The Wisdom of Squirrels
A polar vortex hit Austin hard this winter, and I was holed up in my house, and in my mind, like a squirrel safe in its tree. My mind frittered away, furiously trying to determine what I needed to survive. No matter what life throws at me though, I look to nature for solace. Every. Single. Time. I force myself to go out and just observe and feel, and support always comes, even if I don’t get any answers. So this is what I did, in short, freezing bursts.
Nature's silence returns me to a calmer baseline.
From that calmer place, I was now a witness to my thoughts, instead of trying to juggle them all and make sense of them. Like nature, we are in this life for the long haul, and I’m reminded that I don’t need all the answers now. I just need to do the next right thing (Anna, from Frozen II). Especially in emergency situations, survival depends on one step at a time.
During this nearly unbearable vortex of cold weather that shut everything down for days, I slowed down and started noticing what was showing up in my life. Niksen is great for showing us what’s important, and drawing us to create or bring more of it into our lives.
One thing that showed up that I followed was a phrase in my inbox: “If you want a reminder of what’s important, ask the squirrels!” This link lead me to an article that reminded me to just turn my brain off and listen. “(nature) will gladly remind you that your anxiety and outrage aren’t helping you stay present.” Again, nature returns me to a more neutral baseline.
This lead me to notice when I ran across squirrels several more times that week. From the ones under my bird feeder outside, to chapter books I read with my son, to a new movie on Disney+, squirrels all around me were reminding me what was important. So I did what I always do when I run across something repeatedly: I looked up its meaning.
As a spirit animal, squirrels teach us that this moment is temporary, and we should enjoy it and appreciate it. If we listen and watch, we can find it’s strength and its lesson that it has to teach.
Squirrels of course are also practical, and teach us to prepare for a rainy day and work hard for our future. This was fitting for this polar vortex that we were in, and I was glad we had prepared with enough food, water, batteries and camping gear.
So my mind continues to be a bit scattered, and I feel like I’m holding too many acorns, but I’m slowly saving them and planting them, observing, and preparing for what life brings next. You never know which acorn we plant will actually turn into a tree and bring us the abundance we seek.
“Like any natural born cynic, I say do not hope, observe. Because when you do, you’ll see how much wonder the world actually has. And you won’t be a cynic any more.”
- Flora & Ulysses on Disney+
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Ms. Jennie is an outdoor educator in Austin, TX. She has a background in Montessori education, and strives to get families and kids out in nature to connect & wonder.