“The essence of bravery is being without self-deception.”
I love how this saguaro is showing ALL of itself, from its amazing flowers, to its buds that are in process of becoming more than they are, showing its scars from woodpecker beaks, as well as displaying its numerous prickly spines…
And isn’t this how we all are?
A mixture of parts that are beautiful arrivals, parts that are “in process”, and then some that are prickly and difficult to handle…that we probably seek to avoid?!
A combination of beauty and scars…
This saguaro seems to be, in this moment, a perfect reflection…of me!
And so also of each of us.
It is showing everything…
All that it is right now…
And as it grows, it will change and reveal even more.
And as I see myself still in process of learning how to reveal myself…
Learning to accept who I am and then to reveal my complete true self to others…
I see that I am a mirror.
As are each of us.
Mirrors, like this saguaro, are everywhere…
In other people.
In practicing seeing these mirror reflections with curiosity instead of fear, we will be able discover, grow and then reveal more of ourselves, freeing ourselves and others in the process.
Whenever we look in a mirror, we are, on some deeper level, wishing to see a perfectly prepared human being before heading out somewhere. We hope we have taken care of everything ahead of time, and we will be willing, on varying levels, to change (some!) things that aren’t matching our expectations. However, we also know that there is a good chance something may not be exactly as we would like…but we just don’t want to deal with it…so we look away and focus on other things! Regardless of what we look at or not, if we’re looking for a clear unbiased view of how we are presenting our physical selves, a mirror will give us the whole picture.
Pausing to look, we may notice:
A crooked tie
A tag sticking out
Some misapplied makeup
So we use our mirror to self-correct…
And are free to ignore whatever else we choose.
Regardless of our reaction, this reflection always gives us the reality of how we look in the moment…at least physically.
The quote above made me Pause to ask “What other parts of myself need a “mirror reality check” so that I am presenting myself – my Whole Self – authentically…not just in body, but also in mind and spirit?
First let’s begin with one more check in our “physical mirror”, because there’s more involved than just how we’re dressed, cleaned up and coiffed.
Besides how we look with our clothing, hair, etc…we all are presented with a view of our body in general…and a reminder of our health as well. We are each given this miraculous “machine”, if you will, that functions day in and day out mostly without our noticing or involvement, pumping blood, breathing, processing the food and drink we put in it, warning us of injury, moving about getting done what needs doing to complete our day.
But when was the last time I stopped to appreciate the body I have and all that it does for me?
Okay, yes, regardless of my opinion of its current “shape” or “condition”, just Pause a moment or two to find one to three physical aspects of yours that, upon consideration, are actually pretty amazing…and yes, plenteous!
Next, just allow a feeling of gratitude for these to fill you up for just a few moments.
Now, if somewhere during this “mirror check” you heard a “voiceover judge” that threw in anxious or maybe negative comments like “Things could be better,” or “I wish I were/had more ________,” or “I really need to improve X but how to find the time?!?!” or “No one’s going to accept THAT…”
You are not alone!
If we’re like most folks, we hate hearing those fearful internal reminders that we’re “falling short”, “not enough,” “drifting behind”…but they often bombard us…and we wish they would just stop.
In attending to our full reflection, not selective pieces of it(!), we can begin to eradicate our fears of “not enough”.
Maybe we need to make that doctor or dental appointment we’ve been putting off…or perhaps begin a diet that better supports our health…or start an exercise regimen that will strengthen and energize us more fully…
And so on the list goes!
The point is, regular mirror checks remind us to take care of things as they show up.
What one small thing will you choose to do differently today as you work on adjusting your physical reflection?
What could you thank your physical body for today?
Remember, one small Pause can have giant repercussions!
Moving away from our “physical mirror”, we have also “mind mirrors” and “spirit mirrors”. These are often a little more difficult to discern because they are internal, so they require that we use a bit more effort to look into them with clarity and honesty.
Quite frankly, there are some things in there that we just don’t want to see or acknowledge (to ourselves or anyone else!)…so we choose to “turn away” from these mirrors, using such things as busyness, work, food, shopping, material acquisitions, exercise substances like alcohol/drugs (and much more!) to escape what we might see.
As we can use anything to “look away” mentally or emotionally, this essentially boils down to noting our habits of “overuse”. It is not whether we perceive something as “good” or “bad”…but instead becoming aware of being out of balance and excessive in one or more areas of our lives. Yes we need food to live but we may be choosing to overeat or to eat unhealthy foods. Yes we need regular exercise but we can easily run our bodies down or injure them by pushing them too far too fast. I just spent several weeks recuperating from overdoing several physical activities, not paying attention to my wiser inner “Voice” (more on that in Part 2!) that was telling me to back off a little…. The activities were all “healthy” but the frequency and intensity I chose was not healthy for ME. So I was “benched” for several weeks, reminded that that’s what happens when I “look away” from the mirrors that I have!
Just being watchful and aware of where we may be overdoing things, catching things early, is always a huge step in the direction of change.
Just like the physical mirror, we can use mind and spirit mirrors for checking the reality of our mental and emotional/spiritual states…and for making timely and appropriate self-adjustments within ourselves.
But here again we’re faced head on with that “honesty” component:
We are either acknowledging ALL that is reflected OR we are selectively refusing to acknowledge one or more things that we don’t want to admit are there.
Black or white.
No gray there at all!
And this brings most of us to a full halt.
We use techniques like procrastination and laziness as our excuses for looking away…Because down deep, we are afraid to see everything that is there. Even procrastination and laziness are actually forms of fear: fear of failure, fear of being responsible.
Ultimately, if we don’t practice first loving what we see in the mirror, we will fear it.
Fortunately, both our Mind Mirror and Spiritual Mirror are available to help us overcome being “stuck” in our fears.
But we have to be willing to Pause and look more closely…
So I hope you’ll be joining me for Part 2, where we’ll reflect (pun intended!) a little more deeply on those two remaining mirrors…
Mind and Spirit.
See you there!