“Oh bother.” The delightful phrase often called upon by Winnie-the-Pooh in a surrendering sigh that always put’s a smile on my face. A retracted curse like a politer version of Homer Simpson’s “D’oh!” I love it for how plain and simple it is with no escalating connotations to intensify the moment, as swear words can often do. It doesn’t exaggerate, dramatise or aggrandise the situation, it just lets it be.
This post is not meant to be serious. It’s about Winnie-the-Pooh for God’s sake! In the best outcome though, it can act as a window into the unexpected things, such as an anthropomorphic bear from an old children’s book who likes honey, which can be a good influence on us, if only we let them be.
Mindfulness is a concept that I would barely have recognised 5 years ago. Today it is a go-to approach for many when trying to rekindle or begin discovering the vitality of one’s life. Hygge being another example. But how about using a character. A fictional one at that but a relatable one none the less. Winnie-the-Pooh is an elegant example of living a content life, at least in my eyes.
Many kid’s shows, The Simpsons included, often contain messages within them giving life pro tips on the important things we should always treasure like family, friendship, and all that jazz. What draws me to Winnie-the-Pooh, apart from those fundamentals, is the endearing nature and innocence that maintains his child-like cheerfulness which so many of us these days crave to never let go.
As well as having the most unthreatening voice imaginable, one of his strengths is being content in simplicity.
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
Where we crave his breezy contentment, he craves honey (or ‘Hunney’ as he calls it) and gains his contentment from that. I crave Nutella which I suppose is similar…perhaps less obsessively though. But everyone should have small comforts like this and feel like they deserve it too. Pooh knows what he wants and enlists the help of Christopher Robin and a trusty balloon to find it in ways only he’d think up and believe in.
“Now Pooh was not the sort to give up easily. When he put his mind to honey he stuck to it.”
Another trait I love is that he makes up songs all the time. He sings, hums and skips his way through life. His stoutness exercise, when he’s a rain cloud and the blustery day song are all examples and I bloody love em’. What a guy. He knows that singing can make you happy. It can also be a sign that you probably already are, so why shouldn’t we do the same!
Pooh has his ‘Thotful spot’ too. I think we all need a thoughtful spot, don’t you? A place that’s our own just to think and give ourselves space. When he gets there he often just sits down and goes “Think, think, think.” I see that as just a blunt way of saying that it doesn’t really matter what you think about, it’s giving yourself the time that matters and taking the time for others. A thoughtful gift, a thoughtful concern, people appreciate the thought.
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
Or just thinking about nothing for a bit of meditation can work. Basically, Winnie-the-Pooh was a master at meditating. A true hipster ahead of his time.
I’m stretching it a bit thin here but one could draw lines between the cast of Winnie-the-Pooh and the emotions of Inside Out. Tigger as Joy, Eeyore as sadness, Rabbit and Piglet as anger and fear. There’s definitely some similarities – even Bing Bong looks a bit like a Heffalump! But the reason I say this is that Pooh is sort of like a mish-mash of all of them put together and represents a nice balance for appreciating each of their qualities.
“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”
Life is not simple and there are so many things to worry about. But if we look back at any of the charming quotes that A. A. Milne, author of Winnie-the-Pooh, gave us, then we might be able to lead a more pleasant life.
I’ll finish with a sweet exchange between Pooh and Piglet:
“What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today.” squeaked Piglet. “My favourite day.” Said Pooh.
The Man Without A Plan