Living The Tao of Pooh

“The main problem with this great obsession for saving time is very simple: you can’t save time. You can only spend it. But you can spend it wisely or foolishly.”

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Hi, friends!  A couple weeks ago, I took a quick trip to Philadelphia to help my childhood friend move into her first home.  As I’m waiting at the airport, I thought of another amazing friend and sent him a quick text, ‘Hey, pick me up on your motorcycle!’ I totally expected the text to be the start of another conversation instead of actually accepting the invitation. A few hours later, I’m waiting at the PHL terminal and a shiny blue motorcycle pulls up. I’m handed a helmet, I swing my leg over the seat and we’re off, speeding down I-95 towards the city of Brotherly Love.

After an iced chai and a funny catch-up chat, we headed to his house in my old neighborhood, Fishtown. I sat down and looked over his prints from a recent trip to the UAE, Oman and Turkey. While I could have looked at them for hours, the photo editor in me flipped through them insanely fast only allowing a fraction of the photos to leave an imprint in my mind. I can still imagine them today. I’m excited to see how he uses my favorites, but also the images that I may have passed by too quickly. Photos are magical in that the way in which you use them can completely alter the image and message. Saleem has an uncanny ability to work with his photographs in this manner.

While I was shuffling through the images, I kept thinking of my childhood friend, Steph, the one I was supposed to be helping move in. I was torn in opposite directions, stay and hang out with Saleem who so kindly picked me up from the airport or rush off to Steph’s since she was expecting me. I hated the creeping feeling of guilt so after a quick pitbull play session and a few minutes of chill time in the backyard I said my goodbyes to Saleem.

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Before leaving his place, Saleem gave me several gifts from Turkey (he’s very aware of my shopping abroad habit, poor dude had to tag along for hour-long market trips in Thailand) and a book. He said, ‘Read this, it’s my favorite, and so I did and guess what? It’s now one of my favorites and the reason for this blog post.

The Tao of Pooh is a quick and simple (read: not preachy) introduction to the Eastern belief system of Taoism. Author Benjamin Hoff takes readers on a journey with Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl and Eeyore all the while allegorically explaining the basic principles of Taoism.  The Tao of Pooh presents what most Westerners would consider radical ideas in that Taoism is all about simplifying and slowing down. The main idea in Taoism is the emphasis of living in harmony with Tao, which literally means the way. Don’t push, pull or struggle, simply be. Stop swimming against the current. Float. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Even if you’re living in a fast paced environment, I think The Tao of Pooh could have an incredible impact on your day to day interactions with the way. Just think of how I felt torn about staying and enjoying a few more minutes with Saleem versus running off to Steph’s house.

While reading The Tao of Pooh, I was feeling absolutely inspired and encouraged page after page, because honestly, I’ve been trying to teach myself (and feel good about it) to slow down and embrace the natural flow of events for the past few years now. I have noticed when I talk to other extremely active, highly successful and motivated individuals, I find myself making excuses for enjoying life and not working as much as I should. Recently I’ve been mindful of this. Saying one thing and thinking another. Making apologies to others, while I have nothing to apologize for. I think it’s harmful to contradict myself like this. What message am I sending myself? That I don’t know what’s good for me? It’s ludicrous. I know what is best for my soul and spirit, but sometimes it is easy to forget to trust in myself. The Tao of Pooh reaffirmed what I’ve been thinking for quite some time now.

“When you know and respect your own inner nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong.”

Now go read The Tao of Pooh and report back 🙂 OR tell me your thoughts in the comments if you’ve already read it. Happy Monday babies <3

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All of the images in this post were taken by Saleem Ahmed. I’ve said it a hundred times, but I’ll say it again: he is one of the most talented photographers I know. His work impresses me day after day and now he is a published writer as well. Check it out.

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3 thoughts on “Living The Tao of Pooh

  1. Your soul is so giving! I am not going to even say I am sorry that you felt this way, but I am going to embrace this feeling as well, and order the book now!

  2. I am so lucky to be surrounded by a community that helps each other remember what is truly important. I’ve been thinking about what to read next (and all the feminist manifestos are starting to get me too riled up). I’ll definitely be dusting this one off the shelf next!

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