Tag Archives: worry

The Wonder of Pooh

27 Jun
Pooh Bear

Pooh Bear

Sometimes inspiration comes from the unlikeliest of places. In my last post I talked about negative thinking and tools to help combat it. My favourite tool is when I am confronted with an experience that may be causing me stress is this, I think of a role model or a person living or dead in history that I looked up to and I think what would  they do or think if they were confronted with the same situation. I find this an extremely powerful tool. It is allows me to look at the problem with the eyes of someone who’s beliefs and values I might aspire to. Standing outside the thinking or problem and challenging it with a pair of fresh eyes.

So when the chips are down there is always one role model I turn to. Someone who manages to stay happy and calm under all circumstances. He doesn’t expend energy on worrying, he just let’s life Be!. He sees chaos all around him with the friends that he keeps but he manages to somehow to turn sunny side up every time. Who is this person?. Why it’s Pooh bear of One hundred Acre wood.

Author Benjamin Hoff   in his book The Tao of Pooh has taken AA Milne’s Pooh and has shown us how this young bear and his actions are connected very closely to the eastern philosophy of Taoism.

While Eeyore frets… and Piglet hesitates ….and Owl pontificates

….Pooh just is.

The teachings of Taoism are based in a harmony that naturally exists between heaven and earth. To Lao-tse in his book “Tao Te Ching” everything has a natural balance it is only when man interferes with this balance do we begin to encounter struggle. It is important that we travel with the flow of nature rather than trying to fight against it. basic Taoism allows us to appreciate and learn from whatever happens in everyday life. Living a harmonious existence with what is going on around us rather than fighting it is the key to happiness. Taoism allows us and Pooh to work in harmony with what life throws us, allowing us to turn what others see as negative into a positive.

The more we force something we expect or want to happen, the more we are fighting against the flow of nature and less likely it will come about. Pooh is great example of Taoism in flow,not letting worry or stress impact on his existence like Eeyore, Rabbit and those around him.

” Not like Pooh, the most effortless Bear we’ve ever seen.”
“Just How do you do it, Pooh?”
“Do What?” asked Pooh.
“Become so Effortless.”
“I don’t do much of anything,” he said.
“But all those things of yours get done.”
“They just sort of happen,” he said

The idea that Pooh is seen as what Taoism calls P’u which is the Uncarved Block. P’u is the ability to enjoy the simplicity of life and disregard complexity as something that gets in the way of life. Pooh the bear of little brain managed to find joy in the simplicity if life in contrast to Owl who carried an air of intelligence by the use of big words but providing more confusion than sense. Rabbit describes Owl perfectly here

“….you can’t help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn’t spell it right; but spelling isn’t everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn’t count.”

So Pooh our Uncarved block looks at life and finds the excitement in life’s simplicities as outlined here.

…When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last,” what’s the first thing you say to yourself ?”

“What’s for breakfast ?” said Pooh. “What do you say,Piglet ?”

“I say ,I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today ?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

Taoism also refers to the Wu Wei which literally means without doing. Letting nature take it’s course without trying to meddle. We as humans are like corks bobbing on the ocean screaming “I must have control, I need control” when we would be better served as Pooh by allowing life to happen. As Benjamin Hoff points out. It is Eeyore’s birthday and pooh has decided to give him a jar of honey for his present. Piglet decided to get him a balloon. As Piglet runs off to get the balloon. Pooh begins to get hungry and realises that he has a jar of honey.

“Lucky I brought this with me.” he thought. “Many a bear going out on a warm day like this would have never thought of bringing a little something with him.” And he began to eat.

as he licks the last of the honey he begins to wonder where was he going.

Ah, yes, Eeyore.” He got up slowly.

And then suddenly, he remembered. He had eaten Eeyore’s birthday present!

He still had the jar so he simply called into Owl and had him write “Happy Birthday” on it. Owl being the intelligent member of the troupe managed to write

HIPY PAPY BTHUTHDTH THUTHDA

BTHUTHDY.

