Mice and More: A Journey Within
“To be spiritual is to create! The Spirit is alive, conscious, aware and active.”
Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind
Unpredictability terrifies me.
My ex-husband was a trickster. Once, while we were watching TV, he decided it was time for bed. Rather than going straight to bed, however, he raced ahead of me up the stairs, turned off all the lights, and hid… waiting for my panicked reaction. I knew he was there, I knew what was coming, but the shock still caught me off guard.
I react the same way to mice.
Here I am, on a 4-day solo retreat at a very rustic lakeside cabin. I paddled here atop my stand-up paddle board, loaded with all my luggage. The serene waters, the whispers of Nature all around, and the cabin's authentic charm are all enchanting. However, the sight of mouse droppings when I first opened the door, still sent shivers down my spine.
Once arriving inside the cabin, I immediately got to work on mouse clean-up duty. I boiled water, put on rubber gloves, and madly wiped clean all the counters, tables and window sills. I swept the floor, shook out the rugs and blankets, and… finally settled in.
But that wasn’t enough. I remained on hyper alert, listening and watching for any signs of movement. Bedtime has been particularly nerve-wracking; as I have grappled with my fear that the rodents might scurry over my bed in my sleep.
The first morning, I rushed downstairs to inspect my cleaning. Dang! The mice were still here! I felt like I couldn’t bear it! Thoughts of ending my retreat prematurely started to creep in.
Some might not understand this phobia in me. Others might even deem it irrational. For me, it’s visceral; enough to leave me questioning having chosen this location for my retreat.
I began to wonder why I feel this way about mice and not about other things. I went for a swim in the lake, for instance, where the bottom was twiggy and mucky, and the water was cold. So, I’m pretty good and ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway’. What, then, drives this disproportionate fear of mice?
Life is a mosaic of subconscious motives that shape our every move. Coming to recognize these hidden drivers better equips us to mold a life that feels in harmony with our true selves. My ongoing goal is to understand my inner workings, so that I may navigate my daily life with clarity and resolve. The sense of empowerment I feel when I do this fosters a deeper sense of connection with the world around me, and reminds me that we all carry unique wiring from past experiences. Also, the more I learn about myself and embrace my own vulnerabilities, the more compassion I can then extend to others.
Delving into my mouse dilemma, it dawns on me: my craving for control is at the heart of it. Control equates to safety for me. When that control is challenged, even by something as seemingly trivial as mice, my anxiety surges. Mice have their own agendas, and those seem to exist in defiance of my ability to maintain order. I find that unsettling. While I may be able to train my pets, wild mice elude my influence… and this haunts me in inexplicable ways.
Conscious living has become a part of popular culture. Our society has progressed from mere sustenance living to offering lifestyles characterized by luxuries, free time, and freedom. While this shift is undoubtedly a blessing, it also presents its own set of challenges. In the absence of the pressing demands of basic survival, existential crises can perhaps more readily emerge.
Am I projecting? Consider this: what patterns dominate your life? Why?
Are you overlooking the rich, internal world within? Remember, every moment presents a choice.
My recent introspection, prompted by my encounter with the mice, has been enlightening. This awareness has empowered me to make choices with greater intention. I now better grasp my emotions, and I am choosing compassion over fear. As a result, I've chosen to stay, having found a mutual understanding with the mice. What was once a source of dread has now become merely a part of my environment.
As expressed in the above quote from Ernest Holmes, we constantly evolve, unveiling fresh potentials at each turn as we more fully encounter our distinct inner selves. Today, I choose to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me, trusting in my own safety and security.
ACTIVITIES for TRANSFORMATION
~ Observe your reactions: Pay attention to your immediate, unfiltered responses to various situations. (These are the instinctive reactions that precede conscious thought…. They may look like getting irritated by someone's laugh or feeling road rage. Or perhaps you're irrationally afraid of spiders…) Simply take note.
~ Reflect on your observations: After tracking your reactions for a few days, take time to meditate on what you've noted. Delve deep, in order to seek understanding as to the origins of these reactions. If clarity eludes you at first, that’s fine… be patient… continue to ponder, and remain open to insights.
~ Choose authentically: Based on your reflections, identify potential reaction choices that resonate more authentically with your inner self.
~ Act on this self-awareness: Go beyond mere realization to actually scheduling time for these choices. Commit to them, just as you would to a planned date or event. See what shifts.