In every grown person ~ there is nectar, if not a full blooming goddess or god.  In all the world’s scriptures: somewhere a divine song, nectar.  To savor the sweetness of each hour, each morsel, each breath; to look upon this life with deep gratitude and appreciation, that is the nectar seeker’s way.  And after we have gathered the nectar, like the bees, we make honey, we make light.

 In hopes of gathering joy and wisdom from my own experiences, and from the insights of others,  I have long sought words of wisdom, the way the bee seeks nectar; the anthologist gathers flowers.  I have collected my findings for years in books of quotations, and in my own words.  I have looked to poets, mystics, philosophers, and many of the world religions, not wanting to miss the heart essence of any. And I have found that there are universal truths such as love of the Divine and of each other, unity, forgiveness, generosity, having a good heart- this is the nectar, the soul of most teachings.

      I was delighted on the day I came across this passage, attributed both to Gandhi and to the Srimad Bhagavatam, a spiritual text of Hinduism:   “Like the bee, gathering honey from different flowers, the wise man accepts the essence of different scriptures and sees only the good in all religions.”   

bee in the lotus

     Similar advice is given in the Dzogghen Tantra, which is a Tibetan text, I believe: “As a bee gathers nectar from all kinds of flowers, seek teachings everywhere.”  And, “So long as the bee is outside the petals of the lily, and has not tasted the sweetness of its honey, it hovers round the flower emitting its buzzing sound; but when it is inside the flower, it noiselessly drinks its nectar. So long as a man quarrels and disputes about doctrines and dogmas, he has not tasted the nectar of true faith; when he has tasted it, he becomes quiet and full of peace.”

     Yes.  This is what I hope to do- not quarrelling about doctrines or dogmas, but finding the soul of each rose.  Finding, in fact, an intimacy with Life which illuminates, fills and moves beyond religion.    I would like to taste that nectar, and be full of peace.

    I’ve learned that there are several kinds of nectar seekers.  There is the hummingbird, which is beautiful, but seeks merely to nourish itself.  And then there is the bee that tirelessly gathers the nectar of flowers to then begin the hard work of transforming it into honey for the greater good.  I must say, I’m very fond of the bee, and I’ve used that inspiration throughout my book, The Honey Sutras.

            With the national publication of my books, Friendship, Happiness, and Love- and with the home studio publication of my books of quotations on Courage, Joy, and the Abundance of Grace, this is the best way that I can explain that, even more than  gift books, these are offerings of heart teachings, and of nectar for the soul. 

       The other day I discovered that LeoTolstoy was a nectar seeker.  Best known for such tomes as War and Peace, Tolstoy actually devoted the last years of his life compiling books of inspirational quotations.  He felt that time spent reading the most thoughtful thinkers was time in which one’s spirit and morals were elevated.  This was a pleasure he wanted to share with the world.  And so do I.  So do I!

Join TENDING JOY Email List

Copyright 2011/12 Ingrid Goff Maidoff, all rights reserved.

Ingrid Goff-Maidoff is a universalist poet, mystic, celebrant of beauty and encourager of spirit who lives on the island of Martha's Vineyard. Her work appears in numerous anthologies, and she has lovingly created dozens of books and gifts that help deepen intimacy with the sacred. Her blog, her inspirational offerings, and her popular Joy Postcards Newsletter all are found at