Where is safety in this confusing world with challenging issues all around us? What single thing do we all need to keep our balance and move forward with confidence? A quiet place to reflect and figure things out. Other people to share thoughts come second.

When I was a child and I needed some space to be alone with my thoughts, my haven was a tiny space under the stairs. My mom called it my “mouse house” and respected my need to detach and work things out on my own before having the inevitable conversation that started with, “Mom, I was thinking…” and often ended with a deeper understanding of my concern and myself.

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The space, though cramped, was quiet and safe and gave me the opportunity to probe all the angles of what I worried about before I felt brave enough to share. It was a way to tune out the noise of what other people were saying and a chance to tune in to how I was feeling. Sometimes, I would mull a problem over until I realized the negativity was coming from within … and in the safety of my little space I could practice speaking out loud and to myself. Words that sounded foreign at first would take on a more confident air in my mouse house and were easier to take on in the real world after first having spoken them in that space.

When we moved to a bigger house with no niche under the stairs, mom was quick to offer me the room with the walk-in attic. Mom always left a corner of it unladen with boxes so that I would have a safe space to work out my teenage angst. It would be in that same space that years later, I would hole up after my parents died to try to make sense of my feelings of aloneness and to first speak out loud my plan to move forward.

I’ve since graduated to a mouse house encircled by trees like a giant hug. It is in the safety of this place that I have chosen to heal, to find my voice and to begin again. When I reach my own conclusions, then I can share my thoughts and feelings with others whom I trust to ask for help.

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Elizabeth Viszt
Elizabeth is a certified Educational Specialist and Success Coach. She has a BA, MS in biology with a concentration in ethology (animal behavior), is an EAGALA Equine Specialist in equine assisted learning and personal development, and has extensive personal leadership skills. She spent much of her career in education at the high school, college and correctional facility levels teaching biology & chemistry and acting in the capacity of a success coach. Elizabeth presents workshops and seminars which address communication issues as they manifest in personal relationships. She uses writing as both a creative and cathartic outlet, especially after losing both of her parents to cancer in 2015. She lives in upstate NY, on a farm that bears the name of her motto: Be Unreasonable! She's invested in empowering others in moving their pieces forward in the world.

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