Something Big and Real Inside

I set up my kids’ nursery with Winnie the Pooh décor. It wasn’t much, really—just a comforter and crib bumper. I used the same set in the crib and linens with all of my children. In later years, I read the stories of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin aloud to my kids.

“Pooh,” said Rabbit kindly, “you haven’t any brain.”
“I know,” said Pooh humbly.

Despite the fact Winnie the Pooh is filled with fluff, I found his quotes to contain some measure of substance.


“What I like best is just doing nothing.” – Christopher Robin

“Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.” – Winnie the Pooh  

We don’t do enough of “doing nothing.” We do spend time:

  • You Tubing
  • TV watching
  • Video gaming
  • Netflix binging
  • Texting, emailing
  • Social media scrolling
  • Be Real-ing, Instagramming, TikTokking…you name it
  • Working, working, and more working

In our brains, neurons are firing, cajoling us into believing these temporary dopamine hits are equivalent to authentic connection.

If we aren’t choosing what our time will be spent on, it will be chosen for us. Even if we are limited physically, we are filling our minds and bodies with something.

After scrolling highly curated Instagram feeds and other social media, I’m left with FOMO (fear of missing out), FLO (“feeling left out”—disclaimer—I just made “FLO” up), depression, and inadequacy. Who feels good after that? Those dopamine hits can disintegrate into depression.


We need time away from these empty fillers.


“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” – Winnie the Pooh

“Sometimes I sits and think, and sometimes I just sits…” – Winnie the Pooh


I don’t know about you, but like Pooh, sometimes a Thingish Thing inside is quite different when it’s out in the open. And if I’m filling my time with activities that don’t add value, or have purpose, then I don’t even have time to Think of Things like this. 

Having time to just “sits and think” isn’t what many of us are doing—we’re letting social media algorithms decide what we see when we have a moment to pause, with our heads bent down, stooped over our phones, eyes averted from other human beings, especially in public places—but all the time and anytime, really.


We’re filled with inconsequential social media and the latest Netflix frenzy. How much of these do we truly remember? How much truly matters?


Every moment of our lives is filled with something.

When I’m on hold on the phone for minutes and hours waiting to speak to a human, the time is filled with music or announcements. Even at the gas station, when filling my car with gas, I am bombarded with videos and noise—tips, recipes, ideas, ads. Every moment someone can get my attention for a moment, they’ll snatch it.

It isn’t necessarily all bad information. It’s just more filler. We live our lives as if a moment of quiet (or boredom) is unfathomable and we’ll wither without constant entertainment and stimulation.


To fight the temptation to always be filled with activity is counter-cultural, colliding against cultural norms to fill ourselves with something other than banal entertainment.


“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” —Winnie the Pooh


I guess we all have a little bit of fluff in our ears. Especially on social media.


While our life here on earth is a tiny speck on the timeline of eternity—though the days may be dreary and drag—they really are brief. I’m more and more conscious of paying attention to how much time is spent on fluff, on That Which Does not Matter. 


“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”—Winnie the Pooh


A cup filled with rocks can still hold some water. It seeps in between the crevices, the spaces in-between. It doesn’t take much—and even if it looks like nothing is there, something is. Even the smallest bit contains something.

Kind of like how a mustard seed can hold a whole forest-full of faith. I don’t know how it works, how even the smallest of things can be filled with something wonderful and big, but I’m glad for it, that a tiny acorn can hold an oak tree.


Something incompressible starts out compressed. Like a tree. Like us.


“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

And Precious You? The spaces where you were pressed? The places you were crushed?

Something priceless is there. And it isn’t fluff.


The space you fill—it matters. You can take up space. You belong. You matter.
Your matter matters.


Fill the space you were meant to fill. There’s something mighty inside, waiting to be born, from what’s inside of you. And even if it seems small, you can’t know the Bigness it will grow into.


Fill your time with Meaningful Things. Lovely Things. Worthy Things. Beautiful Things. True Things. Good Things. All of that will prompt that Beautiful and Amazing Thing inside of you to grow. Whatever is pure, noble, admirable, excellent…fill your mind with these. 


I needed these reminders from an adorable stuffed bear, Winnie the Pooh. Maybe you do, too.


“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
– Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver  




The Winnie the Pooh short story collection was first published in 1926. The name “Winnie” was based on a real bear in the London Zoo, from Winnipeg. A.A. Milne gave his son a stuffed teddy bear for his first birthday, and the bear was named “Winnie”. Christopher Robin was the actual name of Milne’s son, and the Hundred Acre Wood is based off an area in East Sussex, England. All of the characters are based on real life stuffed toys that his son played with as a child, and these are on display at the New York Public Library. Winnie the Pooh stories have been translated in over 50 languages, and a Winnie the Pooh book is the only New York Times bestseller in Latin. Winnie the Pooh became public domain last year.


Image credits:
Header image: Pixabay
Dan for Pexels
Lori Sun for Pexels
Dimka Nevedimka for Pexels
Bernd Dittrich for unsplash

Prasanta Verma
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