Rats have descended to remind me that I’m not in control of the universe

princess bride rat
Remember the Princess bride? She, too, encountered rodents on her journey…

We’ve had several rats in our house for the last couple of weeks. At first, I wasn’t all that bothered by them. Some scuffling in the night. Sounds coming from the attic. A nibbled banana in the morning. But through these early days, I operated under the assumption that we humans of the household were still in charge. That we’d be able to rid ourselves of the pests and be done with this nature-moving-indoors experiment at any point. Now, I’m not so sure.

The rats seem to have taken over. I did laundry yesterday and discovered that they ate these oval-shaped holes in several t-shirts (making cozy nests for baby rats?). There are chewed bits of wood shavings sprinkled all over the laundry room in the mornings (is it coming from the attic dropping through the vent?). I don’t know how, but each night the rats manage to eat all the bait we leave on the traps without setting ANY OF THEM off. Even more upsetting? One night this week I was sound asleep UNTIL I FELT A RAT CLIMB ONTO ME. It just climbed on up and perched its little self on my hip like it was king of the mountain. It was probably there to install a “RATS OWN THIS PLACE” flag on the highest peak. I’m so over it. Professionals have been called.

There’s a thing about this rat problem, though, that has really been useful for me. I t has helped me to see that most of the time, I operate under the assumption that if I’m vigilant and attentive, then I can anticipate any problem and either avoid it or deal with it.  As if, with my own efforts and will, I can keep bad things from happening to me, that I can remain in a good mood, or good health, or in peaceful relationships and it can stay that way because I’m working to make all that happen. But then the rats showed up to help me to see the flaws in my thinking. I’ve been reminded, I am part of the engine that moves my life, but I am not the entire engine.

There are so many things that are like the rats— that are way out of my control. And when I operate under the mistaken assumption that I am in charge, I fail to give due respect to these clever creatures and the other forces at work. Our initial attempts to extract the rats were rather laissez faire. And now? Now our nuisance has escalated to infestation. Quite frankly, I’m humbled. I’m also reminded– though I may be able to influence what happens in my house and in my life, I do not control what happens nor the outcome.

So what is the most appropriate relationship for me to cultivate with these greater forces at work in my life? I thought I was good with God and higher-power and listening for guidance, but this rat experience uncovered some places where Īśvarapranidhana and I still have some work to do. I promise, dear readers, that I will reflect on these ideas at the same time that I continue with operation rat extermination 2015.

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One thought on “Rats have descended to remind me that I’m not in control of the universe

  1. Ewe while you were sleeping!? Remind me to tell you my cockroach shower story. I did not think in yogic terms about it then!!


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