by Rev. Mary M. Robertson
Riding my bike through a nearby nature preserve I hear the unique sound of a squirrel, which my mind immediately, and poetically, labeled scolding. I caught a thought. Maybe there’s another interpretation. Maybe it is the sound of the squirrel calling…
During a mindfulness and self-care workshop, during a breakout session, I shared I was a retired nurse before I became a minister. I also shared that I had realized that, while I’ve thought of myself as mostly extroverted for many years, I’ve been enjoying silence and solitude much more than I had expected, during the pandemic. The lovely gentleman I was speaking with said, “Oh, so now, you are using your nursing skills to care for yourself.” It was a delightful reframe.
Back to the squirrel and scolding… Maybe all the “scolding” I’ve done over the years, of my family, myself, my “patients” and friends was something else. It was awkwardly saddled with control, unasked for advice and the judgement that something needs to be fixed. And maybe it was calling instead. It was intended to be loving compassionate and supportive, and above all “right”) but warped and misunderstood by all of the parties mentioned (including me) as general “not good-enough ness”. I briefly regretted having not been more skillful. And let it go.
When the soothing, freeing language of mindfulness used, such as “if it is available”, creates space to open awareness and new interpretations. I am allowed to gently ask myself when I hear “scolding”, what is calling to me? What is this calling about? I prefer the question a great deal more than defending myself against scolding. I find I have the energy to nurture that awareness and open to generous compassionate ways of seeing myself.
I looked up squirrels as spirit animals. They have so many wonderful qualities. They are earthbound in their scampering and airborne in their treetop venturing. I embrace the beautiful, persistent, economical and creative squirrel in me. I respond to the call to be fully myself, flamboyant tail and all!