possum in a live trap, door propped open with screwdriverA raccoon started marauding our hummingbird feeders last week – as well as some things in our garden. So last Friday night we set a [LIVE] trap for it.  I was up before dawn on Saturday, saw something in the trap and went to look. Instead of a coon, we caught a possum.

But not just any possum. A possum that had a powerful lesson for me and you about life – about living in scarcity and living in abundance.

Because possums are nocturnal creatures, I knew I needed to free it quickly – while it was still somewhat dark. So I grabbed the two screwdrivers I use to open the trap door and went outside.

The possum watched as I approached but didn’t show any sign of fear until I bent down and began to open the trap door. Then it backed away from me – cowering in the back corner of the trap. As I continued to struggle to open the door, it began to hiss & growl.

Finally, I managed to open the trap door. Holding it open, I moved to the side of the trap so the possum could see the opening. I expected him to make a quick break for freedom. But it didn’t. It actually backed more deeply into its corner – still hissing and growling.

Figuring he needed a little help, I picked up the back end of the trap and tilted it slightly thinking that would make him run toward the door. It didn’t.

He just hissed at me more loudly.

Realizing that he was so focused on me that he didn’t see the open door, I next used one of the screwdrivers to prop the door open (as you see in this picture). Then I went in the house to make a cup of tea and watch from afar. With me out of sight, I was sure he would quickly leave the trap.

But ten minutes later, he was still cowering in the back corner!
By then, the sun was starting to come up so I knew I had to act quickly. I went to our barn to get a thin plastic garden stake – it was time to give this possum a little prodding.

So that’s what I did. I put the stake through a hole in the trap and gently prodded his butt – thinking that would get him to move. It didn’t. So I prodded even harder – trying to PUSH the possum out the door. The more I prodded, the more this possum resisted. He would not leave the trap.

Frustrated, yet determined to set this possum free, I tried a different approach.

Starting at the back of the cage, I GENTLY banged the stake against the top of it – which made a small rattling sound. At the sound, the possum took one step backward – TOWARD the door!
I repeated the gentle banging – this time a little closer to the possum AND the door. He backed up another step. Each time I rattled the cage – the possum moved closer to the door.
Finally, his butt was at the door – he was almost free!

And then he did something I did not expect.

He ran back into the trap – back to the corner he had been cowering in.
WTH????

So I tried again. I gently banged the top of the cage. Every time I did so, the possum backed away from the sound. Finally, his butt was at the door.

I held my breath. Would he go through the opening this time?
NOPE!

He ran right back to the corner he had been cowering in.
By now I was laughing – what a silly possum!
Hoping the third time would be the charm, I started the process all over again. Each time I banged on the trap, the possum backed away – moving closer to the door. Then he was at the door – with his butt (literally!) hanging out of it.
I banged one more time. This time, he took a step OUT of the trap.
At first, he was so focused on my banging that he didn’t realize he was free.

And then he did. He turned around, ran toward the trees and was gone!
FYI – if you’ve never seen the back end of a possum running, know that it’s hilarious. It gives a whole new meaning to “waddling”!
So, besides the fact that it’s a hilarious story, you might be wondering why I shared it with you and what it has to do with scarcity, abundance and you.

Here’s my take on it – see if any of it resonates with you like it does with me.

WE are the possum, my friend – you and me. Only the trap we’re caught in is what I now call The Archetype of Scarcity. It’s the invisible “operating system” that’s built on an INACCURATE perception of scarcity that permeates our world. Trapped inside of it, we spend much of our life living in FEAR (even if we don’t know or like to admit it.)
Inside this “scarcity trap”, we often feel threatened, powerless, frustrated and/or angry.

Sometimes we hiss and growl, piss and moan – trying to seem more powerful or feel better.

At other times, we try to hide – making ourselves small, cowering in a corner of our lives.

We say that we WANT to be free. We say we WANT to experience peace, joy, fulfillment and well-being – we WANT to experience abundance.
But our INNACCURATE perceptions of scarcity (about life, ourselves and money) keep us in the trap – unable to see a way out. Besides, as much as we don’t like the way things are, there’s a certain “safety” in its familiarity. When encouraged or prodded, we sometimes resist. On the verge of having the FREEDOM we want – the abundance – we often run back to that familiarity. We cling to our perceptions of scarcity – especially the ones about ourselves.

And yet here’s the thing that I most want you to know – the thing that offers us hope.

Through it all, Life (and the Source of Life) keeps rattling our cages, patiently, persistently and lovingly – wanting us to be FREE. Wanting us to FULLY and freely be the unique human beings we were created to be. Wanting us to experience ourselves as part of Something Bigger than our individual perceptions, efforts and lives.

Sometimes we resist. Sometimes we cower. Sometimes we take a step in that direction – butt-first or head-first. Sometimes we get scared and run back to what is familiar.

But always, the Source of Life and Abundance will continue to rattle our cages or do whatever is necessary for us to be FREE.

To experience the abundance that’s available to us when we get out of the trap the Archetype of Scarcity creates. And to step through the OPENING into the Something Bigger that is always at work FOR us and THROUGH us. Into the ongoing flow of resources – in abundance – that are available to support us.
Including lessons learned from possums caught in traps. 😀
So that’s how this silly possum taught and supported me, my friend – and the learning it offered me.

If you find yourself relating to the possum and wish someone would do for you what I did to support it, let’s connect! I’m REALLY GOOD at gently rattling the “scarcity trap” my clients find themselves caught in – and setting them FREE!