Life Weddings

Don’t Hit That Squirrel!


Squirrel in Piedmont Park
I’m a little dodgy!


We have all had this happen, we’re out for a drive in the car, next thing you know, a squirrel runs out into our path!  We’re surprised, the squirrel was definitely not expecting it, so the dance begins.  You know these moves, you swerve to the right, the squirrel dodges right, turn to the left, there he  is again!  It’s like the squirrel is reading your mind!  And in the brief moments as this is happening, you are thinking, “don’t hit the squirrel!  don’t hit the squirrel!” But, when it’s all over, there you are with a unintended squirrel pancake.  You didn’t really want to hit that little guy did you?  That was certainly not your intent right?  So, how could this happen despite your best efforts?  Simple, your focus was the squirrel, and the law of attraction delivered him right to you.  No, I’m not saying that you are a deliberate slayer of squirrels, I’m just saying law of attraction gave you a unintended negative result.  The law of attraction works by what you are thinking about or focusing on the most, especially if there are strong emotions attached.  Whether it’s something you do want, or don’t want, the law of attraction will serve it right up even if you don’t want it.  And, getting what you don’t want doesn’t just stop at squirrel pancakes either.

Have you ever met someone who seems to never get a break, one calamity after another plagues their existence every waking moment?  They talk about it too, this bad thing just happened, this went wrong, or the classic, “Oh, dear God, I wonder what will happen next?”  If they are not talking about the latest disaster, they worry about the next, either out loud or to themselves.  Their worry is chronic, the conditions they live in are chronically bad, and never get better.  If you ask them what was good that happened that day they struggle to find something to mention.  On the other hand, ask them how their day went, and they will spew a string of missteps and trouble.  It’s like “good” is a foreign concept.

The source of most of this misery is worry, it is an envisioning of a negative future, thus creating that future.  Some are divided as to if worry is learned or something that is a part of our animal nature.  I think the latter, but, I have seen an entire family of worriers before.  The animal nature is the part of us that wants to stop the loss of things essential to our survival.  Survival instinct serves animals well, it tells them when to eat, sleep, procreate and run from danger.  In us it works reasonably well until we get to the danger and loss part, it’s then our instincts plays a game of “what if?” with us.  Because we are “thinking” animals, the instinct causes us to run survival scenarios in our head.  It’s something that lower animals don’t do, when it’s time to run, they just do and don’t think about it.  I don’t know how many of us will admit to this, but, have you ever just had a random thought of something bad happening to you or a loved one?  Maybe thought about what you might do if you got in a fight with someone, lost your job, had your spouse cheat on you?  Now I know some of you might say, “Oh, I’m not a bad person, I don’t have thoughts like that.”  Right, lucky you!  Let’s just pretend for now you don’t and go on, never mind that thousands of folks have admitted as much to their therapist in session.

These thoughts at the minimum can distract your attention from the moment, thus altering a future outcome.  At the other end of the scale they can cause illness, possibly even death.  Sorry, that was just a bit scary, but here’s a true story, it has a happy ending and nobody dies.

I had two friends who were planning to get married, they were well suited for each other like “peas and carrots” as Forrest Gump might say.  They had planned for a church wedding with about one hundred guests, a small reception and honeymoon in the Carolina mountains, simple, no big deal.  Plans were made, everything was going smoothly, or so it was thought.  About three weeks out the Groom started to become concerned about his wedding day performance, what if he got up in front of all those people and forgot his vows?  Or, got nervous and sick to his stomach and threw up?  Or, what if they got married and had to get divorced later?  I have no idea what else was going through his head at time, this was just what the Bride, a longtime friend told me.  Long story short, he worried himself so much he became physically ill and called off the wedding.  They broke up for awhile but the old “peas and carrots” prevailed and they were back together.  Again, they planned for a wedding, scaled back, no church, just a few friends, very, very low key.  As time grew closer to the big day, can you guess what happened?  Right, it happened all over again, worried himself sick over several issues, some old, and a few new ones.  The wedding was called off again, and, within a few months they were back to being “peas and carrots.”  The story did have a happy ending, they got married a few months ago in front of a judge and two witnesses.  And all the things the groom was so worried about that made him sick?  Never happened, nothing he had a concern about came true, not one thing, and yes, they are happy just like “peas and carrots.”

This was one of the better stories, with a happy ending, but, I was not kidding about worry and “what if” causing illness and even death.  I watched a dear friend get slowly eaten alive by those two, and the beautiful person she was destroyed till she was unrecognizable.  Eventually, she took her own life, overwhelmed by her imagined future.  I wish I could have helped her more.  I wish I could help others, but, the only thing I can do is write and hope someone gets the message they need.

You might say, “Terry, I just don’t know if I can do it.”  I say “yes you can,” will it take some work?  Yes, it will, it might even seem impossible from your viewpoint, but, I will tell you it’s not.  There is an old saying, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  Well, it’s true, start small, when a negative thought comes, replace it with a better thought.  It’s hard at first, and a bit of a struggle, but with each thought it gets easier.  You will shift, bit by bit, eventually  negative thought is the rare occurrence, not the chronic existence you once lived.  Will you have negative “what if” thoughts from time to time? yes, I do, even now.  The difference is, I have learned to recognize them, and clean up that thought quickly, replacing it with better thoughts.

You create your life through your thoughts, good or bad, it is up to you to choose what you focus on.  So, don’t hit that squirrel!


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By Terry Cavender

Professional photographer, writer, living and working in the Atlanta Georgia area.

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