The Goldilocks Principle

Remember the classic fairy tale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears? In it, Goldilocks goes to the bears' home and finds them to be out. Improbably, they've left three bowls of soup on the table. Not the most mannerly of guests, Goldilocks samples each of the bowls of soup. She finds one to be too hot, the second to be too cold. The third, that of Baby Bear, she proclaims to be "just right!"

Weary after eating the soup, Goldilocks decides it's time for a nap. She checks out the bears' beds. The first bed, Papa Bear's, she deems too hard. Mama Bear's bed she finds to be too soft. The third bed belongs to Baby Bear, and she finds his bed to be "just right!" 

The point, the applicability of The Goldilocks Principle to our lives is that we recognize what is "just right" not through our mind but through our body. We all know the feeling of shoes that fit "just right." Women cherish finding bras that fit "just right," as many brassieres do not. A bicycle perfectly sized to us likewise yields that "just right" feeling in the body.

Our bodies often fail to get the respect they rightfully deserve as arbiters of what is right for us and what is not, or not quite. The notion of "mind over matter" is strong in our culture, an idea that surely does have value. However, in terms of developing overall balance in our lives, we must look to our BODIES as literally "embodying" the ability to discern what's "just right" for us. Our minds sometimes over-ride the wisdom of our bodies and can even be literally cruel to our tender physical being.

Remember that we human beings have evolved on planet earth in conjunction with its gravitation. Astronauts, outside of gravity's pull, actually suffer muscular weakness while in space, as they are lacking the "just right" counter-force of gravity to strengthen their bodies. The absence of gravity might make for a cool experience of floating, but its absence also weakens the musculature.

The Goldilocks Principle of "not too much this way, nor too much that way, but just right" applies to most any sort of choice we make. Does this job opportunity afford me both sufficient challenge and also sufficient stability? Does this region I'm considering moving to offer sufficient access to nature and to culture? Is it too rural? Or is it so busy that my Inner Wisdom feels overwhelmed? Is this ski hill beyond my present ability, or can I grow by heading down it? The body knows, and knows better than does the mind.

Our minds often have ideas of what's best for us. We are not to disregard them. But our BODIES carry great wisdom, which we sometimes disregard at our peril. We cannot have an orchestra without both a string section and a wind section. The two support and supplement one another into orchestral beauty and fullness. We need minds and bodies which are equally healthy. Remember, however, that it is literally the BODY which tells us by its sensate awareness experiences what is "just right" for us. We're missing something if we tune out the body's "voice." We can honor it by paying attention to it. Just like Goldilocks experienced, "just right" is recognized mostly through the body.