Bear Necessities

I’ve been talking to a co-worker (let’s call her A) about how a lot of humans have turned away from their animal nature. It seems a lot of us have taken modern day conveniences and expectations and used them as a wedge between us and our inner selves. This conversation came about one day when we were talking about the unfortunate amount of stress and mental anguish people around our office seem to ascribe to. They run around mumbling about how they’re so busy and there just aren’t enough hours in the day, when in reality, so many of their hours are filled with manufactured preoccupations. More things they’ve created to feed this never ending cycle of feeling busy, important, engaged, involved. For some of them we start to wonder if sitting for a few moments of peace would actually cause these people to unravel.

I think we all know someone like that. More charitably I refer to them as “full platers” – people who always need to feel like they are making the absolute most of everything, in every direction, at all times. Less charitably I refer to people as “crazy makers” – people who always need to be in charge, in control, feeling valued, and making something dramatic happen. In moderation, both attitudes have value. In abundance, either attitude will destroy you.

For whatever reason, A and I seem to have missed the day in school where we were taught to feel overwhelmed and under accomplished. Now don’t get me wrong, we both have goals and both have high standards when it comes to our work. We just, unlike the others in our office, understand that humans are not made to go go go 24/7. It isn’t healthy for our bodies, or our minds. We highly value our physical, social/emotional, and professional needs and understand that a healthy life balances all needs, instead of focusing on just one.

This most recent leg of the conversation came up when were talking about the relentlessness of working folks in the winter. People around us use the lack of summer sun as a reason to burn the midnight oil even longer. It’s as though they are pushing their nose ever closer to the grindstone in search of warmth, when really,  if they stopped for a moment they would realize they have all the warmth within themselves.

In stark contrast to the furious runners around us, A is her own warmth. She is the black bear. Calmly going about her business to prepare for the winter, knowing that if she works hard to set up her environment appropriately she will be the one to keep herself and her cubs warm. The black bear, you see, doesn’t run around shouting that there aren’t enough hours in the day to eat, sleep, and tend to her children. She just makes it happen. She gets what she needs from life and gives back to life as well. A says I am the cub. I am significantly smaller and newer to the world, but I have the big bear instincts within me. It’s a wonderful feeling to have found someone else who walks the same walk and is able to see past the chaos.

Oh Baloo, you knew it all along.


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