Pooh looked on admiringly.

“I’m just saying ‘A Happy Birthday’,” said Owl carelessly.

“It’s a nice long one,” said Pooh, very much impressed by it.

“Well, actually, of course, I’m saying ‘A Very Happy Birthday with love from Pooh.’ Naturally it takes a good deal of pencil to say a long thing like that.”

“Oh, I see,” said Pooh.

Meanwhile Piglet had gone to get Eeyore’s balloon. He held it tightly against himself so it wouldn’t blow away and he ran as fast as he could so he could be the first to give  a present to Eeyore.

And running along thinking how pleased Eeyore would be…..suddenly he put his foot in a rabbit hole and fell flat on his face.

BANG!!!???.

Piglet arrived first alright with his little damp rag and handed the balloon to a surprised Eeyore. All apologetic and misty eyed as he describes the colour and size that the balloon would have been if it hadn’t burst. Eeyores favourite size and colour by the way. And just then Pooh arrives with his present.

It’s a Useful Pot,” said Pooh….and it got ‘ A Very happy Birthday with Love from Pooh written on it. …it’s for putting things in.

Between them we see Wu Wei in action in its purest form allowing what happens to just be the way it is and seeing the positives in what could be at first seen as terrible series of calamities.

“I’m very glad,” said Pooh happily, “that I thought of giving you a Useful Pot to put things in.”

“I’m very glad,” said Piglet happily, “that thought of giving you something to put in a Useful Pot.”

But Eeyore wasn’t listening. He was taking the balloon out, and putting it back again, as happy as could be….

A sweet reminder of making do and being grateful with what we have rather than mourning what we don’t.

Go with natures flow, do not spend time worrying about what we cannot change, enjoy the simplicity of life and appreciate what we have. Sometimes it’s difficult to just let life happen. But when we do, we realize that life works better when we give attention to what is happening and working with it, rather than fighting against what we can’t change.

Just think next time life seems out of sorts “What would Pooh do”

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Positive mental health -What would Gandhi do?

19 Jun

Mahatma-GandhiSometimes life doesn’t seem to offer many glimmers of hope.  Our thoughts can really effect our lives.Negative thinking can lead to negative behaviour and thus can contribute to negative feelings or physical feelings that make it difficult to see that life can change for the better any time soon.

The thoughts that we have are not always based in fact. Actually, most of our negative thinking has no base in reality at all. We might think I’m not good enough when we can write a list of all the activities we have accomplished and a large list of reasons that we are good enough.

We might think that we are not loved when we have a large number of friends and family that care for and love us.

Our thoughts might lead us to think that we will never find a partner in life because we think we are not loveable. All this leads to actions that don’t help us. We might become very inward. We might stay in rather than socialize. We might turn to stimulants or alcohol. We might even get angry at people  because of our situation. All actions that will not help with our negative thoughts and feelings.

Next time you are having thoughts like

  • “I’m not good enough.”
  • “Everything always works out for the worse for me.”
  • “No one would want me as a partner.”
  • “I’m too nervous to meet new people so I will give it a miss.”
  • “That job promotion is not for me.”

Think of someone who you look up to in life. It could be a really dear friend that you have in life . It could be your best friend or partner. What would they say to you if they knew you were thinking like this. They would tell you that there is no reason to be thinking like this and they would give you many reasons why.

Think about it like this what if you discovered someone you really cared about was thinking like this. What advice would you give them. You would outline all the great qualities they have and all the reasons that their thinking holds no truth.

Simply apply this advice to yourself. Quickly it begins to change your perception of your situation.

My favourite method for this is I imagine a role model past or present in life and I think how would they act if they were thinking like this. Your role models might be Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Eddie Vedder or an old teacher that you once looked up to. This is really powerful and helps us stop and analyze why we are thinking a certain way and if it is serving us well.

