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Holistic Health

Squirrels, Pecans, and Moving Forward

Dr. Belinda Palmer

When we moved into our house, it had this great big pecan tree in the backyard. We thought it was great because it gave the house a lot of shade and we were excited about getting pecans. Because who doesn’t like pecans? I don’t know who doesn’t, but I can tell you who does. Squirrels. Yes, those cute fuzzy little creatures you see running around everywhere and usually accompanied by an acorn in drawings and pictures. Well, they eat more than just acorns. They also eat other nuts like pecans.

I will be honest and say I was ignorant of any squirrel facts other than the obvious that they were mammals and liked nuts. Living in a house with a nut tree in the backyard I have since learned more. The biggest one is that if you have a nut tree with branches touching your house you will get squirrels in your attic. Squirrels in an attic are not fun. They are loud when you are sleeping; they make a mess, and they destroy things. Basically, they are uninvited guests having a party at your house and leave you with the mess and the bill. They will do this every night until you somehow stop them. We hired an arborist to trim our trees. It worked—no more squirrel parties. YAY!

Then in the fall, our pecan tree gave us pecans. Not just a few but buckets and buckets of pecans. Fresh pecans fell from the sky like rain. No, scratch that—like hail. Damaging my car, but also taste delicious. Our neighbors even got buckets of pecans in their yard from the tree. One neighbor even commented how they had never seen a pecan come off that tree and this year it was raining pecans! Which made us wonder why it was different now. We hadn’t changed the tree’s environment much since we moved in. We only had it trimmed up. The arborist had removed some dead spots too, maybe that was it. Maybe cutting back and removing the dying and sickly parts was what it needed to flourish.

The pecan tree couldn’t do this on its own. Someone else had to look at it and cut back its limbs—someone skilled like an arborist who knew the best way to get rid of the squirrels while helping the tree flourish. The pecan tree needed someone’s help. It’s different for people though. We aren’t stuck in one spot completely dependent on our environment and genetics. We can actively affect our lives for better or worse. We can change our surrounding environment, cut things out, and add things in. But this isn’t what most of us do. Like the pecan tree we stay in one spot using up all of our energy slowly growing or slowly dying, but not truly thriving. By not being dynamic we are not realizing our potential. 

Maybe like the pecan tree, we are waiting for someone like the arborist to cut us back, reshape us, and allow us to truly thrive. But again we aren’t pecan trees. You can wait for your “arborist” and maybe you’ll get lucky and they will show you how to thrive and make it effortless for you, but in most cases you have to do it yourself. That doesn’t mean there can’t be people in your life that help you grow, but you have to do the work. And you will have to look at the people and things around you to see if they are helping you thrive or slowly draining your energy. What limbs are holding you back from thriving? You will need to look deep and see where you are holding yourself back, then choose to move forward.

Personally, I have worked hard this year to be as healthy as I can be. I have had a lot of help and still, it’s hard but I don’t want to stay still. I get adjusted regularly. I spent months working with a trainer who helped me get stronger and faster. I got my front tooth pulled to stop an infection that resulted from an old injury—something I have wanted to do but pushed off for months because the idea of pulling my front tooth scarred my vanity. I changed my diet to get rid of an overgrowth of Candida which means besides my usual diet, I have eliminated all sugars including fruit. I finished a childhood developmental course on primitive reflexes.

I am setting goals and completing them. I am 37 and probably the healthiest I have ever been and I am only halfway through the year. I am excited to see where I can be by the end of the year.

I am lucky, I have an amazing “arborist” in my life that is also my husband, but I still had to do the work myself and will continue to do so. It makes it easier to have a good support system (especially with a bunch of little ones running around). For me being healthier and taking care of myself means I can be there for my kids and husband more. I can be a better me for them and for myself. It lets me give more “pecans.”

You know what happens when your tree drops pecans like it's raining? You get even more squirrels… So we got a cat.

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