From Foe to Friend…Or at Least an Admirer

I’ve been traveling a lot in the past two months, with back-to-back-to-back weekend trips, then two weeks in Arizona, then a week in England.

I loved it all, but I am so glad to be home and laying low for a few weeks. Now that I’m home, I feel fueled up to share lots of stories with you. And the first one I’ll begin with, of all the things, it’s a tale about a bug.

It all began in Sedona, where I stayed at a retreat center for a week and a half. This place, Angel Valley, was amazing. Beautiful landscape, lots of incredible people who care for the land, wholesome meals, and I was there among incredible people for an impactful business retreat with my coach and fellow women and men of purpose-fueled ambitions.

In my free time, I spent all my time outdoors, connecting with nature. Among my many connections with wildlife, I came across several darkling beetles.

What are darkling beetles, you might ask? Their more common name is the stink beetle, and the name I grew up calling them was the stink bug. (There’s a very different type of invasive flying stink bug that East Coasters are more familiar with.)

Anyway, as I strolled along the multiple red sand trails of the retreat center property, I saw my first look at the stink beetle in the middle of the trail. Growing up in New Mexico, I saw them many times on family camping trips in the Rockies, but hadn’t seen one in my adult years.

As a kid, I hated them. They were big, black, and similar in size and shape to a cockroach. They made me squeamish and jump any time I saw one.

Not So Scary After All

But this time around as an adult, I savored the moment of seeing the little creature. It didn’t look scary or gross. It looked cute. And in a way, beautiful. Its back body had this smooth, shiny sheen with thin parallel grooves. It’s mouth was a fascinating mechanism as I watched it munch on grass. As I stood in admiration, I moved in a way that startled this little follow enjoying his lunch. So he halted his activity, then started speeding around in a flurry, clumsily tripping on a tuft of grass and falling over on its side, and bumbling toward the edge of the path.

Then, he stuck his head in the sand and did a full-on headstand.

This is typical behavior for this beetle, yet something I don’t remember from past encounters.

It was so funny! So cute!

He was truly doing the “if I can’t see you, you can’t see me” thing. That, plus this posture is a typical defense, as it releases a noxious chemical, giving it its stink beetle nickname. But I didn’t notice a smell.

Point of this story?

What are you afraid, that if you really stopped and observed, is far from scary, and instead is likely harmless, cute, and perhaps even goofy like a head-standing beetle?

Where in your life do you easily freak and stick your head in the sand? And if anyone is observing, all they can see is your backside in the air?

What patterns and parts of life are you treating like a foe, when it could be a friend?

When it comes to connections with wildlife, I’d be honored to be friends with a darkling beetle. Though until it gets its head out of the sand, I suppose at best I’m nothing more than its admirer.

And as I reflect on where I’ve been sticking my own head in the sand in the past, and think about where I’m still doing this to a point, I think about what admirers are waiting for me to get my head out of the sand so we can better connect.

Admirers who don’t know they’re admirers yet.

Perhaps Obama? Oprah? Ariana Huffington? Duchess Meghan? (Congrats to the new title!)

It’s time for all of us to go bigger, keeping our heads up high and voicing the unique stories and perspectives we all have to share. This is all part of the journey.

Fear of visibility (as well as big black beetles) is an old pattern that serves no one.

Is your head above ground?


  1. Barbara August 9, 2018 Reply

    I love this story!!

    • Author
      Megan August 17, 2018 Reply

      Thanks, Barbara! Ha yes, I think everyone should look at bugs with new eyes. They are so cool!

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