1. Including the part and the whole through the Heart
We are living in times of immense chaos. The warning signs are there: global warming, the deep unrest and violence among people and cultures of the world, the lack of coherence inside and outside, etc. We all feel it. The need is great. We are given the opportunity to shift our way of being and doing so that we can have a different outcome. It feels like it is now or never.
Our human hearts have the ability to heal and transform the way, in which we live, relate to each other and to Earth. If we focus on healing our own personal traumas and live a heart-centered life, individually and together we can have a profound impact on the whole. We can shift our individual and collective destiny to a place that is healthy and full of love for all of life everywhere.
World peace begins at home in your heart and mine, which grows from how we choose to meet the moment.
2. Jumping Mouse
A long time ago a young mouse name George lived in a village of mice on the edge of the great prairie. As a child his favorite past time was to listen to the old stories told by the very old mice of the village. The one he loved to listen to the most had a deep resonate voice, which animated each of the characters with a particular charm. There was always some wisdom, some point or some lesson to be learned. The little mouse loved to try to figure it out. George asked a thousand questions while his comrades would get bored and wander off. The story about the Ice Lake in the North particularly fascinated him and he asked the old mouse to tell it over and over. In truth George knew the story by heart.
As the seasons changed George was old enough to help out with mouse business. This consisted of collecting, sorting seeds and placing them in the proper storage piles. His entire community depended on these stores to get them through the long winter. When the snows piled high, they had no access to other food.
George took great pride in his job. He loved wandering out onto the great grassy sea to find some special unique seeds that others had ignored or not seen. Even though wandering too far from home could be very dangerous, George was very careful. He got good at sneaking from one grassy hillock to the next watching out for the black spots. If you were taken unawares, those black spots could mean instant death as Eagle swooped down to breakfast on sweet grass fed mouse meat. He’d known of those who never returned from their foraging missions.
He became good at spotting the plumpest seeds, taking them back and putting them in just the right piles. Day after day week after week the little mouse worked hard. He had the idea that the harder and faster he worked the sooner winter, his favorite story telling time, would come.
While he was out on gathering missions, he became aware of a faint roaring sound. When he moved toward the direction of the sound it would become louder and louder. What was it? The mouse was curious. When he asked the others in his community. they had no idea what he was talking about, which just made him talk about it all the more.
The others were getting pretty annoyed by his behavior. “Just keep your mind on your work and it’ll go away.” So he tried to do as he was told. But the more he tried not to listen, the more he could hear the sound, until it was roaring so much inside his head he could hardly sleep at night. This began to affect his job.
Some even made fun of him, saying, “You’re crazy.” “You’re lazy.” “You’re a silly fool.” They taunted him a lot, until it was unbearable.
He finally got up the courage to go to the old storyteller. He hesitated, embarrassed. He was sure by now that he might be a little crazy. But he had to know. So he asked his friend if he heard the noise and knew what it was.
“Go young man. Find out for yourself.”
That was not exactly what he wanted to hear. “But can’t you just tell me.”
His friend was silent, going on about his business. “But it’s not fair. You don’t understand. Everyone thinks I’m crazy. If I go they’ll know for sure.”
The old mouse smiled and patted him on the back. George slipped away, disappointed and dejected. He felt betrayed by the one person he was sure would help him.
Halfheartedly George returned to his work. The roaring continued, but he did his best to ignore it. For days he focused on seeds, but they just became a bigger and bigger blur of browns and greens. At night the words of the old mouse echoed in his dreams, “Go find out for yourself.” Sometimes his dreams were full of light and beautiful, while others were filled with black spots and huge furry mice laughing hysterically at him. He would wake up shaking all over.
Finally the day came when he couldn’t stand it any more. He had to do something different. To keep on trying to do the same old thing wasn’t working. He truly would be crazy at this rate. So he packed up a little knapsack and stole away in the early morning just before first light going toward the sound.
