1991

Nature
SQUIRRELS GIVE A BIG LESSON

Here's an incident I want to share. It relates to your explanation of the three ways we relate to nature.*

Sitting in a camp one day, having just rolled in and pitched a tent, we settled into our chairs to read. A couple of large ground squirrels poked their heads out and came over to investigate. Within 2 minutes I went from level 2 to 1 to 3. First we said things like "Aren't they cute." "Oh, we've got camp buddies." (etc.) Then they turned aggressive and began "charging" our books on the ground and acting very excited. So — I went into relationship 1: "Get out of here. Leave our stuff alone. Don't beg."

I was yelling at them and stamping my feet.

Suddenly I realized that we had, in fact, invaded their home and they were fully capable of communicating. I had to switch gears. I connected to their higher selves (at which point they became still), and acknowledged that we had entered their home base. I stated my intention of staying up to three nights and my desire to have our visit be compatible with their daily life. I asked if that was OK with them. (yes) I asked if our tent was set up too close to their home. (no) Did they want us to rearrange our gear. (no) I stated my intent not to feed them or leave our food where they could get it.

I asked what they needed for us to co-exist comfortably. One said (I got the impression) we need to determine boundaries. I asked if they were willing to stay 3 feet or more away from us. (yes) I looked at a spot I judged to be 3 feet away and said "That's OK?" (yes) Nothing else. So we closed connection.

One kept running up to about 3 feet from us and stared. He also once ran into the boundary area, but then turned and ran out. And that was it.

It's so ingrained for us to relate by dominating, or by being benign, benevolent and caring. It seems to take awhile for us to become aware of how we react. I was glad to have caught it.

— J.B., California

* Editor's Note: The three prevalent relationships we have with nature which I discuss in the Nature Workshop are 1) manipulation, domination and control, 2) benign, benevolence and caring, and 3) conscious co-creative partnership.