Friday, 9 March 2012

Eeyore and the Tao of Pooh

If I've learned anything in my years of contemplating what it is to be ALIVE, it's that things never, ever stay in one state for long. It's all waves and cycles. Nights, days, seasons, weather, luck, hormones, emotions... I think accepting that is one of the best ways to keep your head above water because generally speaking, if you're low and you can bear in mind that you're not going to feel that way forever, it might just take that little bit of edge off it. And similarly, if you're having a great time and you can also (somewhere just in the back of your mind) accept that it will, at some point, end, you may not be so likely to get upset when it does.

Since writing The Truth, my mood has improved and settled for a week or so... which is nice...

And since finishing American God's, I have now started on The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff. It's very good. Inspiring in fact.

It's got me looking at myself again (of course... if it doesn't make you look at yourself then there's really no point in reading it in the first place...) and it's made me see elements of all the characters from Winnie the Pooh in myself! There's the know-it-all Owl in me who thrives on being right about everything. There's the super-busy Rabbit who doesn't stop to think but just has to be doing 'productive' stuff and working everything out in over-complicated ways. There's the chilled out Pooh who just accepts things as they are and gets on with finding the simplest way to immediate happiness. There's the timid Piglet who is learning to be brave without realising he's doing it. And there's Eeyore... who I want to talk a bit about now.

I'll start with a quote from Winnie The Pooh. Eeyore has been moaning about the snow:
"And I said to myself: The others will be sorry if I'm getting myself all cold. They haven't got Brains, any of them, only grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake, and they don't Think, but if it goes on snowing for another six weeks or so, one of them will begin to say to himself: 'Eeyore can't be so very much too Hot about three o'clock in the morning.' And then it will Get About. And they'll be Sorry."

I read this and had a flash of my blog The Truth in my mind:
"I might at this point, send an encrypted text message to a friend, hoping they will read between the lines and ask me if I'm OK, and then I can say 'no actually I need a hug' and they will say 'Oh poor you! Hope you feel better soon' and then I will feel better. But I will never actually ask for sympathy and I will very rarely get it because of that."

And I can't help noticing similarities between the two.

Poor Eeyore. There he is, standing out in the snow, waiting for someone to feel sorry for him. But, of course, nobody will know he's stood out in the snow unless he goes and tells them, and then of course he won't be out in the snow anymore, he'll be in the warm with them and so they won't need to feel sorry for him any more! But being Eeyore, he doesn't go to find them. He stays stood there in the snow, waiting for the unlikely to happen.

Poor Unhappy Sarah. There she is, sitting in her house, waiting for someone to feel sorry for her. But, of course, nobody will know she's sat there alone and sad unless she contacts them, and them of course she won't be alone and sad anymore, she'll be talking to a friend and so they won't need to feel sorry for her any more! But, being Sarah,  she doesn't call them. She stays at home. alone and sad, waiting for the unlikely to happen.

But I'm not angry at myself for it. Ironically, I was angry at myself for it at the time, but now I'm not. Because I think we all have an Eeyore in us. And we all have a Pooh and a Piglet and a Rabbit and an Owl. It's OK to be an Eeyore sometimes. Benjamin Hoff says:

"There is something in each of us that wants to be Unhappy. It creates in our imaginations problems that don't yet exist- quite often causing them to come true. It exaggerates problems that are already there. It reinforces low self-esteem and lack of respect for others. It destroys pride in workmanship, order and cleanliness. It turns meetings into Confrontations, expectations into Dread, opportunities into Danger, stepping stones into Stumbling Blocks."

So what if the Eeyore in me sometimes wants to stand in that snowy field and feel sorry for myself. The Pooh in me will always come back eventually, and, being Pooh, there's bound to be some honey somewhere nearby.

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