The Mouse Challenge. What would you do?
Melchizedek is my inner guide. I asked him what he thought of being peaceful in the face of our global crises.
Breathe deeply and come back to your centre, my love, he said.
In this place of peacefulness, does screaming and fighting seem like the resolution to your problems on Earth?
Often, he uses external events to illustrate his point. As he was explaining this to me, I could hear a mouse in my kitchen. Rhabdomys pumilio was its genus classification. It was eating through my kitchen cupboards; not just the food, but also the plastic containers, the wooden shelves, the electrical wiring. Apparently their pee and poo can cause Lymes disease in humans. My heart sank. Part of me wanted to kill it because I’d tried so many other solutions on the mice and none of them had worked. They disregarded the expensive mouse cage that was supposed to catch them alive without harming them. They were unbothered by the sonic mouse repeller that sent high-pitched sounds out into the room that humans couldn’t hear but that mice were supposed to hate. A few months prior to this I had killed one mouse by guillotining it. It had felt awful and I really didn’t want to do it again.
It seemed to me like the issue was more important than one little, rather pretty, dead mouse, with stripes down its back. The resolution to the way we all treated the planet and one another, had to start with each of us individually taking responsibility. And that included taking responsibility in our own little lives. If I killed mice because they irritated me, philosophically speaking, how far removed was that from killing Kurds, Syrian rebels, Assad’s armies, or any of their children? If I couldn’t manage to control my emotions around a mouse, how were we as humanity, going to do so around mass genocide of humans in North Africa, or colossal corruption in our governments?
I turned back to Melchizedek again, feeling hopeless.
Move beyond your little self, he said.
The mouse is a reflection of you, just as your car when it breaks down, is a reflection of you. Or your arguments are a reflection of you. So too are the beautiful mountain and the orange blossom scent in the air. If your environment irritates you, move out of the judgment in your head and into your soft, but sometimes painful, heart. What does the mouse represent of you Beloved? How is the mouse an expression of you? Where is your resistance to it held? What does that feel like?
This sense of symbolic awareness, that my environment was also a reflection of me, was a minefield, and I was utterly disinterested in having other people tell me that my sore tummy, or flu or headache represented some unresolved emotional state that I wasn’t taking care of. Or getting advice from someone else that I should be grateful for the teaching the Universe was giving me when my car broke down, or my mother died. People did that sometimes. It drove me crazy.
But I didn’t mind doing it for myself. The mouse felt stubborn. It was nimble, destructive, messy and very astute. I’m messy, and quick, but none of those qualities resonated deeply with me. I thought about it some more. It felt like the mouse represented that heady part of me that kept on and on and on, gnawing away at things that didn’t serve me, (like the mouse was unlikely to be served by eating empty plastic tubs.) Aah, that resonated more deeply! Symbolically the mouse reflected not only the part of me that gnawed at things, but also, that part of me that felt gnawed at by others. Caring what other people thought of me, was a trait I continued gnawing at long after I knew better. I held onto it stubbornly, as stubbornly as the mouse. Guilt gnawed at me in ways that sometimes felt out of my control; sometimes the guilt made me feel like the chewed over plastic tub.
Recognising this, I immediately felt friendlier towards the mouse. The next morning it was running around my lounge and I shooed it out the front door into the garden. Maybe it’d come back. It didn’t bother me as much any longer. It came back the following day, and then that night conveniently hopped into the mouse cage that it had been assiduously ignoring for two months, and at six in the morning I carted it off to a broken down, uninhabited shack near the graveyard five kilometres away, where it could find shelter from predators without disturbing other people unnecessarily.
Of course that wasn’t the end of the problem though. A week later, one cute little, high maintenance mouse made a cozy nest for her babies out of chewed up scraps she’d harvested from my alpaca cape, shawl and jersey, all of which were special, very beautiful mementoes of my trips to Peru, where my son and his family used to live. The mouse saga continues.
Just like our global problems continue. Getting back to them. How could they too be a reflection of me? If I couldn’t listen deeply enough to a mouse to be able to see things from its perspective, how were we humans supposed to listen deeply to people that had killed our families and destroyed our homes, or to governments that were seemingly unconscious and uncaring of their actions?
I don’t have answers, just questions, and a faint glimmer of hope that perhaps the questions are where the conversations need to start. What would you do?