Approximately eight years ago, give or take a year, my mom dropped off a box of items that were tucked away in my childhood bedroom. Among the items, Benjamin Hoff's book, The Tao of Pooh.
I remember lifting this book from the pop-up Scholastic bookstore at Plains Junior High School when I was in eighth grade. I remember reading it, too, and liking it quite a bit. I don't remember fully absorbing the words on the page. I also don't remember using the tiny little Hallmark Valentine card with Snoopy and Woodstock on a skateboard as a bookmark, nor do I remember who that Valentine was for, even though I do realize it was for my very, very, very future self.
When I saw the book, buried in my time-capsule, underneath Dr. Robinson's pediatric health records (eating solids! ideal weight!), but on top of my elementary school memory book, I immediately rescued it and placed it on my currently reading bookshelf. The same place, mind you, where it still sits today, not because I haven't read it, but because I read it every year.
In a nutshell: it's a simple and delightful book about leading a meaningful life. When my very, very, very present self rediscovered it every word seemed to fall into a place that made perfect sense. I suspect it was a grand realignment between the who I was then and the who I am now. A very easy read about a very complex topic, the Tao of You.
The first time I re-read this book, I thoughtlessly moved the bookmark chapter by chapter. It wasn't until page 85 that I started really spinning it around in my left hand, examining all the energy I put into being with this card in eighth grade. I took the time to trace the artwork. I didn't dare unseal the tape. This card was not for a thirteen year old.
On page 85, Hoff finds a way to discuss the Taoist concept of Wu Wei, living in harmony with All That Is. He writes, "Using Wu Wei, you go by circumstances and listen to your own intuition. 'This isn't the best time to do this. I'd better go that way.' Like that. When you do that sort of thing, people may say that you have a Sixth Sense or something. All it really is though is being Sensitive to Circumstances. That's just natural. It's only strange when you don't listen."
It's only strange when you don't listen.
On that sentence, I unsealed the envelope. I slowly brushed my right thumb over the signature. It was as if a tiny stream of love instantly injected my heart with permission to be Sensitive to Circumstances and let my woo lead the way. That was then: all I needed.
This is now: all I need.
Another reminder that you can't be all things for all people but you must be all things for yourself. Your life depends upon one thing: the Now of You.
So, before you go handing out Valentine cards, before you deliver the flowers or buy the champagne, or cook the dinner or give the gift to someone else, give the gift to yourself.
Take a look in the mirror, make eye contact, say I love you, you're just my speed...and mean it. It's the very first step, or the millionth step, to honoring your very own nature and staying true to you.
Love you. xo