Negative thinking ruins our lives as I talked about in my article about Worry. So make an effort to stop it by

  • Think about someone you care about what advice would they give if they knew you where thinking like this. Take it.
  • Imagine someone you really cared about was struggling with negative thinking. What advice would you give them and simply apply it to yourself.
  • Take a role model past or present and imagine how would they act if they had thoughts similar to yours. What would Gandhi Do? and Follow it?

Lately when those negative thoughts start to emerge I immediately think of one person and think …….” What would Pooh do?”

Lessons for living-Worry wastes your life

22 Aug

Think about this how often have we spent time worrying about some event in the future not turning out how we expected. The answer is probably a lot. We worry when travelling to foreign countries, that an unsuspecting ice cube in our drink or a salad leaf will cause mild dysentery, and we end up in a hospital surrounded by people who can’t speak our language shaking their heads as they analyze your chart. We might even get bitten by some insect we have never seen before and produce a boil the size of Belgium on some inconvenient part of our body. Or end up in the hotel from hell with brown water in the shower and ants living happily under your bed or in your mattress. That is if we make it past the Ryanair desk without emptying the contents of our wallet for forgetting to spell your name correctly on your luggage tags.

These are all incidents that might happen but most likely won’t. Yet we spend an inordinate amount of our time contemplating situations or events that will never happen. All that time sent worrying has done nothing productive bar produce(depending on the worry involved) the stress hormone cortisol into our system which provides us with glucose that helps us when we were hunter gatherers in fight or flight mode  to stay and defend ourselves or run like the clappers if in trouble but unnecessary if you are panicking about the possibility of your holiday being turned into a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary.

Put it this way. I once worked as a plant supervisor for a large food manufacturing company. Our plants were in production from Monday through Friday. Saturday was for cleaning and maintenance. The plant was closed on Sunday and production started up once again at 8am on Monday morning.  Monday morning was sometimes a difficult day. People were just getting back into work mode others were wishing they were still at home and sometimes the  machines might need a few tweaks to get them running as efficiently as they did on Friday. Gremlins seemed to creep in on Sunday.

During that period of my life every Sunday after Breakfast a sense of dread would fill me as I contemplated everything that could go wrong on Monday morning. Consequently every Sunday was a day ruined with worry about what might happen on Monday. Was every Monday a bad day in work with machines breaking down or staff not turning up…No it wasn’t on the contrary we had a lot of very productive fun filled Mondays, but was every single Sunday ruined thinking of what might happen on Monday… the answer is Yes. All those Sundays ruined by contemplating the worst …and the worst never happened.

As humans we do this all the time as Dr Karl Pillimer points out in his study the legacy project ” Yes bad things happen,but you will find the resources in yourself to handle them. Why poison the present moment with continual pointless worry. Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want in life and on a subconscious level that is not good…stop praying for what you don’t want in life.

Some of the elders who participated in the programme had wonderful insights to impart. Remember these are people who had lived large parts of their life and come to the realization that worrying is pointless

Manuel 72: ” You have to be flexible; don’t get locked into one frame of mind over anything, the most important thing is 95% of all things worried about never happen”.

We live in a world filled with advertisements that tell us how we should feel and remedies to sort it out. We are bombarded with the need to secure our homes in the case of fire,burglary,floods. Health insurance works on the premise that someday soon illness is on the way to you don’t be left out on a limb when it happens.Have you insured against losing your job… that’s on the way. Have you got Mortgage protection… Travel insurance for that weekend in Paris… Did you get your pet insured!! because here is the sad news that some day like all living creatures your dog/cat will die. Be prepared!!! It is no wonder we are in a constant state of worry.

Frank 88: ” Don’t give into every ache and pain be thankful for every day that you have on earth and enjoy your family. You can’t change anything by thinking about it. Worrying and concerning yourself is not going to change it one little bit”

Worry does us no good. It is like teaching a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it annoys the pig. Stop worrying…give it up… and just let your life happen.

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