Bessie and the Carrot: A Fable about Goals

mule1Bessie was a mule, and very proud of it. Her mother was a beautiful white mare, the proudest and fastest horse in the group. Her father was a donkey, strong and proud and patient. They were both special animals on the farm, and Bessie had the best of both of them.

From her father, she inherited the stamina and toughness of a donkey. She also got his ears. From her mother, she inherited the eloquence and grace and speed of the horse. Together, Bessie was both fast and strong, the most versatile equine on the farm.

Every day, a young boy would saddle her up and climb on her back. He would tie a string around a carrot, and then tie the other end of the string to a long stick. Bessie was excited. Food was right in front of her eyes. All she had to do was move towards it.

Bessie was strong, and could walk for miles and miles. Around her, the green of the forests flashed by as she focused on the carrot. It hung in front of her and was almost achievable. At some point, after a considerable walk, the boy would get off of her back and give her the carrot. Bessie wasn’t quite sure what caused the boy to stop, because it was different almost every time. All Bessie knew was that if she kept walking, she would eventually get the carrot.

One day, the boy made a mistake. He went into a building and forgot to watch his mule. He also forgot to put away the carrot and the stick. The carrot was swinging in the wind directly in front of Bessie’s eyes. She had to have it.

donkeyShe started to step slowly towards the carrot, and as it moved, her pace increased. She went from walk to trot to full gallop in mere moments, reaching for her goal. She felt lighter without the boy on her back. This time she knew she would catch the carrot.
The race continued on for some time and Bessie became lost. She finally did get the carrot, when the string snagged in a branch and the carrot stopped moving. Now she was alone in the woods, ready for her next step.

Which way should she go? The carrot was gone, and there was nothing to walk towards anymore. Before she could move, she had to decide which way to go. She was used to standing in one place, when the boy would tie her to a post and leave. She was very comfortable sleeping on her feet and the warm sunshine made it very pleasant.

As Bessie decided which way to go, she began to look around, searching for a target. She saw some grass that looked rather tasty and those small leaves on the bush feel really good on the gums. Everywhere she looked there was a carrot, or a haystack, or a bush. She moved in all directions, tasting this and tasting that. She moved in circles through the forest, looking and seeing for the first time. Bessie didn’t know what to do. There were too many things to choose from, and she couldn’t make up her mind. So she went to sleep.

donkey-carrotWhen she woke, the boy was stroking her mane and talking to her gently. He climbed onto her back and the familiar carrot suddenly appeared in front of her face. She was ecstatic. Bessie felt comfortable and warm and secure. She knew what to do.

Bessie walked off, along the trail and out of the forest. The weight of the boy on her back felt comfortable and the carrot looked delicious. Sometimes, it is easier when you are focused on one carrot.

There are limitless goals to select from and it is up to you to choose your direction. Some may take the comfortable and secure route, while others taste everything. Sometimes those who are on the secure route forget that there are other options. And sometimes people like me need to be reminded that it is okay to follow one carrot at a time.

Transformation Exercises

1. List three goals that are important to you now.
2. Rank them in importance.
3. Make a list of the steps required to achieve each goal.
4. Set a time frame for each goal.
5. Take the first step towards your most important goal.

Excerpted from Soulwork 101: A New Age Guide to Personal Transformation by Glenn Stewart Coles

©Copyright 2009, 2015 Glenn Stewart Coles

Michael James Lombardo and Friend

Michael James Lombardo and Friend

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