Early in 2016, I decide to listen to my instinct. It tells me that the next step in my quest to recreate my relationship with the dyspraxia that has shaped my life is to walk the 2,000 kilometres from London, down through France and across Spain, to Santiago de Compostela. That’s a big deal for anyone. It’s an even bigger deal for me. My dyspraxia means that I have no sense of direction and I can’t read a map nor use a compass. But I’ve learned not to argue with my instinct, so off I go.
The only guidebook is eight years out of date; the waymarking can be dodgy; I’m not carrying any maps because looking at them makes me feel sick. What happens? I get lost. In a forest. All those atavistic fears fostered by the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm engulf me. My first reaction is to panic; my second is to berate myself. The only outcome of all this frenetic mental activity is to divorce myself from my own resources.
Fortunately, I think of Winnie-The-Pooh. I say to myself:
What would Winnie-the-Pooh do?
The answer’s obvious:
Sit down and eat honey.
That thought leads me to take account of my state. As well as being hungry, I’m thirsty, tired, hot, and desperate for a pee. No wonder I can’t figure my way out of the forest. Once I’ve taken care of my physical needs, I navigate my way out effortlessly. I have a whole repertoire of Useful Questions, but WWPD remains one of my favourites and most frequently asked.
To find out more about my relationship with Winnie-the-Pooh and the other creatures of The Hundred Acre Wood, follow us on Instagram. We’re all there.