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Mouse Mind

We’ve had a mouse problem. It started with a text from Virginia on my Monday morning walk that said “Mouse! Come home!”

I came home, seemingly trapped it in a bathroom and went to get some mouse traps. By the time I returned, it was gone. But we set our traps and the next morning, there he was — in the trap near the pantry.

Just to be safe, we left the traps out. The next morning: another mouse, smaller than the first, in the same trap.

And the next morning? Yup, the same thing.

Now, this had me mildly freaked out. I didn’t realize there were five mammals sharing this space. What made it even worse was that I didn’t know about these other three despite the fact we were all here ALL THE TIME. Shouldn’t I have seen some signs? (Though maybe the recent cold snap brought them in recently.) That, and the increasing number of COVID-19 infections in our community, had me feeling very much trapped and stuck in my house, in my life.

Until last evening.

I was participating in my congregation’s midweek mindfulness checkin, which occurs on Zoom. After we completed a 30-minute exercise, my minister asked us to hold a thought that had been occupying our attention more lightly. And for whatever reason, this provided a real sense of lightness and relief.

Instead of seeing my home as a punishment and a penalty, as a place where I was stuck, I saw it from the mice’s point of view: my house was warm and a respite from the oncoming cold. It had lots of places to cuddle up and relax. It had more than enough food for all the creatures living under its roof.

I realized what was true for mice was true for me, too. My home is enough. It can keep me safe and happy — if I choose to be safe and happy. All I have to do is embrace mouse mind—without quite embracing mouse—and stay away from the peanut butter smeared underneath those dangerous-looking plastic teeth. Seems doable, and a reminder that the world is equal parts what is and what I perceive it to be.

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