"look for the bare necessities
the simple bare necessities
forget about your worry
and your strife...
have I given you a clue...
the bare necessities of Life
will come to you..."
In the comments section following the Youtube video clip of Mowgli and Balloo singing "Bare Necessities" from Disney's The Jungle Book, a viewer asked this question:
"remember how you felt when you heard this song for the first time
and how you slowly fell in love with it."
It was such a sweet sentiment, and full of a parent's backward-looking melancholy...a feeling I could relate to all too easily.
I thought about the first time I remembered seeing this film, and hearing this song. Images of my toddler-age daughter washed over me. Of course, it was 1992...right? But, wanting to get the year of its release right before writing about it, I went to Wikipedia, and to my shock, I discovered that"The Jungle Book" had been released in 1967. 1967? Really? I couldn't remember ever seeing that movie, or hearing any of its songs, until I was a mom, and I was watching it with my own children.
That got me to thinking. I have a pretty good memory. And I am sure that with 7 younger brothers and sisters, I must have been exposed to the movie, and heard the songs. But, for some reason, they just didn't "reach" me. Perhaps it was because by 1967, I was a teenager, and no longer really interested in animated films, but to have no recollection of the movie at all...I'm baffled.
But that said, fast forward to 1992. As the mother of a toddler, I was not only interested in Disney movies, I was watching them...or listening to the songs...over, and over, again. And not only was I watching them, the content of their messages were suddenly very important to me. I was asking myself: How would their messages resonate with my young daughter? Did it have a deeper meaning, that I could build upon? Were the characters good role models? What were they encourging my child to think about?
And since I was also trying to navigate being a mom while navigating my own spiritual practice of spiritual exploration, self-discovery and healing, those messages easily entered my world as metaphors for life's lessons in understanding God's presence, and power, in the world around me. The overarching struggle for the supremacy of good woven through each story, seemed to just jump off the screen.
So when a friend, after reading a recent piece on the poetry blog, called, "your one necessity..." (copied below), sent me the link to "Bare Necessities," I totaly "got it." I love the spiritual message in Balloo's encouragement to Mowgli:
"...don't spend your life looking around
for something you want, that can't be found.
When you find out you can live without it,
and go along not thinking about it...
the bare necessities of life will come to you..."
The very inspiration, insight, awakening to a deeper sense of life purpose we often think is hidden and obscure, is actually not hidden at all. And it is not something "out there" to seek. It is already "within you." And like the ubiquitous Brood XIX cicadas that have reached the acme of their 13 year cycle, when our hearts are ready...to give birth to whatever it is we are awakening to be, next...we can't stop it. It not only comes to us, but, it comes from deep within us.
It is always percolating up from the depth of our spiritual wholeness...in fresh, new, marvelous ways. It's always been there, just like "The Jungle Book" had been in my life since 1967, but I wasn't ready for its message until "just the right moment" and then, every song, every bit of dialogue, every sequence, seemed to sing like the cicadas. So loudly, it couldn't be ignored. The subtle Kaa's hypnotic lullaby. Shir Khan's confident alertness. The mind-numbing group thinking of the vulture band....all of it, a feast of inspiration, when I was most hungry.
And like the cicadas, I believe that our spiritually evolving sense of vision, and purpose, emerges gently, at just the exact moment we are ready, perfectly poised, to take the next step. And then, we shed our old worn-out shell, and start to sing a new song in unison with the universe...a song we'd been humming, deep beneath the earth, for as long as it took for our "moment to arise..." I totally "got it." ...
Sigh...this is a lovely universe...
Here is the post (and poem) that prompted my friend to send me the link:
"I think it would be well, and proper,
and obedient, and pure,
to grasp your one necessity and not let it go,
to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you."
— Annie Dillard
"how will I know
what is my one
i ask the wiser Voice within
It smiles back,
"it will be that thing
you once thought you might have lost,
and in the space of your
realized you could not
bear to live without..."
it will be what waits within the
emptiness carved out by the
sorrow of dreaming
it was nearly gone,
only to wake and
just asleep to your own promise....
it will be the thing
your tears have watered
back into life,
called back into beauty,
and brought back
it will be all
you once thought
you could, possibly
and then discovered there
was no "you"
your evenness and
what is your
what is it
that sits like
the song without words...
the shaken reed,
the shattered ice,
the shell that opens to reveal
hunger for what
lost to begin with....
it is you,