Squirrels and Options
Generally, I have never been able to tell one squirrel from another but I do have one this summer that regularly comes to the dry food I leave on my terrace for my loyal feral cat. How do I know it is the same one? I just know. Putting that aside, however, I am continually fascinated by the little creatures…their agility, quickness, love of heights, playfulness, risk-taking, building nests on the tippy top branches and out on the end, of all places! Yes, they go for the birdseed and seem insatiable but their cleverness in devising ways to get to it is just another quality to admire, to say nothing of persistence.
What I noticed the other day that reminded me about my own life and the life of those I coach was this: my little resident squirrel was perched high on a tree branch overlooking the terrace where it was able to get the lay of the land down below. Who can tell what it was mulling…it could have been that life looked pretty much the same as in the past…satisfying or needing change…or that nourishment was in a different place…or that there were more choices of where to get food and new routes to take…and that what might have seemed dangerous isn’t…that most of the time fears don’t become reality.
I wasn’t up on the limb next to the squirrel, but I suspect it looked beyond my terrace to the broader vistas, perhaps observing myriad choices and thinking about what it wanted most.
I know…it’s just a squirrel…but two things we often forget to do are look at the big picture and ask ourselves the question, “What do I really want?” Getting mired in the moment and feeling like we are sinking in quicksand is sometimes more common than taking the risk to go up high and look down to see what is available to us…”Wow! I had no idea that is what could be.” Yes, certainly others in our lives and responsibilities we have are important; sometimes, however, we become so enmeshed in and controlled by them that we can’t see beyond. It is easy to forget our uniqueness, our calling, our own big picture, and what we feel called to pursue. Reflecting on and moving toward what “I want” is not selfish but healthy and nourishing; it ultimately helps us be better in other things and with other people. If we allow ourselves to run up the tree…way up high so as to not limit ourselves…perch and look down and all around…we might be delightfully and beautifully surprised by the vista of options.
I will always hope for at least one resident squirrel so that I am never without a mentor and a reminder of that which I too often forget…that options are there for the taking, and when I find one that is right for me it may be that I will feel as light-footed as the squirrel, running and leaping freely and joyfully.