As dawn began to promise a new day, George found a path that seemed to go in the direction he was headed. Before long, a huge furry person with big teeth and a large flat tail joined him on the path. George was terrified, but this new person, in spite of his huge teeth, nodded in a friendly manner as if it was a common occurrence to meet a fellow traveler on the road. George screwed up his courage and asked if this was the way to the roaring.
“Follow me,” he was instructed.
Soon they mounted a small ridge. As they crested the hill, out before him lay something so magnificent, so beautiful, so awesome that he had no words inside to describe it. As soon as he could find his voice, he asked, “What is THAT?”
“River,” was the simple reply.
A thousand questions began to tumble out of George’s mouth along with a huge sigh of relief. A very heavy burden lifted. I’m not crazy after all. He felt a big swell of peace inside like he hadn’t felt for a very, very long time.
“I’ll take you to a wiser person. She’ll answer all of your questions.”
George felt like he had just hit the jackpot, fifty million of the most beautiful and unique seeds in the world. He could hardly contain himself and started to ask a half a million questions about who this person was.
“You’ll see,” was the cryptic answer.
Oh how George hoped he could trust this furry creature. Just as he was beginning to have all kinds of doubts his companion said, “Here you are.”
He looked around. They were now at the edge of a huge flat rippling expanse. He got scared. This was completely foreign territory. He had no idea about what a river was made of, or why it roared, or where it came from, or where it went, or what the dangers were, or the joys. Here he was, and he saw no one.
His companion had moved on down the path while George had been thinking all of these things. “Wait! Wait! Where’s the one?”
He heard a strange voice that seemed to be coming from the river itself. So he stopped and tried to take some deep easy breaths, 4 counts in and 4 counts out, like the old storyteller had taught him. He needed to calm himself. Who was this great wise being, and where was she? In the river? He heard the deep voice call to him.
“I’m out here.”
Again, George strained his eyes and ears in the direction of this new voice. He saw some small green islands floating on the water. Some had beautiful white flowers and some did not. The deep rhythmic voice seemed to come from there. He remained quiet, still breathing deeply. Getting up his courage, he asked a question about River, directing it towards the green islands. The voice replied with a clear, direct answer. What a relief! Encouraged he began his whole long list. Learning about the mysteries of River and the roaring sound, excited George. How beautiful. What a great wonderful discovery.
Now the voice, who introduced herself as Frog, made a request of George. “I want to show you something even more beautiful and magical, but you are going to have to jump very high and look very far into the distance to see it. Are you willing?”
“What could be more beautiful than River?”
“You won’t know ‘til you see it.”
So George agreed. He was given the instructions to jump as high as he could and look long into the North. He bent his knees, took a deep breath and pushed off as hard as he could. He saw nothing.
“Try again. I know you can do it.”
Again he bent his knees, took several deep breaths and again pushed as hard as he could only to fall to the ground seeing nothing spectacular. He was getting a little frustrated. Maybe Frog was just pulling his leg. Maybe she was laughing at him. Maybe the way he was jumping made him look like a fool.
“Take your time. Center yourself, 4 counts in and 4 counts out. Feel the strength of the Earth underneath you. Ask Her to help you.”
George was surprised by these instructions. They were familiar. They were part of the old stories. Yes, he had forgotten to do those things, and he knew they would help.
So he took those deep breaths, 4 counts in and 4 counts out. He connected with his Heart, extending his Heart Light to his feet, and then to the Heart of the Earth. He made a little prayer asking Her to give him some extra jumping power. Slowly he bent his knees, felt his feet, breathing long and deep, he connected with the Earth. He pushed off harder than he ever had before in his life. He felt a spring in his legs and a power in his body. Higher than ever he went. Keeping his focus to the North, he saw a Mountain so high and so beautiful; it seemed to have a Light of its own. He felt his Heart stretch all the way out to the Mountain, and the Heart of the Mountain stretch back to him in a powerful exchange of Love.
When he landed, he was so excited. Jumping up and down, he heard the rhythmic voice loud and clear in his mind. “That is Sacred Mountain, Jumping Mouse.” But before he could answer, he slipped and fell into the River.
