So, who’s familiar with the children’s book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Bunt?’ I used to read this to all 3 of my daughters what seems like a lifetime ago now. However, I still quote it to this day when they have their struggles in life and they instantly know what the message is, which I’ll share with you now.
This pre-school picture book depicts a family who set off on an adventure to find a bear, encountering a series of obstacles on route. They come across long grass, rivers, a forest, mud, snowstorms and so forth. Each time they are confronted with difficulty, this cute little message is delivered.
‘We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, oh no! We’ve got to go through it ….’
It’s annoyingly repetitive but is great fun for little ones with descriptions of ‘swishy swashy’ grass, squilchy squelchy mud, all leading up to finding the bear in his cave. No, they don’t get eaten or come to some other macabre end (oh how I hated how the woodcutter chopped the grandmother open to rescue Little Red Riding Hood), but from my rather sketchy memory I think they rush back through all the obstacles home to safety.
So, it may seem simplistic, but when my girls have a stressful situation, I often say ‘you can’t avoid this, you know you can’t go under it…’ and of course, before I can finish, they roll their eyes and say ‘Yes Mum, I know, I’ve got to go through it.’ Well, my eldest is 30 now, bless her!
The moral I take from this simple story is the life lesson that ‘when it gets tough, and something ‘unexpected’ comes along to interrupt our journey, we can always find a way to push through.’ It may be that someone else interprets something entirely different from the book, but that’s what has stuck in my mind all these years.
Well, it got me thinking today, because I actually make reference to this lovely tale in the book I’m writing. I used to think of it quite often when I was in hospital last year, telling myself no matter how tough things were, the only way was to push myself ‘through’ in true bear hunt style. It gave me strength at times when I needed it.
The minute you stop ‘resisting’ what is and find a level of acceptance, things really do change and your situation becomes much easier to handle. When I ‘resisted’ the whole wheelchair scenario, the more painful it was, both physically and mentally. As soon as I found ‘acceptance’ it became easier and I started to enjoy life again, in fact, it sped up my recovery to where I would no longer require the wheelchair. The same was true for many other parts of my recovery too.
I then found myself connecting this with how we are all struggling in one way or another with the current uncertainty in our lives and the restrictions of lockdown. We may all have different struggles, but no matter how big or small, all equally important.
One of my difficulties in lockdown is missing the gym and swimming. My recovery depends on it as I have a limited amount of time for my full spinal cord recovery plus, with the cold weather we now have, it seems to be having an adverse effect on my neural pain and mobility. So, with ‘necessity being the mother of invention’ I am using my stairs for my gym workout, challenging myself to climb 10 sets each morning. My dog Chester gets very confused following me up and down (he has separation anxiety and likes to stay next to me at all times!) What with him on my heels and then Mabel (my black lab) deciding to be my new Yoga partner, I seem to be running a new canine boot camp. Rather that, than home-schooling 🙄.
I know it’s not easy for everyone, and some struggle with ill health or perhaps ‘mental health’, but we can all find ‘acceptance’ if we try. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and whilst some days may be worse than others, try and embrace that you always have a choice with your reactions to events, be they good or bad. Remember that after the darkest storms come the brightest rainbows.
So, please keep pushing through these hard times, keep yourself and your loved ones safe and know that we are all going through this ‘bear hunt’ together. xxx