There is an art to doing Nothing. You can’t really try to do Nothing. The very act of trying means you’ll do a rotten job on it all.
This is one of the reasons I love Hannah. Because of all the book characters that she could have been today, she chose Winnie the Pooh, the King of Nothingness.
This, for the annual book character dress-up day at the kids’ school.
Of course, we have an entire Pooh family in the corner of our living room, little Poohs in the lap and in the arms and on the head of a rather oversized, giant Pooh that I spotted one day years ago in a shop in, of all places, Yemen.
So off we went to school today. And after I dropped off the other two (Rumpelstiltskin and Alice in Wonderland), Hannah and I ran through the pouring rain and through puddles all under a very soggy umbrella, Hannah in full yellow except for a little red on her Pooh shirt with pillow stuffing, and Pooh ears … all so she could do Pooh things that relate to all that Nothingness.
If you don’t let your brain get in the way, this helps. This is why Pooh lives so much freer than say, Rabbit, and others in the Hundred Acre Wood who often get so very turned around by over-thinking things.
‘What I like doing best is Nothing,’ is how Christopher Robin explained it one day while teaching Pooh.
‘How do you do Nothing?’ asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.
‘Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh, Nothing,’ and then you go and do it. It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.’
‘Oh’ said Pooh.
We teach our kids other things that are not nearly as valuable. They usually revolve around huffing and puffing down one track or another that suggest we’re more human doings than human beings.
But every once in a while, someone like Pooh comes along to help set it all straight.
So the next time someone says to you that Nothing is impossible, don’t believe them. Some characters do it every day. And manage just fine.