Watching our neighborhood squirrels scampering across the lawn and gathering what they need for the fast approaching winter reminds me of a retreat I attended many years ago at a lodge resting in the softly rolling hills of Veblen, South Dakota.
One of the presenters had brought a deck of cards that had a lovely design on one side and on the other was the name and image of an animal totem.
Six of us were seated around a table on the lodge porch. The presenter spread the cards face down in the middle of the table and asked each of us to pick one. I eagerly took a card hoping it would be a powerful animal like a mountain lion or a graceful one like a deer.
And when I turned my card over, there it was. Squirrel. What?! My animal totem was a squirrel! Are you kidding?!
The presenter took the book that accompanied the card deck and read the lessons of the animal totems that each woman had picked. When she began to read about the squirrel, I was shocked that it was exactly what I needed to hear.
I understood that we all have times in our lives when it’s good to have a squirrel totem to remind us that we may have gathered too many things that do not serve us and those things include, not just broken gadgets, but thoughts, worries, pressures and stress.
It’s good to remember to gather and store our energies for times of need and reserve something for the future whether is be savings or judgments or opinions.
It’s comforting to remember that these gathered energies can set our minds and hearts free and that all will be taken care of in its own time, and it is this knowing that allows our fears about the future to vanish.
Every fall as I watch the squirrels rushing about, I wonder what I’m gathering and what I need to discard, what will serve me and what will overwhelm me and that it is always safe to trust my future.