A Motivational analogy for Life
Early in the Spiritual Story of the Velveteen Rabbit that you see below, the Rabbit meets the Skin Horse who consciously awakens the rabbit when he explains, “Real isn’t how you were made, it’s a thing that happens to you.” The story is about the journey of the Velveteen Rabbit learning about love and what it means to become real; a story that reflects the human sojourn we all take to discover our authentic selves. “All of us have an innate drive within us to become real, authentic and whole. We must never forget that life has corners to turn, and bumpy roads to navigate.
If we are not mindful of this we may never see the light beyond the darkness, that manifests through living a life of purpose…when the rabbit is loved authentically he becomes just that – his real, authentic self,” says Mark L Lockwood. “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.”
So, think about it. Have you ever thought that just maybe you’re locked into a real life story. It’s a story about love, life, death and transformation. It’s a story about overcoming and whether you know it or not, you’re the main character in the spiritual Story of the Velveteen Rabbit right now? “Once you are real, you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
“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.”
Let’s consider what it means to immerse ourselves in the experience of soul-making, to be enchanted, to open ourselves to the multiplicity present in every moment. The Skin Horse tells us that When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with you, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.
Life and The Spiritual Story of the Velveteen Rabbit alike are a journey through the dark night of the soul…..the story says the Skin Horse Teaches that you are loved into being. Which is true of life. So it is a paradigm shift from one state of being to another.
By the time you are real most of your hair has been loved off, but these things don’t really matter. Cause you can’t be ugly when you’re loved by someone.
A SUMMARY OF THE STORY
A stuffed rabbit sewn from velveteen is given as a Christmas present to a small boy. The boy plays with his other new presents and forgets the velveteen rabbit for a time. These presents are modern and mechanical, and they snub the old-fashioned velveteen rabbit. The wisest and oldest toy in the nursery, the Skin Horse, which was owned by the boy’s uncle, tells the rabbit about toys magically becoming real due to love from children. The rabbit is awed by this idea, however his chances of achieving this wish are slight.
One night, the boy’s grandmother gives the rabbit to the boy to sleep with, in place of a lost toy. The rabbit becomes the boy’s favorite toy, enjoying picnics with him in the spring, and the boy regards the rabbit as real. Time passes and the rabbit becomes shabbier, but happy. It meets some real rabbits in the summer, and they learn that the velveteen rabbit cannot hop as they do, and they say that he is not a real rabbit.
One day, the boy comes down with scarlet fever, and the rabbit sits with him as he recovers. The doctor orders that the boy should be taken to the seaside and that his room should be disinfected — all his books and toys burnt, including the velveteen rabbit. The rabbit is bundled into a sack and left out in the garden overnight, where he reflects sadly on his life with his boy. The toy rabbit cries, a real tear drops onto the ground, and a marvellous flower appears. A fairy steps out of the flower and comforts the velveteen rabbit, introducing herself as the Nursery Magic Fairy. She says that, because he has become real to the boy who truly loves him, she will take him away with her and “turn [him] into Real” to everyone.
The fairy takes the rabbit to the forest, where she meets the other rabbits and gives the velveteen rabbit a kiss. The velveteen rabbit changes into a real rabbit and joins the other rabbits in the forest. The next spring, the rabbit returns to look at the boy, and the boy sees a resemblance to his old velveteen rabbit. And that is The Spiritual Story of the Velveteen Rabbit
14 things we can learn from the Spiritual Story of the Velveteen Rabbit
- There is a skin horse for everyone, you need to look each sojourner needs a guide.
- Life is a process – There will be shifts in life. Nothing stays the same.
- It is going to hurt, not all at once, but it will be worth it in the end
- Looks are not everything
- Once you become real you can never go back to unreal. You cannot wake up and fall asleep again.
- Appearances Can Be Deceiving
- When someone else truly loves you for who you are, then you become real. Living from your true self is not a solo event. A relationship of unconditional love at the deepest center of your being is the heart of the matter in authentic living.
- Dreams Come with Risk. Velveteen Rabbit seeks love because he believes it will make him real.
- Never forget life’s lessons, like the rabbit remembers his friend, the boy.
- Story teaches us to overcome the fear. We can ask questions to ready ourselves…but it is happening, the story is unfolding the transformation is real and a matter of time. when not if.
- You become more in life, it is something that happens to everybody, just not in the way we expect it to happen.
- Love is making you real. Not the hurt and trauma they necessary are pointers only, pain is a pointer and suffering.
- Once you are real, you cannot be ugly – no matter if a few people don’t understand and judge you that way. Living from your authentic self is a work of magnificent beauty that comes from within. Your physical appearance is not part of the equation.
- We project our need for love and acceptance on the other and expect a certain response. Some people make a habit of doing this with many people (spreading the expectancy around) while others reserve it for only a few (or maybe one…or none) but ultimately we are all seeking a mirror. The difficult lesson to integrate is that no matter what the other person reflects back to us it still is self informing self.
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One thought on “The Spiritual Story of the Velveteen Rabbit”
I have wondered about this storybook for about 50 years! We had an important assignment in Mental Health Nursing in college to read the book and then attend a one-on-one meeting with the instructor. As an A student, I have felt since the embarrassment of feeling that I did not quite get it. And have carried that feeling always. But I was only 20 and without a lot of life experiences and pretty literal and tried to make it mesh with my Christian faith, death, and eternal life. Ha! There ought to have been better follow-up afterward to help me separate and weave together personal growth and acceptance and faith life. The 14 points spelled out here are not new concepts to me at age 70, but having experienced the book in my perfectionism and youth, I did get a bit stuck. Sad that the assignment, rather than facilitating growth, has left me wanting, but humble, too. And, yes, it’s wonderful to have mentors and to be a mentor!