Bubbling and sputtering, almost nearly drowned, he pulled himself up onto the bank. His excitement now turned to anger. He felt like he had been betrayed all over again and made to look very foolish to boot. He yelled. He screamed. He huffed and puffed. He ran up the embankment trying to get home to safety as fast as his little legs could carry him.
When he tumbled back into the community, he was still all wet from River. The other mice looked at him funny. Word travelled fast. “George was in the mouth of an animal who spit him back out. Must ‘a tasted really bad. Told you somethin’s wrong with him. This proves it.”
Nobody wanted to hear that he had discovered the source of the roaring noise. Nobody wanted to hear about the magic of River. Only the old mouse was interested in what he had seen.
Day after day George tried to work harder and faster. He wanted more than ever to find some safety in the familiarity of his community, but the other mice just looked at him sideways with a pitying nod, keeping their distance. This was not comfortable. He tried to ignore his discomfort, telling himself that this would pass.
But it didn’t.
His dreams were filled with the wide expanse of the beautiful River and the luminous Mountain in the distance. A deep resonate voice whispered to him, “Sacred Mountain, Jumping Mouse.” Gradually a longing for that mythical mountain grew in his Heart. He remembered that profound exchange of Love. He had never felt anything like it. It comforted him during the day, becoming a shield against the cold stares. His old mouse friend died, so there was no one to turn to. Finally the day came, when he could he couldn’t stand it any longer. He knew what he had to do.
But he still put it off, hoping for some miraculous shift in the behavior of those around him. Filled with self-doubt, he began to think that he had made the whole thing up.
“But the dreams. It’s got to be there. Really.” Conversations filled his mind.
“You’re so stupid. Even if it’s there, it’s a long, long way off…far to long for a little mouse to travel. A dangerous journey.” This part of him was so logical. It was hard to argue. So he tried harder to focus on his work.
He awoke very early one fine mid-summer morning, after a night of fitful sleep and relentless dreams. He didn’t think. He just quickly packed his knapsack and ran out into the coolness of first light, running as fast as he could—North. He felt an aliveness he hadn’t felt in months. “I’m FREE.”
He ran and ran until he could run no more, crashing at last into a huge grassy hillock. Panting hard, he tried to catch his breath. His legs felt like rubber. His heart was racing. He rolled over and began, 4 counts in and 4 counts out. It was hard to calm down enough to establish the rhythm, but gradually it came. When he opened his eyes, he was looking up at a sky so vast and so blue. He almost felt as if he was swallowed up by it, becoming part of endless blue. All of the puffy white clouds lazily drifting by, seemed to be heading North. One even looked like a mountain. Another like an eagle. He shivered and tucked himself more deeply under the grasses.
He must have dozed off, for he awoke with a start. “Welcome to my kingdom.” He rolled over cautiously in the direction of the voice. There stood the plumpest biggest mouse he had ever seen. “You must be starving. Come feast.”
The little mouse hadn’t realized it, but he was starving. Following his host, the little mouse gasped at the site of so many unique and beautiful seeds that had been laid out for him. He tried his best not to be greedy, but he wanted to taste each and every one. “I see how much you enjoy each of these seeds. What about staying here? It’d help me out. I’m getting old and can’t do as much. I’d share my kingdom with you. Everything you need is here. All the seeds are easy to find. There’s more than enough. It’s safe. Beautiful. And there’s me for company.”
The little mouse was taken aback by this generous offer. It was true. Life here would be so easy, filled with new places to explore and wonderful seeds to discover. The little mouse was very tempted. For months no one had been nice to him much less spoken to him. It felt good. It was very tempting. He needed to think it over without insulting his host.
“I’d like to sleep on it. You’re very generous. Can I let you know in the morning?”
With that the mouse king showed him to a soft safe bed. What a long day. As soon as his head hit the pillow, he was out like a light.
When the bright sun hit his face, he awoke with a start. “Where am I?” Then he remembered. He quietly thought over yesterday’s adventure and the generous offer his host had made. Should he or shouldn’t he. Staying had great advantages but a small voice inside urged him. The mystery of the Mountain and the Love he felt for it propelled him forward.
