Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

About 18 months ago I bumped into my friend Rachel. After not having seen her for some months, I was quite taken by how well she looked. She had lost a healthy amount of weight and had a wonderful glow to her. Struck by the change, I asked Rachel what she had done differently in her life to bring on this change. Her reply was that she had gone on a mirror diet. She had stayed away from the mirror for a couple of months…

It had me thinking how often women listen to the self-critic in the mirror. I’ve seen hundreds of women stand in front of the mirror… and cut off not just pieces but chunks of their body in their minds. What we see in the mirror is often not an accurate version of ourselves, but a distorted one.

It’s time as women to see our selves as more than the sum of our parts… to quiet the inner critic… and to listen to those gentle voices in and around us, the ones that see our beauty and our potential. When we listen to those voices, they then become our mirror opening us up to a whole new world of possibility.

Rachel Speaks:

The Mirror is a tricky tool... Almost a life of it's own, dancing between being a friend and a foe... two sides; a mirror can show one's beauty, or sit on the panel as the harshest critic.
Nah, of course we all know that the mirror is an inanimate object, and that it is indeed in the eyes of the looker to perceive and "assess" what it is that they see... But not many of us recognize the power we hold as the perceivers we have come to be. The same tool can be used to uplift or damage, but in the end it is we who use them to either demolish, or recognize a finely crafted work.

So many of us shroud ourselves in insecurity. We all have at some point or another… Cloaked in this rough and gritty shroud of perfectly justifiable insecurity, we have been trained and domesticated to eat the poison apple… Snow White ran from that reflection, and found the 7 Dwarfs. She was cared for, and her new perspective became the archetypes of each of those dwarfs, grumpy, sad, needy, lonely, funny, joyous, dopey… and in the end.. It was her reflection on the kiss of prince charming which gave her the "happily ever after". She had so many choices in these external mirrors, and she chose that of the handsome man rather than her own true reflection, from her center.

And we were trained just so; to look out for a reflection that fits, and well… we are pretty much hell bent on regurgitating what we believe- even if much of what we believe we see is not what we wish was so. And regurgitation multiplies. Focus is power, even when we are not aware of that power. Practiced focus is the most powerful. It's what shapes our ever changing now. As we rev up our engines and barrel down the runway, it is most important to see the destination, be clear about it, and, if after careful assessment, we see that it really is a desired destination, take off. The bricks are far easier to remove from the runway… before we start the engines.

As we are domesticated we come to some pretty clear decisions about who we are, and we relate from those places, beginning early on. And unless we are pretty fortunate, we are often sent out onto runways we didn’t even want to be on, much less given the time or opportunity to clear them from our own centered place of knowing. The way we look at our bodies is often far from any centered place of knowing, and rather from some pretty displaced critical place.

I don't do scales. I never have. We had one in my bathroom as a child, but it didn't work. I remember it was yellow with a big bulbous face... It was always ten or twenty lbs. off, but you got on it anyway just to hear the mechanics inside squeak out some random number. I don't know if it was that scale or the fact that I was always slender, but weight was never an issue for me. Until I had a baby. He came out but the weight never left. I really didn't notice how much until I got on a scale in a friend's bathroom. The thing said I weighed 190 lbs! There was no way it could be right. I went home and got naked in front of the mirror. Turning as though I was on a slow roasting spit, I searched my body to no avail for any evidence that could prove the scale right. No matter how many times I turned, or ways I bent I couldn't believe it, how could i fit all that weight into my body? Instead of getting on another scale, I decided that I would let the weight go and left it at that. Several months later I stepped on that same scale and found myself 35 lbs lighter.
I knew that all it took was to let it go.

Some years later, I suffered the wrath of birth control pills. Actually I think that the real work in those god forsaken pills is to make a woman frumpy, depressed and eventually, undesirable. The secret behind Birth Control Pills: eventual involuntary abstinence. (But that's another topic altogether...)
I found myself gaining weight again. This time, it was the mirror telling the tale. There was no denying that I had put some pounds on, and it was clear where it was landing. I didn't have to turn far to find the flab, and now I felt rather like a pig on that slow roasting spit. I was once again standing in front of the mirror in disbelief, but this time it wasn't the scale that I couldn't believe. For two years, just knowing that I could change my view and drop the weight, wasn't enough. I actually had to change my view, and it occurred to me that if I just stopped looking altogether, maybe I could see it go. It went. Within three months of stepping away from mirror gazing, I had to come up with an entire new wardrobe. People stopped me for my formula, "How did you lose all that weight? You have to be dieting? Exercising?" Nope, I ate a bialy this morning with a pool of butter in the middle.

Many people watch their calories and go on diets cutting out certain or most foods, remaining focused on their intake in order to lose weight and more often than not, keep the weight.
I watched my mind, went on a mirror diet and cut out the mirror and thereby a lot of negative chatter and remained focused on being joyous in order to enjoy my days. And it worked.

If you read the last paragraph again, you will find a difference in the typical way people go about diets and my methods, can't say mine is the right one for all, but it was for me.

There are theories that suggest that extra weight is padding against negativity. Some theories suggest that extra weight is the result of too much food. And/or a combination of both. And maybe it is. But I know for myself, that my body; a microcosm- is responding, much like my life experience; a macrocosm, to how I focus my attention.
The mirror, a perfect example, reflects with purity, that of the gazer.
The mirror will show nothing more than what one looks for.
You can use a mirror to see the beauty or find a fault, and it is the looker who decides.
What you see is what you get.

I cannot say what it was that has brought me to feeling beautiful, in my body or beside the love of my life, but I can say that looking for beauty rather than noticing and scolding what I find in the way of that beauty, has a lot to do with it.

I believe that Isis was taken by my experience because she acts, in her work, like the mirror we wish we all had on our dressing table; the one that comes looking for the beauty... finds it and reflects it back.

And you have no choice but to believe her. Her mirror is a lens and you get to keep a bit of what she sees.

(ps. to view more of Rachel's writing please visit http://www.palaceofmuse.wordpress.com )


Gypsy Eyes Jewelry said...

Muy Bonita, Mamasita!

The right side of 40 said...

Wee gift for you over on my blog...