Watching the movie “Christopher Robin”, I was struck by all of the profound wisdom of Winnie the Pooh. In this version, Christopher Robin is now a middle-aged man dealing with the pressures of profits and bottom lines. His view of the world has changed since his childhood interactions with Pooh and all of their friends. Even though he assured Pooh that he would never forget him, he has in fact, forgotten Pooh and left “childish” things behind for the more practical pursuits of earning a living in a world where companies do not seem to care about their employees. Where making money is the only goal to be obtained at whatever the personal cost, including working long hours and spending more and more time away from family.
Christopher’s wife is watching him slip away and reminds him that his life is right there in front of him and it is passing him by. However, he is so engrained in the work culture and providing for his family that he cannot see it.
Meanwhile, Pooh is still in the hundred acre wood – but is troubled – he can’t seem to find his friends, Tigger, Piglet, Rabbit, and Owl. On his journey around the wood, he passes by the tree where Christopher Robin used to be and hears his old friend calling to him – the door is open. Pooh trusts this sign and decides that he needs to seek out Christopher Robin – he will know how to help Pooh find everyone.
He ventures through the open door into the tree from which Christopher Robin always appears in search of his long lost friend. The timing is perfect as Christopher Robin is “lost” as well – lost in the expectations of the “real world” and so very far away from his own morals and values. Pooh, in his unassuming way, eventually leads Christoper Robin back to what really matters. Here are some of his wise Poohisms:
Christoper Robin’s boss emphatically states that “nothing leads to nothing.” However, Pooh counters – “doing nothing often leads to the very best something!” When we search so hard for things thinking we need to always be doing something to get something, we miss what is right in front of us. We miss the path that wants to open up to us if we just pause and let it happen.
Christopher Robin doesn’t understand why Pooh isn’t blindly rushing off to find his friends – Pooh calmly replies “sometimes when I’m going somewhere and I wait, somewhere comes to me.” Whatever is meant for us will come – we don’t need to go find it, it will find us if we only give it a chance. If we are open, receptive and patient.
As Christopher Robin and Pooh search the wood for their friends, Christopher gets frustrated because he is in a hurry and wants a plan. This is not Pooh’s way, rather he explains – “I always get to where I am going by walking away from where I have been.” Again, he is teaching us that we will get to where we need to go by following our inner guidance and being patient – all of the worrying and planning in the world will not move us forward, rather it can impede our forward flow if things don’t show up according to our “plan”. Stopping and relaxing knowing that we always get to where we are going by following the steps as they are shown – one step at a time – is all we need to do.
Pooh explains – “sometimes the thing to do is nothing”. Is it the same as “good things come to those who wait”? Maybe. Sometimes just waiting when we don’t know the next step is the thing to do – so the next step can be shown to us. We don’t need to stress about it. Rather if we can enjoy the quiet time or the time in between, we are in a better frame of mind to take that next step – and also maybe better prepared. Sometimes, we need to learn things before we can move on from a situation – or we need to heal. We don’t always need to be pushing for more – getting caught in that chaotic cycle keeps us out of the flow of life in a never ending search for something in the future that is supposed to make us happy when happiness is right here in front of us – if we just let it in.
Pooh spins our culture’s constant push to improve and achieve – he explains – “people say that nothing is impossible, yet I do nothing all the time.” What a wonderful turn around from constantly striving to relaxing and just being. Giving us permission to sit back and allow ourselves some space to contemplate – to just be with ourselves and see what we are all about -to get to know ourselves and our desires and preferences, rather than endlessly pursuing some status quo definition of success.
Christopher Robin admonishes Pooh for talking to people and causing a scene. “You’re different – people don’t like things that are different” he tells Pooh. Pooh thinks about this trying to understand, dumbfounded he replies – “so I shouldn’t be me”, leaving Christopher speechless. How can he get his friend to understand that the real world doesn’t like or want deviations from the status quo – people are quickly put back in their place for being different and not fitting in.
Yet Pooh continues to be himself – living in the moment unaffected by the rules and restraints of society. He wants Christopher to buy him a red balloon because it “would make him happy”. When they lose the balloon, Pooh wants Christopher to get it back for him. Christopher doesn’t want to be bothered and tells Pooh he doesn’t need it; however, Pooh tells him sincerely – “but it made me happy – did it make you happy?” Christopher dismisses the question finding it irrelevant. What a different world it would be if all it took was a red balloon to make us happy.
By the end of the movie, Christopher Robin is brought back to himself by his childhood friends – back to what really matters. And in finding that place inside of himself, he is then able to come up with a solution to his company’s bottom line that is a win/win for everyone. Yes, this can seem simplistic; however, when we follow what is most important in life – our deeper values, we are able to see solutions that we might have otherwise missed. Changing our thinking changes what comes back to us because it opens new pathways in the brain. It is that simple.