I believe that as important as it is to nourish the body with fresh vibrant foods, it is equally important to nourish your mind and sense of purpose with nutritious content. This weekend, I feasted on The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet which unbelievably I have never read until now. I know! I do however believe that the Universe timed my reading of these books perfectly and I attracted exactly what I needed at this time.
On Saturday, I was feeling a bit unsettled and discombobulated if I may use a supercalidocious word. In the overall scheme of things, I am very glad that I left corporate America, and became an entrepreneur because as Pooh would tell me, working for myself is my true nature.
But there are stretches of time that go by particularly when the bank account looks like it's going to be wearing red instead of black, where I feel like, I should just go get a job. When it gets really tough and I have those tormented writer cocktail days ala Hemingway, I even start to think that life would be so much easier if I just go find myself a wealthy husband. I could be one of those Housewives of Scottsdale...Yeah, okay, I know, not me...but maybe?...Okay, got it, let's get back to Pooh.
The universe talks to me through books
I went to the bookstore in the first place because for some reason, I thought absorbing myself in some metaphysical readings would help wash away the entangling feelings I had inside. As I scanned the aisles of books, the Te of Piglet caught my eye as what struck me was the line about the power of the small. As you all know, I'm all about the power of tiny actions to help achieve our goals because doing things like just 10 minutes of some exercise or just drinking one less can of soda is better than doing zero. We highly under estimate the power of small actions because our American culture has conditioned us to believe that bigger, faster, and instant is the only way to success.
I'm mesmerized as I'm reading the Te of Piglet, and I start tweeting a couple things that struck me like this about illusion and this about filling stomachs. I'm sitting in a huge comfy chair feeling the inharmonious energy leaving me as its being replaced by the joy and homey feeling of Piglet, Pooh, and company. When I was a kid, I had a Winnie-the-Pooh lunchbox and yeah used to ask mom to put honey sticks in there.
As I'm tweeting, friend @muayman tweets and asks me if I read the Tao of Pooh as he found it life altering. So of course, I gotta go read that book now, and wow! I ended up reading the whole thing cover to cover without putting it down, and then I read it again. Reading that book put me at great ease because it was like getting validation that everything I have been doing these past 5 years of blogging really is coming together and that I need to just remain patient and continue to do what is in my nature.
Who knew I was already so Tao
Ironically, it never even dawned on me that many of the things that I talk about on my blogs are actually Taoist in nature, just westernized like my tagline "live authentically" is basically the Tao version of "live your nature," and in my iPhone app: Back in Skinny Jeans 25 Motivational Weight Loss Nudges, I use the concept of CHI adapted to my healthy living strategy of C for Calories eating & burning them, H for creating healthier habits, and I for feeding your motivation with inspiration.
But the part of the Tao of Pooh that resonated with me the most and in fact has eliminated all my doubts about my ability to have authority in talking about healthy living subjects is the part where they talk about knowledge and wisdom and what the difference is between the two - compassion.
How Pooh squelches my insecurities
See, I have always had this deep insecurity that I am not allowed or am worthy to be giving people guidance about food and eating or how to create a healthier body because I'm not professionally trained in anything health related. I don't have any degrees or certifications, and I haven't even taken a class on anything related to what I blog about. In actuality, I'm one of those who has never done well in a classroom. I think it's hilarious that in high school I couldn't break 500 on my SAT scores in English and here I am making a living through writing. I need real life experience to learn, and everything I talk about on my blogs has come from my real life experiences.
So, the fundamental difference between knowledge and wisdom is compassion. It makes total sense and brought me back to memories of the time I spent in hospitals and therapy. For example, I had this psychiatrist years ago I was seeing for the treatment of an eating disorder, and his form of healing was a workbook. Each week I had a homework assignment to do in the workbook and then we'd talk about it at my next session.
I'm all for assignments, but this book was so clinical and sterile just like this doctor. I was amazed at how cold this guy was but I stuck it out a bit because he had all these degrees from prestigious universities on his wall. The guy was indeed very smart and knowledgeable but I felt like just another mouse lab experiment under his care. There was no emotion, no connection. I left him because I knew we'd get no where.
School is not always in a classroom
A favorite saying of mine is that sometimes the smart thing to do is not always the wise thing to do. As a small example, it's probably a smart thing to tell your child the reality that there is no such thing as Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, but that would just crush their sense of magic and innocence. The wise thing to do is to let them figure out for themselves as they get older that Santa and the Fairy are really just that fairy tales. The compassion part is having the grace to let the child enjoy innocence and to give them the kindness of learning on their own.
For me, reading the Tao of Pooh helped me see that even though I don't have degrees or certificates I do have an enormous amount of wisdom about healing. I know the pain and suffering of the human experience of an eating disorder, depression and going on anti-depressants, food allergies, yo-yo dieting, alcohol abuse, sexual trauma, and having a parent who had cancer and another with diabetes. I know and understand what it feels like to have these experiences, and to live through them and turn those experiences into something to help others...that kind of wisdom is not something you can learn in books or get a piece of paper saying you have a degree in it.
Our culture gives heavier credence to those with great book knowledge who can pass tests and get degrees. But what about the wise? Where do you get validation for having been trained in the School of Life? I've met mechanics and gardeners who are far more wiser than PhDs. Why? Because they understand human nature and how things really work, not how they ideally should work as we are taught in school.
I've had bosses who were MBAs but the worst leaders.Why did they suck? Because, they didn't understand people, they only understood that their way was the right way because they went to smartie pants school and expected us to recognize their authority because of their title. In reality, people respect and follow those who they feel connect with them, and genuinely care. Sometimes just simply being inspiring is far more effective than being loaded with all the facts and figures, and credentials.
I am all for being educated and for gaining knowledge, but I also believe you don't always have to go to a university to get that education. And just because you have walls full of degrees, also doesn't make you wise in the ways of the world and of people. In all my posts where I state health claims, I do the smart thing and always make it a policy to link to credible sources like the Mayo Clinic, one of my favorite sources.
I could go on and on about the Tao of Pooh, but I'll stop for now. I really feel like a clearer path just opened up for me, and learning more about Taoism has really gotten my excited. I spent the whole rest of the weekend reading about Taoism. What I like most is that Taoist fundamentally believe that all is good in nature, and that is how I see the world :)
So, have you read the Tao of Pooh or the Te of Piglet and what did you think of it? How did the book impact you?