May 1, 2019 The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, narrated by Simon Vance
Review: I loved this, and the narration complimented Pooh’s soothing, unruffled style. I listened to it twice. It relates The Way (of Taoism) to Pooh and common psychological alternatives to the other characters in A.A. Milne’s books. The suggestion that each character in the book series represents a different mental illness abounds on the internet. For example, Piglet exhibits anxiety, Eeyore depression, Rabbit OCD, Roo hyperactivity. On one webpage, I saw Winnie the Pooh representing ADHD. In The Tao of Pooh, Pooh represents the Tao, a near-perfect state of being present in the world. Without trying to impress others, to force change on circumstances, or to be someone else, positive outcomes seem to flow to Pooh effortlessly. He stays in the present moment and stays true to himself: “a bear of very little brain” with a fondness for honey. He’s enough and he’s also beloved.
In The Tao of Pooh, Hoff points out that rather than characterizing individuals, the “mental illnesses” illustrate components of personality in each of us. Every person has the potential to exhibit these behaviors. I can be a know-it-all, get fussy about my environment, give free reign to shame, fear, hyperactivity, and pride.
My theory is that, since Christopher Robin is the only real boy in the series, he represents the timeless entity within us, an individual’s “true self.” Christopher Robin acknowledged, accepted, and loved all the friends in the Hundred Acre Woods. He didn’t try to change them, but he didn’t let them or their idiosyncrasies overtake his own thinking. He met them with love, compassion, and boundaries. The one dearest to Christopher Robin’s heart, the one he holds closest, is Pooh Bear. According to Hoff, this is The Way of Taoism.
I’ve considered that online claim that Pooh suffers from ADHD and Hoff’s claim the Pooh is a perfect Western culture example of the Taoist “Way.” Both can be characterized as present-moment, self-directed attention. Maybe the ADHDers are onto something good.
May 3, 2019 The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
Review: I love the content! My biggest surprise was that Kondo mentioned she felt connected to things more than people as a child. I didn’t, but I’ve placed people as such a priority, I often feel guilty for tending to things. Poems about letting the dishes sit in the sink and letting the laundry pile up hung on my walls over the years as moral direction for motherhood. I realized things also mean a lot to me, and without judgement about that, it’s perfectly fine. Every time I see a certain piece of art I love, I notice and am benefitted. Every time I work in an uncluttered space, I appreciate it. I like being able to easily access things I need. I enjoy the tidy look of organized materials. I like order and it’s okay that I take the necessary time from the people in my life to create that condition.
A new idea for me was that Kondo suggests getting it over with in one specific time period, rather than a never-ending process. You can do that!? She recommends it. You’ll always have to go through mail, and in the US, through the endless stream of toys and trinkets kids bring home from school, church, recreation, and even dining, but the major stuff overhaul can be completed in six months. I’m still working through my whole house de-cluttering, but the physical spaces I’ve cleared have also cleared my mind.
May 3, 2019 The Three-Day Effect by Florence Williams
Review: I remember this as a free Audible members selection in May. I thought this would be presented as a book read by a narrator, but it’s more like a collection of recorded interviews from the wilderness woven together by the author. It’s coherent and solid, but the background noise of natural recording distracted me at times. Scientific research was presented to support the personal experiences shared by participants.
I already held the conviction that nature is a healing, stabilizing, empowering force from personal experience. The three days concept was new – it takes time to untangle from the tech and thoughts about home. One must become acclimated to nature, to sense it’s grandness without overwhelm. In every case Williams used, the first day was decompression, the second day was better, and the third brought the most benefits of present-moment focus, relaxation, and feeling of well-being.
May 10, 2019 Tao Te Ching: A New English Version Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell
This was a natural follow to The Tao of Pooh. It was good, I’ve listened twice. Some phrases were instant quotables for me; others I may need to ponder for years before I grasp them. It’s a standard text referred to by many of the authors I’ve read in 2018 and 2019.
May 19, 2019 Feeling is the Secret byNeville Goddard
Short and sweet, this how-to manual instructs how to access the subliminal mind (and it’s power) to create by taking care of thoughts and feelings at bedtime. I have put it to practice and had amazing experiences. It doesn’t provide content, but practical methods for engaging your mind in pursuit of your highest good.
Some alternate interpretation of Bible teachings. For example, regarding male and female relations – it’s about components of the brain rather than male and female humans. Re-interpreting these Biblical teachings would change some fundamental ideas about human relations in a few churches.