Be Real

It isn’t how you are made. It’s a thing that happens to you.

Being Real hurts sometimes, but when you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.

It takes a long time, and you got to be tough and persevere.

When you are real, you are beautiful.

* * *

It’s said best in The Velveteen Rabbit:

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Pets and Patience

I was chatting to an old grey hair friend the other day and he shared his rule for working with people:

When he meets with new clients, one of his questions is whether or not they have pets. It gives him a good idea about what they are like to work with. His theory is that pet owners are more comfortable with the imperfections of life and mostly roll with it. Animals vomit on that special carpet or scratch that fancy chair. Their hairs get everywhere. Dogs bark at inconvenient times like when the baby is sleeping, and cats don’t come when you call them. Living with animals is a practice of love and patience.

Animals teach us to throw our hands up in the air and say shit happens! We get exasperated and angry but give the dog a cuddle anyway.

Be okay with surrendering control. Life won’t follow your script. Animals are great teachers.

Springboks

Have you ever seen a Springbok in the wild?

They live in the now. Alert, guard never down. The routine is the same. Eat grass, freeze, flare nostrils, smell wind, look around, go back to eating. Keep moving, no time for zoning out. 

They stay with the herd. The herd is a connected force shield. When the energy in the bush changes they feel it. A startled bird or a quick movement in the peripheral sends a lightning fast energy ripple through the herd. The herd body is one – muscles tighten, ready to explode in different directions in a split second. 

Stay fit, stay connected and smell the wind.