Squirrels, Body Intelligence, and overthinking.
I awoke to warm sunshine pouring across my bed and no sooner had i given my daily waking gratitude for another day of living did the familiar ache of stiff muscles creep into my awareness. I stretched, hoping to shake it off but this only seemed to make things worse. With a sigh, i rolled over to face the light and look out the window while i contemplated the day ahead. Would today be another day when i felt too tired and too sore to want to do much of anything? There’s so much i’d like to do. Why was i getting these aches so much more often lately? Why do i feel so tired? “An object at rest tends to stay at rest” my body answered, “you haven’t been eating as well, and are spending too much time sitting around“. I let out another sigh, accompanied by reflection on the rationals i provided myself about why and how those things had come to be true. But the body doesn’t really care too much for such reasons, it doesn’t matter if they’re true or just excuses- it just knows what it needs and responds to what it is given. If i wanted to feel healthier, i had to be healthier. It seems so simple to put it that way, but we all know it’s harder in practice. And it’s always hard to get out of any little self-indulgent slump. It’s not just a matter of laziness- that is definitely too simple of a way to put it, its more about consciousness in the present and choices that pile up. How doing things that are not in line with your larger desires without much conscious attention has consequences.
My thoughts drifted as i watched the huge trees with fresh new spring leaves sway in the wind through my window…
I thought in general about how I’d like things to be.. and my actions.. and where they contradict. I thought about my career goals and where i’d like to take things with that and my own personal growth. I wondered why I still hadn’t started writing again publicly, when i desperately wanted to start doing so. I recalled a dream I had before waking. I was following a literal line on the ground towards some destination i could sense, but couldn’t quite see clearly. At some points, the line would split into different paths- but i tried to stay focused on the destination and not get side tracked. I started to make out what was at the end of this line, it felt so important. In a blurred fashion, i could just make out what was ahead- and i saw myself, eyes closed with a contented half smile in a meditative pose, almost glowing. Still watching the gently waving branches caress the soft blue sky, i thought about the potential meanings of this dream. Stay centered. Stay present. Stay mindful. Stay open. To find myself in peace, actively centered and wrapped in radiant pure life-force energy. I felt that this final vision was both the journey and the destination. If i want to feel that more and un-blur the image, i have to be that more. I thought about what has often been an obstacle to my inner peace and authentic manifestation. In waking life, whenever i think about why i can’t or shouldn’t yet do something, or over-focus on the difficulties or aspects of struggle within whatever issue, i can unintentionally and unconsciously give myself over to fear based thinking and become un-centered and at times stagnant because of it. The sense of pure potential, connection, faith, empowerment, and feeling of being Alive and fully inhabiting myself that can be found within a state of meditation and moments of pure conscious presence, gets hazy in unconscious/reactive or fear based modes of thinking. This is a problem I, and i think so many others come up against. I could sense how this has effected not only my career efforts, but also led to choices which had left my body feeling weary that morning.
Just then, my eyes caught two squirrels chasing each other through the treetops. I watched intensely as these two small creatures raced at such high speed along the branches. They ran up and down the trunk onto the thinnest of branches and leaped from little branch to delicate tiny branch with such agility, dexterity, and swiftness. The fact that they were 100 feet in the air didn’t seem to phase them. I noticed how it did for me. Seemingly with a clear intent, they just rode the flow of experience, trusting their bodies and themselves, allowing instinct and their unadulterated natures to guide them. After a moment, i held my breath as one nearly fell- it missed a branch and fell down the the next one just barely grasping onto a twig which bent so heavily under the force. Even then, it just pulled itself back up and continued on without delay scurrying to make up for lost ground in the chase. From one tall tree to another they jumped and spiraled up and down the trunks in a playful death-defying dance. I recognized this encountering as another moment where nature can teach and i reflected on its lessons for me that morning. I thought of the quote: “Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.” I thought about how children play, and how i used to play. When exactly did i make the the transition from “I’m going to ride my bike at full speed down this narrow rocky mountain path. It’s going to be so much fun!” and doing it turn into “what if i fall?” and hesitating? When did running at full speed jumping from boulder to little rock to unstable rock along a creek or skateboarding down a huge hill simply for the joy of being in motion turn into thinking way too much and distrusting my own ability? Sure, its a sign of maturity to accurately gauge risk but surely only judging by risk and fear or giving them too much weight takes away too many opportunities to fully embrace life and breeds distrust in our capabilities and potential.
I thought back to last month when Jay and I were on vacation. I’m surely not as athletic as i used to be, but I remember consciously asking myself the same questions aloud as i walked all too cautiously along the jetty pictured above. With plenty of slippery spots, crevices and breaks between the rocks i could all too clearly picture broken ankles, or slipping and cracking my head, or falling into the water which a sign on a fence before the jetty had clearly stated- was home to great white sharks. I felt my legs go more wobbly in response to the thoughts. “Foolish”, i thought. “I used to race along rocks all the time.” Jay cracked a joke about being free spirited. I laughed as i reflected on the fact that I was one of those kids who wore the “No Fear” shirts and hats in the 90s, yet was now finding myself hesitating at something which was really quite innocuous in the grand scheme of things. I breathed in the moment, brought myself to the present and away from fears of “what if” and the future. A thought of “what if i lose my balance?” was answered by “remember the first time on balance beam in school? you’ll adjust and re-balance, that is still within you.” It had become another little moment for us to face undue anxiety, regain conscious control away from the grip of self-doubt, and have faith. “Just trust your instincts” i said to myself, as we started to run hard along the jetty. As we reached the end, half out of breath, that little expression of playfulness and exercise of will became an assurance of potential, and another little dissuasion of fear. Not to mention, it was just fun! During that run, as in many other cases, i was reminded of how good it feels to just let go and flow naturally. Though this small example of an experience, as with the squirrels, highlights things of a physical nature, my focus kept coming back to the analogies possible within them about things of a more mental nature and the roadblocks we often face there. And really, even with things of much greater physical demand- we must first overcome the self-imposed limitations within the mind.
If a spontaneous desire to test or broaden or to more fully inhabit yourself appears, and even more so if it’s accompanied by hesitation, really pay attention to that. Look deeply at the source of the fears and see if they’re as real and overwhelming as they sometimes feel to be. Trust your higher Knowing. Sometimes, we really just need to face things in a headlong sort of way to get free of them and to really grow and embody ourselves. There are too many fears that get blown out of proportion that have inhibited too many people i know, and myself, in so many facets of life. Stay safe of course, but by all means – challenge those inhibitions and attune yourself further to your highest potential and authentic self! Because it really is about consciousness in the present and little choices that pile up. It’s with that said, that I start to write to you. I’m going to try to make it a weekly thing, and not be afraid of if i’ll be able to keep to that, or afraid of exposing my thoughts, or your possible misunderstanding of them. I’m just me, perfectly flawed, rambling, introspective, abstract me.
The squirrels had disappeared from my window view, but they left me with this thought; we are capable of so much if we do not hand ourselves over to fear. If we can hear and trust in the body’s intelligence, trust in our own potential, really ride the flow of things, have courage and dedication, and take actions that embrace and fall in line with those understandings- we can achieve things we thought were damn near impossible for ourselves.
Take the leap of faith.
Discover how limitless you really are!