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The Princess and the Pea

A Lesson in Sensitivity

Who knows why, but  I got to thinking of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea…The story tells of a Prince's search for a true Princess.  When one arrived rather bedraggled at his front door, his mother set a test for her.. she piled twenty mattresses and laid them on a pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses. The next morning the Princess complained that she hadn't been able to sleep because she felt something hard under her, hard enough to have bruised her – thus proving her great sensitivity, and her royal heritage.

In my chronic search for meaning and purpose, I wondered what was the moral of the story, what point was Andersen wanting to make with this story. Certainly, the most obvious message is that we must be sensitive to what is going on "under" us… in other words, notice our impact on others… and I think he wanted his readers  to be true to themselves, even when they may feel that they look to be a mess. But the philosopher in me felt their was a deeper message…

I suggest that the pile of eider-down beds and mattresses represents the "stuff" we focus on in lieu of digging into our subconscious to see what drives us…

For a period in my life I attended to some deep inner child work.  The work revealed how a few small incidents that occurred before I was two had changed the shape of my life, having established some deep insecurities that affect me to this day. Two little "peas" that kept bruising my spirit…

The story of the Princess and the Pea tells us that we can only become our authentic selves after we have developed such deep sensitivity that we know what "peas" are rolling around in our subconscious, automating our reactions to life…

What drives you?

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