What About The Squirrel?

I am wondering if you ever enjoy watching birds flit about your yard, the park, or perhaps the waterline at the beach? 

While I am not a bird fanatic – I couldn't tell you where my binoculars are or which bird made that lovely sound  – I do really love watching them. So much so that I have a couple bird feeders outside my kitchen window. 

A whole variety of birds come to the feeders – red cardinals, black birds, brown warblers. Some of them go directly to the feeder, others are more timid and stay below the eyeline eating the seeds that have spilled onto the deck.

A red cardinal on a fence line
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

The Denizen

Then there's the squirrels.


Actually, I am not even sure it's more than one squirrel, but it causes enought trouble to account for ten.

I gotta tell you, that squirrel really gets my goat with the way that it takes over the feeder and hoards the food. There are days when I get so worked up, I startle my family and the dog by banging on the window to scare it away. Usually, when I do that, the squirrel looks up at me, scoffs, and returns to eating.  

A squirrel hanging upside down on a birdfeeder eating the seeds
Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Other times, I quickly pull open the sliding door and charge at it. That gets it's attention for a hot minute! 

I thought I  had the solution when I bought the cleverly-marketed feeder with a cage around it to prevent the squirrel's access. How long do you think that stopped the squirrel?

It took the little birdies longer to figure out the caged contraption that then squirrel.


A dozen eggs with whacky faces drawn on their shells highlighting the insanity of fighting the squirrel
Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

The Absurdity

How crazy do I sound?! 

No, really! I get it!The absurdity of my behavior becomes more and more apparent each day!

I mean, the squirrel is a pretty smart cookie and does a damn fine job following the natural order of things. The squirrel is hungry, sees an easy food source and confidently owns it's wiley ability to snatch it up. The squirrel isn't really the problem; my expectations are.  

My expectation that this creature will see a tube of delicious seed, identify it as for birds only, and leave it alone is completely ridiculous. Me turning the squirrel into a villian out to foil not just the birds, but ME is pure human folly!

And it's got me thinking…

The Squirrel & You

How often do we fight this kind of battle with our own bodies?

How often do we set hopes, dreams and expectations on what we want our body to do when it is merely following the natural order of things. 

We don't want to feel the pain, the nausea, the fatigue – you name the symptom. But those symptoms are our bodies telling us that something just ain't right. Telling us that it needs our loving attention and kindness.

But I know, at least for myself, there have been far too many instances when I denied my symptoms, pushed well beyond the limits they were setting and got really fricking pissed at them. 

And where did that land me? 

With anger and frustration that came out sideways, hurting myself and others on top of that fact of often making my symptoms worse! 

A woman collapsed on her bed in frustration with her body, like the squirrel
Photo by Kinga Howard on Unsplash

Shifting Your Perspective

What I am suggesting here then? Do I welcome the symptoms like the squirrel at the bird feeders?

Well, maybe…

Maybe “welcome” is to strong a word…

Maybe it's more about observing your symptoms with curiosity, awe, compassion rather than expectations, anger, and assault.

Curiosity – What are the symptoms telling you?  What clues are they laying out? 

Awe – Look at what an incredible, intricate, and inspiring web of systems this body of mine is!

Compassion – What can I do for this beautiful body of mine that is trying to help me, warn me, and maybe even heal me?

Just like the squirrel is trying to follow it's innate drive for food, our bodies are striving for balance and wholeness.

Sometimes, neither are doing what we'd like them to do…

But how is resisting and fighting helping?

For me, I am shifting into a deeper appreciation of the squirrel's tenacity. While it still annoys me, more amusement with myself and the squirrel arises these days. And with that I can see that the squirrel, in some ways is helping out. 

Women  playfully throwing her hat towards the camera
Photo by Jade Destiny on Unsplash

The truth is, the squirrel is a messy one; spilling the seed all over the ground and the deck. The little birds and even the cardinals eagerly hop about the deck picking up seed as it falls from the feeder.

So, how do you think you are relating to your symptoms these days? Are you fighting them like you would that pesky squirrel? Or are you able to tap into some apprecation? Maybe it's a little bit of both? Reply in comments.