What the Mouse that Sat on My Shoulder Taught Me

Everything happens for a reason. Whether you like it or not. You’ve got two choices: get the lesson the first time or endure the “punches” till you do.

Uh-huh, it’s that fucking simple.

Okay, I don’t know why I expect you to get it in 3 sentences what took me years to figure out. Let’s just say I’ve been “enlightened” so to speak. I now see what eluded me for most of my life.

I’m giving you a magical key to your best life now, so you can look at things with a new perspective and receive life’s messages loud and clear the first time.

Let’s rewind to the fall of 2013 when the mouse sat on my shoulder.

Migraines and chronic pain ravaged my brain and body for 8 weeks straight; and yes I lived to tell the story. At the time I was super-stressed, angry and frustrated. Every task felt impossible. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Of course, I tried anything and everything to alleviate the pain. Then one day, I had a conversation with a woman who suggested to just breath. She shared a breathing exercise to follow along to and felt it could calm the nervous system in my body that was in survivor mode. At this point I was willing to try anything to get out of my personal hell.

I remember the night vividly; it was a Wednesday, close to 8pm. Somberly I walked down the hall to the living room, iPad in hand. As I approached the entrance to the living room, a tiny grey brown mouse shot through the doorway before me and found cover under my couch.

Context: my house was built in 1855, so yes, mice and I co-habitate but this was too close for comfort. You see I hate mice; they give me the heebie jeebies. So you can imagine the horror I felt as this mouse entered my quiet space prior to me. So what did I do? What any mortified female would do, retreat! Don’t get me wrong I didn’t give up; I never do, easily. Instead I decided to play really loud music for 30 minutes figuring I’d coax the mouse back to the basement where he belonged.

A sufficient time passed and I felt it was safe for me to return with my dogs in tow to the living room to get down to business, I was hell bent to get rid of the pain. As I settled into my yoga mat and pressed play on the breathing app, I could feel my body relax, my mind quiet.

The dude’s mesmerizing voice took me through a series of mindful relaxation exercises, then onto a scan of my body from toes, knees, hips, back and belly. Approximately 8 minutes in, I started to feel like lead, calm for the first time in awhile. The recording directed my attention to my shoulder and asked me to breath into it, notice what it feels like. Well, I’m breathing into it and it felt weird, my spidey sense snapped into high alert.


Picture my body lying on the ground, heavy as a sand bag, eyes closed, iPad on my belly, two dogs sitting on couches inches away… got it, see it in your mind? Yes?

Of course just like a scary movie you’ve got to look. Right? So I slowly turn my head to the left to look at my shoulder to see why is it feeling so “off” and wouldn’t you know,  my little grey-brown roommate the mouse was perched, YES FUCKING PERCHED on my shoulder. Sitting on my person, quite content I might add.

Pause for a moment and plug your ears because I swear you can still hear the echo of my scream!

I jettisoned myself from the floor and 10 feet into the air in less than a split-second; mouse, iPad flying into the air. The blood curdling noise coming from my mouth felt surreal.

As I righted my self back on two feet, I bolted from the living room. The dogs, still intact on their respective couches, watched this unfold with mild amusement.

I headed towards the kitchen that felt miles away, heart racing and shaking from head to toe, I could barely pick up the phone to call my mom! As I hammered away at the keys looking down the hall, to my horror, I see my fucking roommate waddling back for more! I don’t know how I kept in my skin. Screaming at the top of my lungs it finally lumbered away.

My Mom offered to send my Dad over, but I decided to face my demon head on.  Armed with broom and garbage can, I swept him up and deposited him outside. Okay, it wasn’t quite that smooth: it took a few attempts as we danced together while he scurried around my feet… you get the idea. Either way, no freaking uninvited houseguest was getting the better of me. Wondering where my dogs were in all this? Me too, I had no bloody idea. Certainly not helping me.

The next morning, telling this comical tale to my neighbor, she suggested I look up the meaning for mouse. Out of sheer curiosity I did, and the lesson couldn’t have been more loud and clear. In fact, it was perfect.

Mice can’t see more then a couple inches in front of them, so their message is to see what’s right before your eyes and to take action accordingly. Stay focused on the little things and stay connected in the moment, don’t worry about the big picture.

This message was profound and exactly what I needed to hear, as I was spiraling out of control, trying to figure out everything that was happening at that time.

The moral of the story is everything happens for a reason.

The magical takeaway:
Even when things feel like they’re falling apart, they are merely falling into a place. Shit goes wrong simply so you appreciate when it’s right, people change so you can learn to let go… Or in my case unexpected guests show up to help. Either way; you always have a choice how you decide to see it.

It’s like that time you were late for a job interview because your Mom called to wish you luck, causing you to leave later then expected, then the drive took twice as long to get there because of an accident and by the time you show up you’re so frazzled you can’t do anything else but blame her because you didn’t get the job, when in fact if you’d left earlier you would most likely would have been in that accident. Get it?

One day you will look back and know exactly why shit had to happen.
Even that one time a mouse sat on your shoulder. Oh and if you can’t well; you’re fucked.

Shannon Nicholson

I'm Shannon Nicholson; a natural born rescuer and Jill of all trades. I rescue women from the demons of half-dones and I cant's so they can FINALLY launch, build, create and feel like the rock-star they know they are!

Latest posts by Shannon Nicholson (see all)