“I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.” ~ Michael Jackson
The dreaded mirror. How many times a day do we pass by a mirror and take a look? I really can’t decide if the mirror is my friend or my enemy. Frenemy maybe? It is merely reflecting myself back to me. Guess that makes me both my very best friend and worst enemy. Damn! Yes, I am a Reiki Master with a potty mouth. Sorry, I do not mean to offend. I think it’s time this be established. Every other word will not be a cuss word, I promise. Truth be told, I love to cuss. So far, I have found no substitute of words that has the same affect for me. Until that happens, it can be a very natural flow of expression. I hope you can overlook it if you don’t like it. =)
I did an interesting, exposing exercise this week. If one is going to take a searching, honest look at their lives, it must begin with a searching, honest look at themselves. Call me crazy, but I did just that. Literally. I stripped off all my clothes (NO, it is not that kind of a Blog!!!), sat down on the floor in front of a full length mirror, somewhere between a cross legged Om and Indian position, and really took a look at myself. What the hell was I thinking??!!?? Oi!
I must admit, it was a bit (ok, a lot) difficult to get past the surface stuff. Holy shit!!!! GRAVITY!!!!!!! In places it hadn’t even occurred to me it would affect. WTF?! Um, can my pap smear now be performed in the dark? Please?! I do not feel anywhere near my biological age. The body in the mirror does not match the spirit within. Who is this person looking back at me??
I both laughed and cried as I took this searching inventory of myself. Why is it that when we first look in a mirror, we are drawn to the things we don’t like? (I am not the only one who does this, right?) At first I wanted to turn my eyes away. Wait. This is me! The person I know best in this world. If I can’t really look at me, who can I let really look at me, both inside and out? Ok, ok. I can do this. Breathe Kimberly Sue. Breathe.
I breathed, centered myself, resolved myself to see this exercise through, no matter what I found. Yes, at first I saw the signs of aging and fucking gravity on my body. The lines on my face, the sagging tissue on my neck, saggy boobs in a place I’m sure they don’t belong, jiggly belly and crinkly places I don’t dare mention. Come on, isn’t this revealing enough?! As I continued to look at my body, I saw a few muscles there. I saw a blend of both softness and firmness. I saw some things I like. My eyes, my smile, my skin, my hair, my legs. Then I reached an appreciation for this temporary housing of my soul. I am extremely healthy. I have no health problems and take no medications. My body is strong and is very tolerant of my demands on it. I have all my body parts and they all work relatively well. I am physically fit. No, I am no Arnold Schwarzenneger, but I am a healthy weight for my frame and can enjoy life without any physical ailments, free of pain most of the time.
Then, I looked in my eyes. No, I will not look away. I will not deny myself like that. Know thyself. Immediately, tears ran down my cheeks. I saw some scars on my heart, I saw some things I am ashamed of, some wounds that are still seeping, gaping open. I saw some things I don’t particularly like, that I don’t want to be there. I kept looking, and I saw so much more. I saw that I am not those things. I saw a loving, tender, kind heart that really cares. I saw strength and resiliency. I saw a gracefulness that I had not seen before. My mother use to tell me that my middle name was not grace. I was pleasantly surprised to see grace there. I smiled at myself as I realized I saw a person I genuinely like. A person bumbling her way through this thing called life, doing the very best that she can. A person who fucks things up sometimes, but has good intentions. I saw a passionate, tenacious person. Stubborn, if you prefer. I refuse to believe stubbornness is a bad trait. Without it, I would not be here. I saw a person full of life and vitality, a youthful, playful spirit, a person choosing to live rather than merely exist. I saw a focused, driven person, embracing her true self. I saw a blend of both softness and firmness on the inside. Yikes! Maybe that reflection on the outside is pretty accurate after all. I saw both a gentle spirit and a fiercely wild spirit unwilling to be tamed. Quite a dichotomy. The softness balances the firmness. Both are necessary. I wouldn’t want to be all soft or all firm.
I use to think changing the man (or woman) in the mirror meant changing the things I didn’t like about myself or that needed improvement. I saw this differently as I looked in the mirror. What if what we are supposed to change is our focus? What if we focus more on the things we like about ourselves, our lives, and each other rather than what we don’t? I recall a moment raising my son. He was in fourth or fifth grade. He was realizing he was not as athletic as other kids. I remember telling him that we don’t get to be good at everything, nor should we all be good at the same things. Some people are smart, some are artistic, some athletic and everything in between. I encouraged him to focus more on his strengths than his weaknesses. This just might be good advice for me to take!
While I could not deny that I am imperfect when I looked in that mirror, I saw nothing there that could not be loved, accepted or forgiven. There really is nothing to be ashamed of. This exercise was not quite as easy as you might think. If you really want to know yourself, who you are and who you are not, I encourage you to take a look at yourself in the mirror. More than a glance. Maybe if we can love, accept, befriend the person in the mirror, maybe the reflection of ourselves in the world around us will change. Maybe if we look for and focus on the best in ourselves and others, maybe the world will indeed be a better place. I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking her to change her ways, and look forward to it. How about you?