Many of my close friends know I love Winnie the Pooh. It was my nickname in college and I had tons of Pooh themed paraphernalia. There were so many Pooh bears in my room in college someone who didn’t know any better would think it was occupied by a small child not a young adult. What most of my friends don’t know is that my adoration of the character didn’t come from the beloved child stories by A.A. Milne but from a book my sister recommended to me: “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff.
To quote the introduction: The Tao of Pooh is “a book that explained the principles of Taoism through Winnie-the-Pooh , and explained Winnie-the-Pooh through the principles of Taoism.” I am not a Taoist by any means but there are principles pointed out in the book that are helpful in everyday life. There is a mix of classic tales from the Taoist philosophy and excerpts from A.A. Milne’s stories. Hoff shows how the stories tell us things like why we should except who we are and that some things really are out of our control and not to let those things get to you. that explanation doesn’t do the book justice, it just scratches the surface really. I always feel a special level of relaxation after I finish this book like I’ve just been to a spa or something.
Whenever I fly, which is rare. I read this book immediately after getting to the airport. It isn’t long, only 158 pages, and I’ve read it so much I usually finish it shortly after take off. After going through the stress of check in and the security line, I’ll find my gate, take a seat, listen to relaxing music on my iPod, and crack open this book. I don’t have a fear of flying exactly. It’s more like a really high anxiety about it. I’m used to driving myself everywhere so it’s a little stressful to put my life in a stranger’s hands at 30,000 feet. My little paperback spa treatment puts me at ease and reminds me “things are as they are” and I just roll with the trip until we land and things are once again back in my control.
In writing this post, I realize I need to crack open my favorite relaxation device again. In the past couple weeks I’ve raced to Connecticut to interview before a blizzard hit and got snowed in while I pondered my future. The good news is I got a job offer I accepted at the end of the week before I even made it home (More on that next week). Now I’m immersed in the stress of going through my belongings, packing, finding an apartment, and all the other stress of relocating. The weather is not helping. Winter storms just keep rolling through making apartment visits virtually impossible. My book will be relocated to my bedside table so I can keep my stress level at a minimum through everything.
If you are finding yourself stressed out from the day to day or are in a situation, like me, where everyday now brings some new headache for you to deal with, I highly recommend trying this book. It’s an easy read that has a great mix of humor and perspective on life, overall a good way to spend an evening. If you really like it there’s a follow up book “The Te of Piglet.” It’s a really good book too but, like many sequels, doesn’t quite have the same essence as the first one.