On chasing bunnies

Joe and bunniesYesterday Poppet managed to find a rabbit-sized hole in the perimeter of our ‘bunny garden’ where they get their exercise. My dinner was just about ready when I glanced up to see her perusing our vegetable patch.

I turned the oven down and went outside. As I approached her she headed towards the big slope down to the rest of our big garden, and I followed. I was so close to her. I felt the urge to chase after her, and I surrendered to it, pegging it down the slope as she darted ahead of me. Poppet’s only got one back leg, but that bunny can RUN.

At the bottom of the slope she disappeared under a very big, very dense bush.

As soon as I got my breath back I realised what a mistake I’d made. I already knew running at bunnies was a terrible strategy. Now Poppet was exhausted and startled, and unlikely to show herself for some time. I carefully prodded sticks into the heart of the bush… nothing. I called and circled, shaking her favourite bag of nuggets… nothing. How stupid of me to run at her! I was hungry, and grumpy. My frustration rose.

This urge to chase or force things is familiar to me. I unnecessarily push through tiredness to finish the last items on my to-do list, or I chase my own tail on too-busy days. I feel frustrated with other people when they don’t ‘do what they should do’, and I try to manipulate them when I’ve incorrectly put my safety or comfort in their hands.

We are tempted to force things when we resist the gap between our expectations and the reality of the world. As I slowly came to accept the new reality, that Poppet was hiding in a big bush, the frustration started to dissolve. I brought my food outside, sat on the grass, and settled down to wait. I looked at the sky and at the flowers, glowing in the evening light. I breathed.

A little while after I’d finished eating, Poppet poked her white nose out and started to amble her way back up towards her hutch. I followed at a respectable distance, chanting to keep us both calm, gently redirecting her when necessary. She happily re-joined her friends Smokey & Joe, and I left her nibbling on hay and maybe recounting her adventures.

When do you feel tempted to push or to chase? When do you resist reality? How could you settle in for the wait instead?

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