Driving home from dropping my daughter off at school today I noticed two squirrels frantically rushing to get across the road.
Cars were coming from both directions.
One squirrel ran straight across the road, dodging wheels as it went, making it safely to the other side.
The other squirrel had a change of heart, half-way across the road.
As a car approached, it darted back – barely missing the wheel – making its way underneath a second car, but then turned around again, and zig-zagged its way over to join his mate waiting safely up a nearby tree.
If it weren’t for the kind driver who slowed down, allowing the indecisive squirrel to successfully cross the road, I’d be writing a very different (much sadder) story right now.
I started thinking about how many times I have started down one road, come across an obstacle and then changed directions, only to find another obstacle and deciding to change directions yet again.
I admire the committed squirrel.
Unwavering in purpose, it faced one car, one time and got across safely.
I over-identify with the vacillating squirrel who faced 3 different cars and had a much more harrowing experience just to make the same crossing.
I doubt myself, I change directions, I decide things based on insecurities, fears and self-doubt instead on clarity of vision coupled with unwavering commitment to that vision.
I am much more of a trial and error person. Sometimes I think I need to find every way NOT to do something before I finally settle on the way TO do something.
Both paths carry risk; life isn’t safe.
However, I tell myself that if the first squirrel had died, at least it would have died in service to a grand vision of a better tree, a better nut, a better nest.
The second squirrel would simply have died in service to, “WTF am I doing right now anyway? Why am I crossing this damn road? Who thought this was a good idea?”
To be fair, I’ve gotten a lot better at this over the years. I am much clearer than I ever have been about where I am going, about what I truly want and about the things I want to grow and nurture with my own life energy.
When I know where I want to go, I have a much greater ability to tolerate discomfort and to act courageously in the face of my fears.
When I know who I want to be, I am able to drop my attachment to outcomes, and to instead live from open-hearted integrity.
This means that while I care about what people think, I am no longer controlled by people’s judgments of me.
It means that while I care deeply about the impact I have on others, I am no longer controlled by how someone else might react to something I decide or do.
It means that while I seek out connection with others, I no longer need others to be the same as me before I can be in communion or connection with them.
When I live out of a deep sense of integrity with my compassionate, attuned, clear and playful inner being, my relationships with people and power change fundamentally.
The journey lightens up.
Those two squirrels were a great reminder to me this morning about the power of a vision and being committed to that vision.
We will always encounter risks.
Life is full of unexpected obstacles and struggles.
But if we are going to stay the course, we need something higher than ourselves to inspire us forward so that the discomfort along the way feels tolerable and purposeful.
So, as you go into your week this week, I’d love to know:
What deep vision or purpose do you serve that allows you take risks and tolerate discomfort?
What are you dodging?
When you experience self-doubt along the way, what helps you keep going?
Leave a comment below!