This mouse was a gift from my dear friend Pat McNeal. I met Pat in 1995 shortly after my divorce. She became a wonderful mentor as I journeyed into this new phase of my life.
Pat knew me well and was a superb listener. One of the things she knew about me was that I was reading a book by a local transpersonal counselor Mary Elizabeth Marlow, titled:
Jumping Mouse: A Tale of Inner Trust.
Mary Elizabeth uses this Native American tale to illustrate our inner journey of trusting our intuitive calling. First, let me tell you the tale of Jumping Mouse in a very abbreviated form, and then I will get back to my porcelain mouse, Mary Elizabeth’s book and how it all relates.
The story starts out in Mouse Village where a little mouse named Jeremy hears a sound that no one else in the village seems to hear. He decides to leave Mouse Village to investigate this sound. Outside of Mouse Village, Jeremy meets a raccoon who told him that the roar in his ear was the river. Brother Raccoon took little mouse to the river, where he introduced him to his friend, the frog.
The frog offered Jeremy some medicine power, telling him to crouch really low and then jump really high. Little mouse took his advice and as he crouched down low he saw a glimpse of the Sacred Mountain. Jeremy then jumped and ended up falling into the river, cold and frightened.
When Jeremy was able to pull himself out of the river he yelled at the frog: “You tricked me.” The frog replied: “No harm came to you. You saw the Sacred Mountain didn’t you? Let go of your anger and fear. It can blind you. What matters is what happened. What did you see?” Shivering, Jeremy replied, “The Sacred Mountain.” Frog then said; “You are no longer just a mouse. You are now Jumping Mouse.”
Jumping Mouse then shook off the water and the anger and the fear and went back to Mouse Village to tell everyone about his experience of seeing the Sacred Mountain. However, no one seemed to really care about Jeremy’s stories. Jumping Mouse stayed in the village for awhile, but could never forget the Sacred Mountain.
One day he decided to leave Mouse Village again. As he journeyed out onto the prairie, he met an old mouse who told him that the Sacred Mountain did not exist, and that he should stay safe and live with him. Jumping Mouse thought about that for awhile, but later realized he had to continue his search for the Sacred Mountain. The old mouse told him he was foolish and that the sky was full of very hungry and dangerous eagles.
Jumping Mouse faced his fears and left the old mouse. Soon he met a dying buffalo. The buffalo told Jumping Mouse that the only thing that could save his life was the eye of a mouse. Jeremy felt he had to offer his eye, even though he could not imagine how it would help the dying buffalo. Once Jumping Mouse decided he had to give up his eye, it jumped out of head and the buffalo was healed and whole again.
Buffalo offered to protect Jumping Mouse from the eagles and led him across the prairie where they met a wolf who had forgotten that he was a wolf. Jeremy wondering if his other eye would help the wolf remember who he was, and as it popped out of his head the wolf was healed.
As Jumping Mouse is now blind, the wolf remembers he was the guide to the Sacred Mountain and the Medicine Lake. He takes Jeremy there. Alone and blind, an eagle swoops down and thumps him on his back. After falling asleep, Jeremy wakes to hear a voice telling him: “Crouch down low and jump. Do not be afraid. Ride the wind. Trust.” He rode the wind and looking down saw the frog, who said: “You are no longer Jumping Mouse, you are now an eagle.”
What Mary Elizabeth offers to her readers is a delightful description of how each animal guide and part of the story is an illustration of the stepping stones in our individual journeys that follow an inner calling.
As I re-glued my broken porcelain mouse, I noticed that his hands were missing and old dried up glue was obvious on various other broken parts. This reminded me of my own journey from the time when Pat McNeal gave me the mouse until now.
When I first discovered Mary Elizabeth’s book, it had literally fallen off of a shelf at a local bookstore in Virginia Beach. I was browsing in the store one day when it landed on the floor in front of me. Of course I was compelled to buy it. In a way the book was the frog. It promised me medicine power, if only I would crouch down and jump high.
From as early as high school, I can remember wanting to become a psychotherapist and move to Boulder, Colorado. Yet, I feared leaving Mouse Village. Reading this book made me wonder if I had been ignoring the sound of the river. I made the move to Boulder in 1998, and the journey has been very similar to Jumping Mouse’s.
There have been many set-backs, fears, regrets, obstacles, and challenges. There have been the people who didn’t care or understand why I had to move so far away, and why I had to take the risks that I did. The people who stayed in Mouse Village and/or with the old mouse– safe, familiar and comfortable.
Some days I feel just like my broken porcelain mouse reaching for the stars without my hands. However, the determination and trust in his eyes have not changed. He still stands strong with the extra glue. He has not been broken, but rather strengthened by the challenges.
So, on this beautiful, snowy, Colorado-spring day I am grateful to have followed the call to be in this place and do the work I so much love to do. Each step of the journey, and each change along the way has made me even more convinced that this is my calling. I may have given up both my eyes and gone blind, but I have also soared like an eagle with the wind and the voice of my soul.
About Patti Ashley: Mothering Beyond Image helps women connect more deeply to themselves and others, therefore feeling more authentic, mindful and whole. Please visit www.motheringbeyondimage.com — sign up to be on my mailing list and stay updated on workshop information. Mothers always want to know whether or not they are doing a good job. This workshop will help you know that you ARE!