Cheryl's Blog

How determined are you?

The snow started falling just after midnight as I slipped into bed and listened to the gusty northeast wind move the walls and windows. By morning, the towering ash tree in our backyard had been transformed into a majestic white birch adorned with a handful of black crows waiting for breakfast. Still coming down hard, the snow signaled a day for tea, soup, and a good book.

As I entered the room where our cats Berty and Wednesday sleep, I watched a big old squirrel crawl into the birdfeeder attached to the window by their cat tree. I installed it a month earlier to keep the pair enchanted throughout the day. As soon as Wednesday spotted the squirrel, she launched at the window scaring him off. Then, proud of her accomplishment, she stood guard, willing him to stay away only to have him return as soon as she left the room.

For the next several minutes, Wednesday and the squirrel played a game of snack, scare, and scoot with the squirrel lengthening his stay at each visit. In the end, when I went to check up on them both a half hour later, I found Wednesday nose-to-nose with the squirrel, him eating to his heart’s content, her watching him with quiet fascination.

Turns out, good things come to those who face their fear enough times to make some kind of friendly relationship with it.

As I went about my business, I thought about the exchange between Wednesday and the squirrel and I could see parallels in my own life. Like the day I joined a CrossFit gym filled with intense bodybuilders and kept going back in spite of my fear. Like the squirrel, I was scared at every visit and yet, I was determined. I persisted and stayed to reap the rewards of new friendships and a healthier, loving relationship with my body.

The same holds true with cold-water dipping. What started out as an act of defiance against fear by jumping into the freezing ocean in winter, turned into a weekly practice of befriending my frightened mind. This commitment delivered a reserve of courage to be used elsewhere and the chance to become a part of a community of women who love and support one another both in and out of the water.

In a world where instant gratification is the most popular order of the day, it’s tempting to go after what you want and then give up when you don’t get it right away. But the squirrel teaches us that some things are worth hanging in there for – that determination and perseverance can offer delicious rewards.

There you have it, a little squirrel wisdom this morning. I’m off to enjoy the day… and buy more birdseed 😉.


P.S. – My new audiobook/workshop called Self Care for the Wisdom Years is now available through Audible. You can learn more here.