When Aimee Lissantheia was a little girl nothing thrilled her more than dancing barefoot in the wildflowers.
But that was a stinging situation for a young dancer in the unspoiled rural area of Long Island, New York.
“Of course the flowers, especially the clover, always had bees visiting them," she said with a gentle smile. "My feet got stung a lot, and maybe that was a good thing for a dancer.”
Lissantheia’s passion for dance led to years of training, teaching, performing and choreographing stage performances in a variety of dance modalities in New York.
She attended Mount Holyoke College and earned a BA in a self-designed major encompassing the history of art, dance, theater and costume. She spent the next fifteen years in Asia working at an interior design firm.
Lissantheia married and had one son. When he was only four years old, her life took an unexpected turn.
“There’s some mystery around what happened,” she said, trying to explain. “I was in a coma for three days. I definitely experienced a rebirth, and that everything changed. “
“I can’t explain it,” she continued, “but during my healing process, honeybees kept showing up for me in very unusual ways. As a simple example, I was having a lot of challenges with anxiety, post-traumatic stress issues, and it was like my body was going through a complete recalibration. Humming like the bees became very important in calming my nervous system.”
After she recovered, Lissantheia visited Crete. While she was there, she became deeply inspired by the life cycle of bees and realized it would make a wonderful story for children.
A few years later, she traveled back to Crete and visited an ancient palace. Lissantheia asked herself what should she be focusing on and a bee flew into her hair.
“I knew then that I should put my attention on the bees. I was familiar with the plight of the honeybees (the honeybee population has been in decline for the past several years) and I wanted to know what I could learn from them, and how could I teach others to appreciate them instead of fearing them so that together we could save them and in turn save ourselves?”
Lissantheia began researching and writing in 2013 and in 2016 she published "The Amazing Adventures of Melissa Bee."
The book has won several awards, including the 2016 Educational Category of the Best Books Award, 2016 Moonbeam Spirit Award-Preservation, 2016 Gold Medal Award The Wishing Shelf Book Awards, and was an Award-Winning Finalist in the Children’s Fiction Category of the 2016 Best Books Awards. It’s available in print and audible.
Through Melissa Bee’s fun adventures, young readers learn how bees cooperate, co-create and communicate. They discover how the bees take care of the queen and the babies, and how they find nectar and pollen, make honey and protect themselves.
“A lot of people are afraid of honeybees,” Lissantheia said. “They’re afraid of the sting. One factor of writing the book was how to bring the appreciation of the bees so that people could move away from fear and into love. I think on a global scale, the more we move away from fear and move into love that will benefit us greatly.”
“Seeing the sting as medicine, as well, helps,” she continued. “I’m connected to people who utilize bee venom very successfully. People use it for rheumatoid arthritis and are even having some success employing it for Lyme’s disease.”
According to WebMD, bee venom is also used to treat nerve pain, multiple sclerosis, desensitization to allergic reactions from bee stings, tendonitis, and muscle conditions such as fibromyositis and enthesitis.
Lissantheia lives in Rancho Palos Verdes and she strongly about giving back to the local community.
“In addition to offering readings of my book at local schools,” she said, “I’ve spoken at the PV Land Conservancy, and I’m invited back to speak again in honor of World Honey Bee Day. I host community gathering events that are earth honoring. I also find myself fielding inquiries from local people about bee hive rescue, and directing them to my contacts who honor the bees and find them safe homes.”
“My healing journey has been in connecting with the earth, nature, my unique self and omnipresent love. This has become my sacred mission—to facilitate others in doing the same for the benefit of us all.”