Mirror, Mirror…

Mirrors are funny things when you really think about them. A reflection tool that has become the most critical space in our homes, work place, stores, everywhere we go. How often when you look in the mirror do you say something positive? When have you actually looked in the mirror to compliment yourself, and genuinely explore beyond the image into the truth behind the surface? Have you ever even thought about the impact of your mirror in your life? Can you spend a day without looking in one? An hour?

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Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Believe me, I am very human in this experience too – I look in the mirror and criticize the body I see, notice there are more grey hairs, wrinkles, and…. I try to catch myself and shift this harmful self judgment, this unkind comparison to what “society” deems as perfect and beautiful. I remember asking my students once, “Who defines perfection?” They looked at me baffled at first and then we undertook a conversation about society, the media, and all the places they are hit with “perfectionism gauges”.  I inquired, “Why do we buy in? Why do we agree with this image of  perfection? Why do we give it power?” Well now, that opened up a whole other can of worms that led to a powerful sharing about being bullied, feeling never enough, not eating, and the list goes on…. Image is one of the most crippling impacts on our society today. Expectations and judgments bombard us from every direction!!

Recently I stayed at a yurt all by myself for a few days. It was a time for me to heal, contemplate, explore, and to sit quietly with myself. Each day I went for a long walk, the wind would wake up my skin with its crisp fingers, my hair swirled with freedom, and I felt the natural flow of my body as I stepped in the sand along the lakeshore. I caught myself feeling beautiful, feeling vibrant, alive, connected to everything around me. I allowed myself to explore the sensation, “Was I beautiful in that moment? Did I look pretty, in the cold grey windy day?” I had no mirror to view myself in, no comparison to judge myself against – just the pure sensation from within that I was a wonderful beautiful being. Hmmm…why do we give that feeling away? Deny it? Self judge and criticize?

Have you ever watched a child in the pureness of being? In my young years I worked in an International Daycare while going to college. I loved watching the diversity of young faces all around me – they would laugh, sing, dance, play, and be in absolute presence. They did not worry about their looks, how they compared to another, or if they were doing it right. Only if a teacher or caregiver commented did they judge or think about their actions/image. Why do we let go of this care-free vibrant truthful way of being? Yep, that circles back to the conversation with my junior high students – the societal “teachings”. Fear of judgment and not fitting in.

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“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Years ago when I worked one on one with people to explore their relationship with food, it always circled around to how they viewed themselves – fat, skinny, old, young, not attractive, not good enough, and the list goes on… I began a practice with these people, where every night they were to look in the mirror, seriously look in the mirror – make eye contact with the image, with themselves. They were to stand there and take a few deep breaths, reflect on the day, and then share into the eyes/image before them all the amazing ways they showed up that day. They were to share at least three, more was great!! Then after a couple more breaths, they were to share from a loving place at least three things they loved, valued, and honored about themselves. This was a very uncomfortable practice for most people. Yet in time it shifted how they saw themselves, they began to be kinder to themselves, and to recognize all the ways they showed up every day in a caring loving capacity. This practice was not about the ego, it was not to puff up the muscles, or improve the makeup – it was to remove the masks and really see within. As we expand in self love we open to loving everyone and everything more…it is a glorious ripple effect.

I invite you to really look in the mirror. What are the truths there? How do you treat that person you see? What do you tell that image? Is that what you would want your children to say to themselves? Is the judgment you bestow upon your image what you want your spouse to do, your friend, your…??? Then why do you practice such behavior upon  yourself?

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“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?” ― Jodi Picoult

Feeling attractive, desired, loved, happy, and wanted comes from within us – it is our natural state if we allow ourselves to feel it. As I walked along the beach my truth bubbled up, I am beautiful from the inside out, I am a good person, I am a loving, compassionate being who loves to dance, sing, play and be… “Mirror mirror on the wall look at all these amazing beings!”

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