“You don’t spell it…you feel it.” – Pooh”
I’m just going to begin by saying that I think Winnie the Pooh is the greatest. I used to be an avid scrapbooker and you better believe that those carefully constructed pages were littered with pearls of wisdom from the Bear with Little Brain. If I love you, at some point I have used a Winnie the Pooh quote to describe our relationship. I understand that when trying to think of someone who inspires me, Winnie the Pooh is a bit of an odd choice – seeing as he’s a fictional character and not even a human one at that. I think this little bear has the answer to some of my most pressing questions though, so he is the person (bear) I’d most like to have a conversation with.
Unfortunately for me, I don’t know how to contact Pooh’s people. Does a bear of his acclaim even do interviews? I imagine he’s happily retired now and very little is going to draw him away from the endless supply of honey that was no doubt gifted to him by the bees of the forest and every honey manufacturer ever. Luckily for me, most of his life was documented by A.A. Milne, and he was later heavily quoted in one my favorite books The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. So I’m going to ask the questions which most often plague me and hope that Pooh has the answers.
When will I be a grown up, or at least become who I am going to be?
“Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
A fly can’t bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply:
Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie.”
Well, at first glance that doesn’t answer my question, but Benjamin Hoff explains that it does. He says that Pooh is trying to say that everyone is made in a certain way, and the confusion comes when you try to make who you are into something else instead of accepting that Things Are As They Are. It’s not about becoming someone new; instead, it is about recognizing what you already are and because of that discovering where you belong and where you do not.
I spend a lot of my time trying to understand everything and I’m always trying to learn, except the more I learn, the more questions I have. Am I doing something wrong?
“Rabbit’s clever,” said Pooh thoughtfully.
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit’s clever.”
“And he has Brain.”
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit has Brain.”
There was a long silence.
“I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.”
The answers lie in simplicity, in experiencing what is instead of trying to intellectualize everything. A lot can be learned from being simple-minded.
I know that I want to do big things Pooh, but I’m not really sure what I should do, or why? I guess I’m asking, what is the purpose of life?
A short illustration from the life of Pooh:
“Piglet thought that they ought to have a Reason for going to see everybody, like Looking for Small or Organizing an Expotition, if Pooh could think of something.
“We’ll go because it’s Thursday,” he said, “and we’ll go to wish everyone a Very Happy Thursday.””
It is the natural inclination of humans (or at least this human!) to need a reason for everything. I think Pooh illustrates that life is simple, and that enjoyment can be found in anything. The purpose to life, according to Pooh, is to just be, and to find pleasure in what is instead of trying to create what is not.
My family and friends are scattered all around the world now and I’m not sure when I’ll see them again. How do I balance wanting to travel and not wanting to leave people behind?
Pooh has not just one, but three separate thoughts on this matter:
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”
“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”
The people you love become a part of you; they reside in your heart and visit in your dreams. So, physical separation means little when you understand that you never really leave them behind. To love is a privilege and to know the ache of missing someone is even more so; it is a beautiful thing to care deeply about others.
In my own writing, I talk a lot about learning to love everyone. Sometimes I worry that I won’t ever be able to do that properly, Pooh. How do you not discriminate in who you love?
“Just because an animal is large, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo.”
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
I think Pooh’s saying that you have to try. Not everyone in the world is a Piglet, and not everyone’s a Tigger; if you want to be someone who loves everyone well, you have to be willing to see people. Perhaps the greatest kindness you can give to another is to say: “I see you”.
Finally, what do you think is the most important thing you know to be true about life?
“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
Life does not lie in the past or the future, according to Pooh. Life is happening right now.