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Owl, Frog, Rat and Squirrel—What the Creatures Taught Me (Part Four)


Definition of Yoga: 

A series of postures and breathing exercises practiced to achieve inner peace by controlling the body and mind.

I’ve tried yoga. And meditation. Even thought about Tai chi. But the truth is these just didn’t seem to work for this New York City girl.


Squirrel cute 2


Then I started hand-feeding the squirrels. I’ve been putting out nuts and seeds for the squirrels, chipmunks, birds, rabbits, raccoons and other creatures for over twenty years. However, it wasn’t until this past year that the squirrels began taking peanuts directly from my hand.

Some started running up to me as soon as I walked out onto the deck, eager to grab their nutty treat and run back up the hillside. Others would do the three-steps-forward two-steps-backward dance until they finally were close enough to take the peanut from my hand, their bodies visibly shaking with fear.

A few squirrels would stand with confidence at my feet, gaze up at me with gratitude, carefully take the nut from my extended fingers and then reposition the shell in their mouth before trotting off into the trees.


Squirrel on tree


I was enchanted by the squirrels. With my pockets filled with peanuts I began crouching down low on the deck, waiting for the magic to unfold. Often I didn’t know a squirrel had crawled under the fence and was sitting patiently beside me. I had no expectations, so each squirrel encounter was a sacred gift. Time and space blurred into concepts that had no meaning for me. My heart overflowed with joy.

One day I realized something—I had found my yoga.

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”   Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

With love,




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