I'm currently living with a colony of rats in my backyard.
At first there were only a few pioneers and I thought we could coexist. Because as a kid I had two pet rats named Bert and Tom and don't want to be a species-ist. Plus, Ratatouille and Secret of Nihm are some of my favorite animated movies.
But then the few turned into dozens. Digging holes all along the back yard fence.
I attempted to peacefully usher them away. By casting a crystal grid. And placing mint in their tunnels because they supposedly don't like the smell. I tried talking with them.
I was becoming the crazy rat lady.
Every evening more rats emerged. My moon rituals and star gazing evenings were accompanied with a soundtrack of squeaks and rustling from the two bushes in the back. I had no idea rats could climb up and mate while balancing on tiny branches! Those are some serious skills.
I've underestimated these creatures.
Soon my talking turned into clapping and chasing after them with a wild roar.
To no avail, to no surprise.
The source of their food was too good to be convinced by my woo-woo ways. A buffet of garbage and compost options were coming from the neighboring apartment building. Located directly behind my backyard.
I decided it was time to take more serious, and unfortunately more lethal, measures.
So I called the realty company to handle the dirty work. This type of infestation is one of the few renters’ rights we have in Seattle.
I felt a pang in my heart as I questioned this terminating action: why am I so special that I can decide who gets to live here? Humans are just like rats too!
Then my rational mind thought of the potential disease that could spread and the continued tearing up of the backyard. And the flies were coming too. And the smell. Oh that smell! No amount of mint can cover that up.
I literally smell a rat. Or... 50.
So a couple black bate boxes were planted by 4 Seasons Pest Control. They assured me the poison was a humane process. Even though I question the use of 'humane' these days.
A few days later, I cried at the sight of the first casualty.
But then, no more tears for fears. That was the first and only victim of the bate box.
Rats aren't that stupid.
Why would we test rats in a lab if they weren't smart? And why the hell would these rats eat weird purple bate in boxes when they have my plum tree?
Simple. They wouldn't. And they won't. And I don't blame them.
The plum tree is near my bedroom window.
At first the rats stayed along the back fence, but now they are entitled enough to come all the way up to greet me in the morning. Their tightrope skills reaching the juiciest plums, indulging themselves and smacking their whiskers right in front of me. Devouring my juicy, juicy plums.
Now just a pane of glass between us. And I wonder, who's looking at who through the looking glass? After all, it's all a matter of perspective.
Speaking of, I've been waiting to see if the bate would work over the last couple weeks. And all I see are more and more rats. And they're getting bigger and bigger.
Upon receiving a notice of rent increase the other day, I notified the realty company of the rat increase.
Their solution: fill in the holes.
As in fill in the _____?
Since it's all a matter of perspective, perhaps filling in the holes is the solution.
But I'm going to put a deeper spin on it. Because that's what I love to do...dig. Just like a rat.
So it's time to rat myself out: I do have many holes to fill.
There's my obvious holes: my mouth, my nose, my ears, my eyes, my...
And the not-so-obvious holes: my time, my space, my bank account, my meaning of existence...
And this makes me wonder: how am I currently filling my holes? And with what? And is this actually full-fill-ing my hole life?
And does it matter?
Well, if they're my holes to fill I suppose I'll choose to make it matter. And "matter", as a matter of fact, means substance.
Am I filling all my holes with substance?
Where am I filling up holes with garbage, or toxins?
Well, I have been hitting the wine bottles pretty heavy lately...
Why do we call addiction substance abuse anyway? Implying intoxicants are substantial? This logos of language is whacky.
Where else am I filling up my time with unsubstantial garbage? With social media? With fears or worries or overwhelm based on this illusion that I have to keep moving toward some big cheese reward at the end of this tunnel???
These rats are the perfect metaphor for what is prolific in our culture: a rat race. How a-maze-ing.
1. a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth or power.
2. an exhausting, usually competitive routine.
The current political and socioeconomic race reminds me of our rat race culture at large, a race against the clock and a race for resources we believe to be limited. Adding to more and more race-ism.
So I'm going to become my own lab rat with an experiment I'm calling: Filling My Whole.
The solution: fill all of my holes with full-fill-ing substance. Simple!
To become full with what fills my deepest desires in my heart and gut. And to overflow my inner fullness in my relationships and community from a thriving and abundant place. Re-sourcing to my inner source of well-ness within. At a pace that is dancing with time, with the natural rhythms of the season, the environment and my body. Quitting the rat race and enjoying this whole adventure with the curiosity and pace of a cat. Creating an even more full-fill-ing life. And this begins with the first source to re-source to wholeness: food and water.
The formula: Apply guidelines from the Whole 30® Program for August. Filling my mouth hole with whole foods and no toxins. And by honoring every glass of water for it's powerful and cleansing and life-giving magic. And then I’ll choose to continue filling my holes with what is full-fill-ing once my body’s system is clean and clear. Goodbye wine and cheese, and hello juicy plums, or, juicy peaches, since my plums are already spoken for.
If the saying 'as within, so without' has any truth to it, I am will-ing myself to first clean and clear and upgrade my own systems within my body and mind. I have the smarts of a rat and the desire of a cat to make this shift, and so now is the time. And perhaps, just perhaps, my internal shift will cause a butterfly effect by inspiring a shift in our larger systems.
So thank you, my rats, for inspiring me to re-source and be the change I wish to see in our global systems. To embody the change first in my own systems.
I believe my hole rat solution involves bringing in a cat as well.
My beautiful 12-year-old friend Mihna made me a bookmark with the Egyptian Cat Goddess Bast, because it reminded her of me. So I was curious to learn more.
“They Egyptian goddess Bast reminds us of all that is feline and feminine. Her gifts, very cat-like in nature, include:
- the refusal to be at everyone's beck and call and an insistence on the freedom of expression
- to relax and never waste energy
- to luxuriate in beauty
- to refuse to take anything too seriously
- to accept the true nature of things (ourselves included)
- to remain unswayed by the opinion of others
Curled up like a cat lying in the sun, the Goddess Bast forms a complete circle.”
What actually transforms hole to whole?
Well that's obvious, a 'w'. A double-you.
Integrating all the parts of self, the masculine and feminine. The inner and outer. The dark and light. The democrat and the republican. The rat and the cat.
Let the full-filling-ness continue…Down and through the rat hole.