Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Voice of Mirrors

We live in a world full of mirrors. A friend of mine and I were recently discussing a difficult relationship he has been in for a very long time. He didn't understand why it was so hard. I simply commented to him that his wife was a perfect mirror for him. I don't think he particularly liked what I said, but it is true. I have known them for a long time. I first heard this idea many years ago from a spiritual teacher and I didn't like hearing it at the time either. We all love the Nordstroms mirror...you know that one...it makes us look GOOD in a new outfit, even flawless. We all love our Nordstrom mirror-friends. But give us a mirror out of a traveling carnival...you know the ones...the ones that are all distorted, and we don't like those mirror friends who reflect back our flaws, maybe even bring us pain. Not fun.

When I first began doing seriously self-reflective work I felt ashamed at what I perceived as flaws in my being. Being much wiser and older now, I have come to appreciate the friends who show me what is holding me back from my life. They did not show up to torment me. Just the opposite, they came into my life because a part of me, a soulful part of me, wanted more from myself and my from the life I was valiantly trying to live. I had no ability or chance to change my perceptions until I could see what perceptions needed changing. My distorted mirror friends gifted me with insight even though the reality of what I saw at times was not only embarrassing but painful. But heh...surgery is painful. So is childbirth! Living life sometimes feels like one or both of these!

The trick is not letting that distorted mirror trick you into believing you are the distortion. Looking into those mirrors is like walking through the "fun house" of mirrors that traveling carnivals sport. The fun house is darkened and complex, weaving you through a maze of false images. The difference between the fun house and real life is that the fun house eventually leads to an exit. When we leave that building, we know we are not the distorted images we saw. When we feel the sun shining on our face, we know we are alive, vital human beings that can vibrantly love, be courageous in the face of life's changes and challenges, can achieve whatever our heart's long for. The trick is not staying in the "fun house" which...in the end...is no fun at all.

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