A villager lived in a tiny house with his wife, 6 children, mother-in-law, a cow, and some chickens. It was making him crazy. So he went to the village rabbi and asked for help. The rabbi said he could solve the problem: he told the man to buy a goat. Thrilled, the man immediately went out and bought a goat. Now he had a wife, 6 children, a mother-in-law, a cow, some chickens, and a goat. The house was even more chaotic than before. The villager went back to the rabbi and told of the even crazier chaos. Again, the rabbi said he could solve the problem. “Sell the goat.” The man went immediately and sold the goat. Suddenly, all he had was a wife, 6 children, a mother-in-law, a cow, and some chickens. Things were much more peaceful without that goat…
In her book, Living Your Yoga, author Judith Lasater uses this story to explore the idea of perspective. I love the image of the crowded house and the simplicity of the rabbi's sage advice. How often do we lament how busy or stressed we feel only to add one more thing... then another...then another...until we find ourselves completely out of space - mentally, emotionally, and physically?
We can all benefit from a change in perspective from time to time. But rather than add a metaphorical goat to our bursting-at-the-seams household, I wonder if we could instead sell one of the chickens we already have. Is there a standing commitment that you dread every time it comes around? Is there one volunteer shift too many in your routine? Do you expect yourself to do more than is healthy? Or even possible?
Take a good look at your household: consider your commitments and evaluate your energy. Perhaps you have struck a beautiful balance - if so, congratulations! If not, maybe it is time to sell a chicken...