I had cornered our cat Roshi on the stairs up from our flat. He dropped the mouse, and then suddenly the mouse was nowhere to be seen.
I squealed. I felt a soft lump up near my hip, moving fast. I wailed some more.
I’m lucky enough not to feel that level of fear very often. It rendered me utterly useless. After a short while Kaspa came along and told me to take off my trousers, and the mouse came off me with them, but if he hadn’t been there I don’t know how long I would have stood there on the stairs, petrified.
Sometimes we are too preoccupied with our own needs, our own survival, to see things very clearly. This happens in very subtle ways all the time. We manipulate our friend into spending time with us because we’re afraid of being lonely, and they silently resent it. We buy stuff because we’re afraid of feeling bored. We give advice because we’re afraid of being with the other’s pain.
The more fear, the less clearly we see. This is why it’s helpful to listen to wise others. This is why it’s helpful to sleep on things, and to recognise the fear when it’s present and look after it as best we can. This is why i’ts helpful to take refuge in something bigger than us (nature, a trusted group, the Buddha…) so what-we-take-refuge-in can slowly dissolve the fear by showering us with safety and with warmth.
Little mousey was released into the garden and we both made a full recovery. I’m smiling now, remembering the squirmy little dance I did on the stairs. Go well mousey, and go well you x
(A final reminder that if you’d like your emails to start, neatly, on the 1st of Nov, sign up for my Nourishing November: Writing Towards Healing self-study e-course today.)