The Gerbil Story
Melody Beattie

  

Many years ago, my children wanted a pet.  They wanted a puppy, but I said no.  We had tried a bird, but its feathers fell off.  I suggested a goldfish, but we settled on a gerbil instead.

One day, the gerbil got loose.  It got out of its cage and scurried across the floor.  It ran so fast that none of us could catch it.  We watched as it disappeared under a crack in the wall.  We stood around, wondering what to do, but there wasn't that much that could be done.

In the months that followed, the gerbil made timely appearances.  It would scurry out from behind the walls, run across the room, then dart back into the walls.  We'd chase it, lunging after it and screaming as we ran.

"There he is.  Catch him!"

I worried about the gerbil, even when we didn't see it.  "This isn't right," I'd think.  "I can't have a gerbil running loose in the house.  We've got to catch it.  We've got to do something."

A small animal the size of a mouse had the entire household in a tizzy.

One day, while sitting in the living room, I watched the animal scurry across the hallway.  I started to lunge at it, as I usually did, then I stopped myself.

"No," I said.  "I'm all done.  If that animal wants to live in the nooks and crannies of this house, I'm going to let it.  I'm done worrying about it.  I'm done chasing it."

I let the gerbil run past without reacting.  I felt slightly uncomfortable with my new reaction--not reacting--but I stuck to it anyway.  Before long, I became downright peaceful with the situation.  I had stopped fighting the gerbil.  One afternoon, only weeks after I started practicing my new attitude, the gerbil ran by me, as it had so many times, and I barely glanced at it.  The animal stopped in its tracks, turned around, and looked at me.  I started to lunge at it.  It started to run away.  I relaxed.

"Fine," I said.  "Do what you want."  And I meant it.

About an hour later, the gerbil came and stood by me, and waited.  I gently picked it up and placed it in its cage, where it happily reestablished its home.  Don't lunge at the gerbil.  He's already frightened, and chasing him just scares him more and makes us crazy, too.

Is there someone you'd like to get close to?  Is there an irregular circumstance in your life that you can't change?  Detachment, particularly detaching in love, helps.
  

More Language of Letting Go
Melody Beattie once again distills her compassionate insight on how to nurture spiritual and emotional health and recovery. With her attention turned to relationships and all the joys and challenges they create, the author's reflections give voice to the thoughts and feelings common to men and women in recovery.

More on letting go.

  
    

We must learn to let go as easily as we grasp
or we will find our hands full and our minds empty.

Leo Buscaglia

  


 
welcome page - contents - gallery - obstacles - quotations
 the people behind the words - our current e-zine
  articles and excerpts - Daily Meditations, Year Two - Year Three
     

Sign up for your free daily spiritual or general quotation

   

  

All contents Living Life Fully, all rights reserved.

   

HOME - contents - Daily Meditations - abundance - acceptance - achievement - action - adversity - advertising - aging - ambition
anger - anticipation - anxiety - apathy - appreciation - arrogance - art - attitude - authenticity - awakening - awareness - awe
balance - beauty - being yourself - beliefs - body - brooding - busyness - caring - celebration - challenges -
change - character
charity - children - choices - Christianity - coincidence - commitment - common sense - community - comparison - compassion
competition - complaining - compliments - compromise - confidence - conformity - conscience - contentment - control - cooperation
courage - covetousness - creativity - crisis - criticism - cruelty -  death - decisions - desire - determination - disappointment
discipline - discouragement - diversity - doubt - dreams - earth - education - ego - emotions - encouragement - enlightenment
enthusiasm - envy - eternity - ethics - example - exercise - experience - failure - faith - fame - family - fate - fathers - fault-finding
fear - feelings - finances - flowers - forgiveness - freedom - friendship - frustration - fun - the future - garden of life - gardening
generosity - gentleness - giving - goals - God - goodness - grace - gratitude - greatness - greed - grief - growing up - guilt - habit
happiness - hatred - healing - health - heart - helpfulness - home - honesty - hope - hospitality - humility - hurry - ideals - identity
idleness  - idolatry - ignorance - illusion - imagination - impatience - individuality - the inner child - inspiration - integrity - intimacy
introspection - intuition - jealousy - journey of life - joy - judgment - karma - kindness - knowledge - language - laughter - laziness
leadership - learning - letting go - life - listening - loneliness - love - lying - magic - marriage - materialism - meanness - meditation
mindfulness - miracles - mistakes - mistrust - moderation - money - mothers - motivation - music - mystery - nature - negative attitude
now - oneness - open-mindedness - opportunity - optimism - pain - parenting - passion - the past - patience - peace - perfectionism
perseverance - perspective - pessimism - play - poetry - positive thoughts - possessions - potential - poverty - power - praise
prayer
- prejudice - pride - principle - problems - progress - prosperity - purpose - reading -recreation - reflection - relationships
religion - reputation - resentment - respect - responsibility - rest - revenge - risk - role models - running - ruts - sadness - safety
seasons of life - self - self-love - self-pity - self-reliance - self-respect selfishness - serving others - shame - silence - simplicity
slowing down - smiles -solitude - sorrow - spirit - stories - strength - stress - stupidity - success - suffering - talent
the tapestry of life - teachers - thoughts - time - today - tolerance - traditions - trees - trust - truth - unfulfilled dreams - values
vanity - virtue - vulnerability - walking - war - wealth - weight issues - wisdom - women - wonder - work - worry - worship
youth - spring - summer - fall - winter - Christmas - Thanksgiving - New Year - America - Zen sayings - articles & excerpts
Native American wisdom - The Law of Attraction - obstacles to living life fully - e-zine archives - quotations contents
our most recent e-zine - Great Thinkers - the people behind the words

  

We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you.  Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the online reader).  All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.  Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction!