The squirrel shared a message this morning and asked me to pass it onto you.
Early morning, I’m sitting with a cup of coffee my dad made for me. I don't drink coffee, but I LOVE to drink coffee with my dad. As we are thoroughly discussing our monthly chats on the meaning of life, I see George, the squirrel, prancing along the patio fence. I break into a huge grin honored that I get to witness his morning ritual as his shiny grey coat glistens in the first rays of the sun, the trees offering their aromatic fragrance and bright green, glossy backdrop. His bushy tail has been handsomely groomed. He holds it high, delightfully showing off his prowess as he purposefully strolls down the rail, occasionally glancing at me to make sure I am indeed noticing him.
I giggle to myself, quite amused and return to my coffee as I listen to my father’s wise voice. A voice ancient and familiar, grounding me wherever I am in silence. As his words trickle in, I’m suddenly distracted by George again. I forget what we are talking about. I’m completely immersed in George’s antics. He’s turned and is now running down the railing showing off his jump and stride. He’s downright silly, amusing himself (and now me) with his complete and unabashed folly. I’m lost in his world like a maiden following her prince as he pridefully waves his sword. He leaps down to the patio, doing a couple of tail spins, his tail erect calling all to attention. Agile and swift he is as he skips back and forth effortlessly. He gives me a wink of and a smile.
As I am now completely abandoned in joy and folly, he backs up and takes a poop.
“Oh my gosh Dad, George is taking a poop!” I exclaim laughing out loud.
“He just took a poop in front of us. On purpose!” I can’t resist the profundity.
I awoke early the next morning with the message he was sending. I found a little story that may give clarity to a problem I see often in my human coaching clients. Here it goes.
George was showing off his ‘poopability’. He can let go of ‘his shit’ easily and without embarrassment, in front of others, even the wisest and most famous. Now THAT is a concept worth pondering. Animals are practical. When they ‘gotta go’ they literally poop and piss to get rid of any extra weight. Whereas we, self-conscious humans, tend to hold onto ‘our shit’ (I call it our ‘mental clutter’ which for now and simplicity sake I will call our ‘junk’) as long as possible. Literally and metaphorically. All too often I see people holding onto their junk; their old stories of inadequacy; their judgments; their bitterness; their shame; their guilt; their righteousness; their ‘woulda-coulda-shoulda’s’; and all the reasons why they just ‘can’t do what they really want to do. Basically, their JUNK. And that is what it is; junk’ clutter; ‘old shit’; as in ‘that which is no longer useful’. In fact it is a hindrance on one’s ability to move forward; to find joy and humor in the little intangible moments; to find resilience in disaster; and to stay present and choosing your actions with purpose and clear intent.
Please note my utter respect for tragedy, betrayal, deep wounds, and ‘life’s unfairness’. I’ve had plenty. So bear with me. I am talking about ‘Old’ as in ‘No Longer Relevant’ stories that we get stuck in. When we are in our Old stories, our imagination, our curiosity, our creativity are all gone, vanished from our personal kingdom of life. Instead we feel like life has thrown us a dark hand.
“Why me?” Our loneliness calls out into the dark night. It’s so easy to disempower ourself, locking ourself in our own dungeon. Our internal prison is damp and dark and cold. Our miserable, ‘pity party’ self relishes in this type of environment. Some people even bring ice cream and cigarettes to the party. As if it really IS a party. And at our little ‘poor me’ party we take out our chest of,…not treasure…but poop.
Have you ever done that? Hoard all of your Junk? Do you sift through it in the depths of your damp, dark, cold prison? Go over and over each and every ‘old story’?
Now, remember George.
George hoards too. But he hoards useful, edible things. Food that will sustain him over the winter months when it is cold and wet and the resources are slim to none. Healthy seeds and nuts that last through the darkest of winters. He is wise in choosing only the good food—the good seeds and nuts—‘the new stories’ of the future. And by feeding himself healthy things in his dark months, he has plenty of energy for humor, creativity, folly and even joy as the spring sun finally arrives bringing new growth, new resources and new adventures.
Squirrel Opportunity is:
Let go of ‘the shit’
Like your mental shit, your mental poop.
What old stories have you been hoarding?
What judgments of yourself and other have you been purposefully relishing in?
How long have you stayed in your own prison, going over and over your pile of poops?
What if you act like George, the squirrel?
How would your day be different?
How would your life be different?
What new stories do you want to gather and nurture like seeds for your future, saving for those winter months when you need them the most? The stories, the beliefs that are your resources that give you resilience and freedom from the shackles of that old, outdated prison?