After a sumptuous breakfast, Jumping Mouse explained to his host that while it was very tempting to stay, and that he was really grateful for the generous offer, and that he appreciated his warm and welcoming company, he needed to be true to his Heart and continue his quest to find Sacred Mountain and the deep well of Love he felt from that connection.
Disappointed but understanding, the old mouse helped him pack a variety of good seeds in his knapsack. He was off again.
By now the sun was high overhead. It was hot. The prairie seemed to stretch out forever. There were black spots here and there, waiting. He ran as fast as his little legs would carry him, watching carefully. It was a lot. He was terrified. One time, he could hear the swish of feathers as the black spot grew bigger and bigger. Just in the nick of time, he ducked down a gopher hole. He pushed himself harder, until he could push no further. This time, again avoiding a hovering black spot, he raced into a grove of cottonwoods hiding under their welcoming roots, breathing so hard he was certain he would pass out. Slowly, he pulled himself together, 4 counts in and 4 counts out. He rested.
Just as he was about to fall asleep, he heard a very strange loud sound. He sat up quickly. What was that? He had no idea. Looking around he realized that he was not in eminent danger. The sound came periodically. It had a sorrowful edge to it. He was curious. Cautiously he decided to explore. Making his way around the copse of cottonwoods, he discovered a huge mountain of shaggy dark brown fur that shook all over when the sound came out of it. Going ever so quietly, he made a wide circle around it only to find the huge furry face of Buffalo, who was obviously very sick.
“Ugh…dying. Haven’t long… been a good life.”
Jumping Mouse was very taken by the deep sadness he felt emanating from the beautiful giant. “Can I help?” he said meekly.
“Don’t know…. only thing that’ll cure me is the eye of a mouse.”
The eye of a mouse. Jumping Mouse was startled. He was a mouse, but oh so small and insignificant compared with this magnificent creature. “Are you sure? The eye of a mouse?”
Jumping Mouse stepped back and thought about it. “Seriously? How could one of my eyes… This being is far more important and beautiful that I am. What’s one eye? I’ll still be able to see with the other…but not so well. What about the black spots? Doesn’t matter. I’ll give him my eye.” The minute that thought slipped into his mind, his right eye popped out of his head and went in Buffalo’s mouth. The huge creature shook himself and struggled to stand up.
“Thank you, Jumping Mouse. I’ve been waiting for you. Get a good night’s rest. Bright and early we’ll head out. You’ll walk under me. I’ll protect you.”
Astonished Jumping Mouse, adjusting to seeing with only one eye, stumbled back to the cottonwood roots and his knapsack. Ate and slept.
Early the next morning he was up and ready to go. Buffalo was there as promised. What seemed simple wasn’t. One step of Buffalo’s was at least thirty for the little mouse. Yes, he was protected from the black spots, but those huge sharp hooves were terrifying. He dared not to slack but kept up the fast pace as best he could. As the sun lowered on the horizon, Buffalo finally came to a stop. “Here you are my friend at the foot of Sacred Mountain.”
At the foot of Sacred Mountain. The little mouse could hardly believe his ears. Slowly he emerged from underneath and looked up. Sure enough here was the beautiful glowing Mountain of his dreams. He was immediately enveloped in a sense of peace, stillness and comfort. Love and acceptance seemed to ooze out of the rocks, contributing to brightness of the Light. Vaguely he heard the words, “Rest here.”
Jumping Mouse turned to express his deep gratitude to Buffalo only to see him disappear down the trail. Exhausted, he nestled at the base of one of the big boulders, ate a few of his seeds and drifted quickly into a deep sleep. Towards morning he woke up in the middle of a dream, in which a wolf was talking crazy and confused. He didn’t seem to know who he was. As he became more awake, he heard the voice of Wolf for real.
