I was on retreat a couple weeks ago, in a cabin surrounded by nature, doing my spiritual practices, writing, reading, walking, and often also sitting quietly doing nothing, just taking the silence in. Aside from birds, squirrels tend to be the loudest in this pristine piece of land, continuously chirping and rustling the leaves as they move and run around, but I don’t usually pay much attention to them. This time, however, I was clearly directed to observe them.
Few animals are as busy as the squirrel during the fall, gathering food and resources for the winter with such clear intent and purpose. They look cute as they hop from here to there carrying acorns, seeds, leaves, and small pieces of bark or broken branches, focused on getting their goods promptly to their destination. They rush up and down the trees they’ve chosen to call home till they’re ready to weave their nests, which they do with great care.
Although trusting by nature, sometimes they have to chase or argue with other fellows to protect their supplies. As night falls and the daily chores are done, they roam around before going to sleep, often clinging on a tree, in a funny-looking, stretched downward posture, squawking and making other noises. I’m not sure if they’re crying out for a mate, checking in with other squirrels, expressing distress, or just letting the Universe know they’re alive.
It’s impressive how busy they are, coming and going all day long. And yet, as focused as they appear on their many tasks, they always find the time to chitter-chatter and play with other squirrels. They also stop throughout the day to taste a yummy nut, sniff things out of curiosity, have a drink, or just feel the breeze, lying on a tree branch without a care. More importantly, they go about their business in a light, joyful manner.
Balance Life, Work and Play
Observing these critters made me think of the much-needed balance between work and life, safety and enjoyment, as well as social interaction and solitude. A squirrel prepares for the future, investing great amounts of energy to gather reserves for her post-hibernating months, but she doesn’t fear a lack of supplies or doubts she will find them. She simply gets busy doing what needs to be done, in tune with the changing seasons. But at the same time, she enjoys herself in the process.
Work is play and play is work as a result of the purposeful focus on the task at hand. Unlike most humans, the squirrel instinctively knows that work is love, for it translates as self-care and the unfolding of her own life. This self-love and playful approach prevents her from becoming a workaholic or judge herself harshly, like humans do; there’s no pressure, no sense of obligation, no external expectation or stress about it.
Because, like all animals, the squirrel doesn’t have an ego-mind; even if moved by the instinct to survive, she fulfills her duties for the whole ecosystem. There’s an inherent trust that things will be as they’re meant to be, and the food she needs will be there for her, as well as a community to satisfy her social needs. She doesn’t necessarily do things for others, with the exception, of course, of her babies; she does things as she is driven, from within. In other words, she does things for Divine Consciousness.
This instinctual drive in a squirrel is similar to the intuitive guidance emerging from your soul when you dismiss the ego-mind that wants to control life through your perception and judgments—sucking the joy out of it in the process. It’s the capacity to surrender to the spiritual forces within and around you, to connect to the flow of your life rather than fighting it with self-sabotaging tendencies. And it’s the discipline to get things done without agendas or expectations, but for the energy of life and love that your work—any work—really is.
Other Aspects For Personal Growth
A squirrel saves food in different places, creating false caches to deter other creatures from stealing it, and she can remember most of her hiding spots; the resources she loses track of are either used by other animals or go back to the Earth to maintain the ecosystem. Similarly, you should not ‘put all your eggs in one basket,’ as they say, and consciously manage your energy, time, and resources while sharing them with others in a balanced way, trusting you will always be taken care of.
Squirrels can seem nervous and scattered, especially if they get scared, but they’re incredibly resourceful and agile, and a constant reminder that there is time for everything and everything has its time. These are some other aspects you can emulate as well:
- Be flexible: mentally, emotionally and physically.
- Be light: unburden yourself from what you don’t really need.
- Be prepared: manage your time, energy and resources wisely.
- Live simply: go about your day with gratitude, curiosity and trust.
- Balance your life: do what must be done but carve time to do things just for fun.
- Be fully present: focus completely on what you’re doing and do it for its own sake.
- Be free: enjoy the company of others but nurture solitude to recharge and reflect.
At the end of the day, what matters is not only how much you’ve accomplished, but how happily you’ve accomplished it and whether you’ve been able to surrender your egoic needs for the expansion of Consciousness, to connect to the flow of your life and experience joy in what you do—no matter what that may be. So contact me today to get started on your journey to master the ego-mind and develop emotional and spiritual freedom to experience inner peace and happiness!
© 2018 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.