Over the past few days, I have spent a considerable amount of time catching up with an old friend. He was my best friend when I was a child, and then as I grew older, we grew apart.
I reunited with him briefly in my mid-20s and in light of the life-changing year I had in 2014, I decided to look him up again.
I am talking about Winnie The Pooh. Yes. I consider him as my friend!
As a young boy, I was all about the lovable, portly little bear with a red shirt that was too small for him. I mean I had the bed sheets, the comforter and a stuffed animal.
As a family of seven, we would watch a Pooh television special on a Sunday night with bowls of pop corn (my mom made the best.) I’d cry whenever Pooh got his head stuck in a honey jar or something “catastrophic” like that.
But no matter what crisis he and his friends faced, Pooh, the simple-minded bear “of very little brain,” was usually the problem solver. He always seemed to be the humble hero.
Not Owl, the Wise One for the sake of being wise. Not Rabbit, the Wise One for being clever. Not Eeyore, the Wise One for being pessimistic about possible solutions. Not Tigger, who thought he was good at doing everything. Not Piglet, who had too much humility and not enough pride in his small stature.
It wasn’t until my post college years, when a friend suggested that I read Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh, that I understood that the characters in the Winnie The Pooh books and TV specials are just like the people in our lives.
The book does a wonderful job of explaining some of the principles of Taoism by using examples from the Pooh books. It also does a masterful job of explaining the personalities of Pooh and his friends through the principles of Taoism.
I had read it a few times as a young adult trying “to find my way.” Although I enjoyed the book very much and found it quite interesting, it never really struck a chord with me. However, I had the presence of mind to keep it on my bookshelf.
While Cathy had a girls’ weekend visiting friends, I decided to revisit an “old friend” as well. I read The Tao of Pooh cover to cover this weekend. I love this book! I understand it better. It resonates stronger with me.
Although Pooh is a fictional character, he is a wise sage. He is a leader and a role model.
For instance, Pooh, Piglet, and Rabbit were lost in the woods and trying to find home.
“But, Pooh,” cried Piglet, all excited, “do you know the way?”
“No,” said Pooh. “But there are 12 pots of honey in my cupboard, and they’ve been calling to me for hours. I couldn’t hear them properly before, because Rabbit would talk,(and then left to go do something clever) but if nobody says anything except those 12 pots, I think, Piglet, I shall know where they’re calling from. Come on.”
Pooh’s simple-minded approach led them safely out of the woods and to the comfort of being home like 12 pots of honey.
Don’t we all lose our way at some point in our lives?
Haven’t we all listened to the Owls, Rabbits, and especially the Eeyores in our lives? And like Piglet, haven’t we lacked confidence in ourselves to find our own way home.
Pooh is always awake and always aware.
So grab your bowl of popcorn, get comfortable, and enjoy this “special” we call life.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.