Being a lover of bunnies, make-believe, dreaming, hoping, loving, nurturing the child within, and authenticity I was inspired to share one of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s inspirational stories from her book: Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.
When I was a child I had more stuffed animals than I could count and I easily entertained myself for hours singing, playing, talking with, and simply loving them in my made up fantasy reality I went to daily. I was often off in another world completely consumed by the reality I created each day. I didn’t need any outside stimulation, although I often experienced much, and many friends, from the other worlds, but to me this was the authentic experience mirroring what was within- I knew nothing else.
I continued throughout my childhood, pre-teen and teenage years marching to the beat of my own drum and remaining in a reality of my own creation. Life was simply different for me, than what I saw around me, but this was something that as a child was so natural. But as time moved on and I was exposed to different things and conditionings than what I knew of as my experience, the inner dialogue started to ask questions and try to understand the differences I experienced from others.
This can be challenging to work through and process, but in the end I always came back to the fact that my natural experience of “different” was “normal” and most comfortable and authentic to who I was in my heart and soul and I didn’t like, nor operated successfully or healthily, any other way. When love came to be my experience, on a conscious level of creative choice, for and about who I was despite what I saw, felt, heard, or what anyone else would tell me, my life became “real.”
And this continues to expand exponentially and what may have at one time looked like make-believe, is belief in the making – my reality manifested.
This one in particular story by Sarah Ban Breathnach warms my heart because of the elements dear to me it holds. I hope it does the same for you. It builds on a precious story many of us know from our childhood: The Velveteen Rabbit. Here is Sarah’s sharing:
On Christmas morning the bunny sitting in the top of the Boy’s stocking with a sprig of holly between his paws looked quite splendid. He was fat and bunchy in all the right places, with a soft, spotted white-and-brown coat, thread whiskers, and ears lined in pink sateen. The Boy was enchanted and played with the rabbit for two whole hours until family directed his attention to all the other wonderful parcels lying under the tree “and in the excitement of looking at all the new presents the Velveteen Rabbit was forgotten.”
For a long time, the bunny remained just another plaything in the nursery. But he didn’t mind because he was able to carry on long, philosophical discussions with the old Skin Horse who was very old, wise, and experienced in the strange ways of nursery magic. One of the rabbit’s favorite topics of conversation was on becoming “Real.” Here is the heart of Margery Williams’s mystical tale of the transformative power of love, The Velveteen Rabbit, written in 1927.
The Skin Horse patiently explained to the bunny that “Real isn’t how you are made. 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.”
Becoming Real doesn’t happen overnight to toys or people. “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.”
In order for toys to become Real, they must be loved by a child. In order for us to become Real, we must become lovers of real life in all its complexity and uncertainty. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, we long to become Real, to know what authenticity feels like. Sometimes this hurts. The thought of losing our whiskers and having our tail come unsewn is frightening. In a world that judges by appearances, it’s embarrassing having all the pink rubbed off your nose. The Velveteen Rabbit isn’t alone in wishing to become Real without any uncomfortable or unpleasant things happening.
One of the ways that we become Real without too much discomfort is by growing gradually into our authenticity. As you learn to acknowledge, accept, and appreciate what it is that makes you different from all the other toys in the cupboard, the process begins. As you learn to trust the wisdom of your heart and make creative choices based on what you know is right for you, process becomes progress. As you learn to endow even the smallest moment of each day with Love, progress becomes reality perfected. Your black-button eyes might have lost their polish, but now these windows to the soul see only beauty. You become not only Real to those who know and love you, but Real to everyone. You become authentic.
I finished typing this blog at 11:11 🙂