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!
Ah, dear friend, Rev Mary, It is always a delight to read your musings and I want you to know that I experience you a a warm, fuzzy, bushy-tailed, alert, attentive gatherer of nuts/kernels of wisdom that, while they may have been buried for a time, are precious gifts to all with whom you share. LOVE.
How sweet of you to say. Thank you, Lindsay : )
Dear Mary, I don’t believe I have met you but we have so many squirrels in our garden who are beginning to chomp on my husbands mangoes. He actually shot and killed one a while back which astounded me to a greater level of compassion. He said that it happened for him as well. Thank you for this metaphor of beauty and the natural world that feeds us all. I look forward to meeting you one day, Cathy Shea
Thank you, Cathy. Sharing "our" sweet juicy mangoes with the squirrels who assume they are there for the taking... What a great metaphor, especially for our current conditions. I hope to meet you, too.
Dear Rev. Mary, thank you for your gentle reminder to reframe our perspectives as we embrace a more heart centered approach to life. There is a sweet feeling that arises from focusing on the good qualities of God's amazing creatures!! Us included :) Blessings and Peace.
Thank you, Karen. My friend says a shift in perspective is one of the best miracles we experience! : )
Dear Rev. Mary, thank you for your article. "Scolding Squirrels". . . so cute! I have squirrels in my yard too. When they sound the alarm, I think of their message as one of danger. So I look for a cat or some animal.
The book: Animal Speak, by Andrews, he writes: "Grey Squirrel, Activity and Preparedness, year round". When I see the neighborhood squirrels, I think I gotta get busy. It is time to prepare.
There is always more than one way to view a Squirrel Scolding. Once again, thank you for flying your flamboyant tail. With Love always, Rev. Linda ~
What a treat. The squirrels certainly do sound like scolding and I love your honest confession of, “something needs to be fixed.” I love that you are able to understand what creation is able to share in a loving and humorous manner, and that you so very graciously shared your insightful experience with us.
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