Life Lessons: “Feeling Squirrel-ly?”

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A Life in Balance

I went outside to write yesterday, and the Universe sent me a parable. As I was setting down my morning pages journal and my cup of tea, I heard a bizarre noise. It was between a clucking and a tapping. As I started looking around my pool enclosure, the noise came from above my head. I looked up only to witness a squirrel looking down. He was hanging from the roof of the screened enclosure by his little feet very near the point of entry he had chewed through. As I yelped, he fell. It seems that squirrels, like cats, have more than one life and land on their feet. Even though he seemed physically fine, he was really freaked out: running up to the roof and back down the screen to the ground, back and forth, looking for an exit. After fretting for a moment, I came up with a plan. I went and opened the door, picked up a pool noodle, and tried to herd him toward freedom. Can you picture me herding a squirrel with a lime green pool noodle? I mean where is a video camera when you need one? After a few minutes of waving the noodle in his general direction, I remembered my lessons from equine training. I dropped the noodle, walked to the far side of the enclosure, away from the door, and dropped into wordlessness. I closed my eyes and took three long deep breaths, and before I was finished with the third one, I heard a racket on the other side of the pool. Mr. Squirrel had run out the door and was, no doubt, regaling his friends with tales of his adventures…I wonder how you say pool noodle in squirrel?

As I sat down to write my morning pages, the significance of the tableau I had just witnessed was not lost on me. You see, like Mr. Squirrel, I had chewed my way into a place that I thought would be wonderful. I have set up my life coaching business, I'm a speaker at the Costa Leadership Institute, and best of all, I'm working on a total re-write of the book I finished a few months ago. All of this munificence is heightened by the fact that I have found a group of like-minded individuals through my coaching that has brought me a support system I could only have dreamed about a few years ago. If I'm doing what I was meant to do; why do I feel like I'm hanging upside down staring at the ground that is way too far away to be safe?

Because, that's exactly where I am. I have worked very hard to get to this new and scary place, and even when I fall, which has already happened, a lot, I still land on my feet. Just because it's the right place for me doesn't mean that it feels safe.

When you try something new, it doesn't necessarily feel right at first. That's because new things feel different, and scary. But that doesn't mean they're wrong or you're wrong, it's just new.

Unlike Mr. Squirrel, I don't want to escape this new place. However, I would like a respite from all the chatter in my head. You know, the doubts about whether or not this is a good idea (it is) or whether or not I 'm really valuable in my new life (I am), or whether or not I can help people through my coaching, speaking and writing (I can). All these squirrelly doubts that run through my head can easily be set free…with just three deep breaths. Whenever I remember to breathe and go quiet, the doubt slows to a trickle. Then I open my eyes and start to take the next step toward making this new place feel like home.

Where in your life do you feel stale? Is fear of something new keeping you from moving toward a life that brings you more umph? Please send any questions or comments to me at

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