“I’m Wolf…. least…I think I’m Wolf…. maybe not. Crow…Badger…no, Wolfff.” The words were muddled. The poor thing was definitely having a very hard time. Very carefully Jumping Mouse snuck around the boulder. Sure enough there was the befuddled Wolf. Making wide berth around to the front of this sad but wonderful creature, Jumping Mouse couldn’t help himself.
“Can I help?”
“No…. only one thing. Am I a…Wolffff?”
“Yes, sir.” He was being very careful, because he knew that mice were like candy for Wolves. “What’s the one thing?”
“The eye of a mouse.”
What! Not again. This couldn’t be. Jumping Mouse’s mind raced. Wolf is so handsome and powerful and pitiful. He’ll eat me the first moment he gets. Wolf or Mouse. Wolf or Mouse. Wolf wins. I could be very close to the boulder and hide immediately. And then what? Gone in a nanosecond. But here at the foot of Sacred Mountain, what better place.
“OK” he said out loud. Immediately the eye flew from his head. Panicked, he gasped. He wasn’t ready.
Oh well. He took one last breath and prepared to be eaten.
Instead he heard the clear and strong voice of Wolf. “Jumping Mouse, I’ve been waiting for you. I’m here to take you to the top of Sacred Mountain. Climb on my back.”
Yea. Climb on his back. With one little flip down his gullet I go. OK, but your choice? Die here slowly from starvation or one, two, three in the belly of Wolf. At least I’d be sweet for someone in the last moment. After a long internal deliberation, Jumping Mouse felt his way bravely up Wolf’s tail, up his back to the scruff of his neck and held on for dear life.
Up the mountain they went around boulders, up steep trails, sometimes running, sometimes trotting, sometimes leaping. The little mouse could only imagine what the terrain looked like. It felt rough and swervy and tipsy. He continued to hold on tight.
The air seemed to grow thinner and colder. Before he knew it Wolf said, “Slide down my friend. You are at the shores of the Ice Lake.”
He could hardly believe it. He was here. Ice Lake. In awe he slid off Wolf’s back onto solid Earth. He cried and cried. He couldn’t see a thing but could feel the beauty and Love of Earth and Sky, hear the lapping of the water and creaking of the ice and smell the cool freshness of the air. As he turned to thank Wolf profusely, he heard another familiar deep resonate rhythmic voice. “Frog is that you?”
“Welcome to Sacred Mountain. Prepare to jump higher than you ever had before in your life.”
Jumping Mouse knew what that meant, so he centered himself in his Heart, took long breaths 4 counts in and 4 counts out, extended his Heart deep into the Heart of the Earth, said his prayer for strength and beauty, and extended his Heart way up into the Sky, just as he pushed off.
Crash! Everything went black.
Confused he heard Frog.
“Open your eyes. Spread your wings Jumping Mouse for you’ve become Eagle.”
“What did you say?” How could he open his eyes he was blind? But there was Light. He could see! He was filled with Joy as he unfolded his powerful wings and took flight. Again and again, his wings churned through the air as he circled higher and higher. His Heart felt so swollen with Love and Joy. Excitement flowed through his body.
Even though he flew so high, he never lost sight of Earth. She looked so magnificent. He could see her curving shape, her blue oceans, high mountains and desert plains. There was River, his first discovery beyond his mouse village. It looked like a beautiful blue sapphire necklace, adorning the body of Earth. He had never seen anything so beautiful and precious in all of his life. He was in love with All of Life. As a child of Mother Earth and Father Sky, he felt both separate and one with All of Life, all at the same time.
And so he lives on carrying the gift of Spirit to people of all sorts: appearing in their dreams, or flying close to inspire them to connect to their Hearts, to breathe 4 counts in and 4 counts out, to reach deep into their Hearts, and to connect with the Heart of Earth, praying for the strength to jump high into their biggest dreams of peace, love and beauty. His piercing voice cries out to each of us, “Sacred Mountain lives deep inside of you and everything, uniting All of Life.”
Enjoy the journey!
 Adapted from a story told by Storm, H. (1972) Seven Arrows. Ballantine Books, NY