I feel a special kind of satisfaction when someone blares their horn at me for no reason–usually at a stop light–and then has to follow me for a few miles. It’s even better when they blare their horn again before turning. I mean, it’s a little mean-spirited but I can’t help smiling at the knowledge that someone is fuming–however temporarily–over something so small, while I continue on my merry way. I leave feeling like I’ve just given someone a little lesson in not sweating the small stuff.
I found myself in front of an angry driver on my way home from the grocery store this evening, and I started thinking about it in a new way because, last night before bed, I started reading The Tao of Pooh. My Kindle needed charging, and so I picked up the book that was laying on my nightstand, waiting for me to finish Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (which is taking me awhile because of the less than page-turning plot).
I instantly connected with the Taoist philosophy (as explained through Winnie the Pooh) in a way I didn’t expect. I don’t consider myself a religious–or even particularly spiritual–person. If I had to pick something I’d probably become a Wiccan (because I’d get to dress like Stevie Nicks and celebrate the solstice and whatnot). This sounds like a pretty good philosophy, right: “Harmony and balance encourage to neither be too good nor too bad, but to find the balance in our lives.” Sounds to me like if we could all take a lesson from the Wiccans, the world would be a much better place. But Pooh has his own wisdom to share.
“We don’t need to shift our responsibilities onto the shoulders of some deified Spiritual Superman, or sit around and wait for Fate to come knocking at the door. We simply need to believe in the power that’s within us, and use it. When we do that, and stop imitating others and competing against them, things begin to work for us.”
If those aren’t words to live by, I don’t know what is. And because I would describe myself as “annoyingly independent” it really rings true to me. Of course, those are the author’s words, not Pooh’s…and more importantly don’t have a whole lot to do with road rage.
“A way of life that keeps saying ‘Around the next corner, above the next step,’ works against the natural order of things and makes it so difficult to be happy and good.”
It can be hard not to get riled up about people blaring their horns, or not having the best clothes, or thinking there is a better job–or life–just around the corner. But I’m a “life is what you make it” kind of person. In my ideal world I’d have a few (or a lot of) acres of land, perennial gardens that would put Martha Stewart to shame, chickens, fruit trees, a giant organic garden, and some stray barnyard critters roaming around (maybe a donkey and some goats). But I’m not going to let my tiny suburban (bordering on urban) lot keep me from doing what I can with what I got.
Of course, making the best of your situation doesn’t mean you have to give up on getting what you want. The Buddhists might tell you that desire leads to suffering, but I desire the hell out of a country home and it’s a goal that I don’t think is completely out of grasp. So why not work toward it while continuing to enjoy the life I have now?
I think that’s what Pooh would do.