“Sometimes it feels like we’re all squirrels,” he said off-handedly as he hastily replied to a text while I sat next to him in the cab of his truck.  

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This week has been particularly busy, and I related to that squirrel comment all too well. The squirrels seem frantic this time of year, all scurrying about, nearly colliding with one another in my backyard as they race around trying to collect as much as they can before winter sets in. For they must, in order to survive.

I wonder…

What is our excuse for being so frenzied? To what end are we frantically scrambling? Is there an end game? Or is it just an endless loop? A hamster wheel?

Sometimes it feels that way.

I wonder how much of our busyness is necessary, and how much we create for ourselves for other reasons…such as to distract ourselves, or because we think that’s how success looks, or because we don’t know how to say no, or how to say please help.

I used to find that one of Newton’s Laws applied to me quite often, “An object in motion stays in motion.” The busier I was, the more uncomfortable and bizarre it felt to stop. I’d forgotten how to just be. It felt all wrong. I would even start to worry that there must be something really important I was forgetting to do.

If I cease to “do” will I cease to be?

Over the past year I have learned how important it is for me to overcome that initial feeling of discomfort….the discomfort of settling into a restful state (I know it seems odd, but I bet you know exactly what I mean).

Once I give in to the openness of space, it is incredibly nourishing, especially during times of personal stress. In fact, I have come to find this space so important that I feel myself becoming anxious when it is being encroached upon. This definitely happened to me earlier this week. I got really overwhelmed looking at the week ahead. 

I know that I have to make a point to carve out time every week that is just for me, and time that just for the three of us. This feels sacred, in a way. This has made me work on boundaries…on saying no to overcommiting myself or my girls (and also, on saying YES to those who offer to help me). 

Despite these efforts, I still need to be talked down from a tree limb now and again. (Hence, the violin lesson.) Sometimes the squirrely patches are unavoidable. Finding balance makes them a bit more tolerable. If we’re lucky we can even find the space to remember what it is we’re squirreling for. 

{Illustration from the children’s book, “Nuts to You” by Lynne Rae Perkins}

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