I had something happen a few weeks back that took me aback. By that, I mean, I wasn’t myself, I didn’t even recognize myself and my reaction. It’s not like me to get so distraught, the level of my reaction didn’t match what was actually happening, and so, being the introspective seeker I am, I had to reflect upon it. While I was processing this, I was working on a painting I had started prior to the incident. Now, you may be wondering what happened, but let me assure you, the actual event is not important to my story… it in itself, is inconsequential.
What is important is what I learned about myself in regards to my emotional reaction. I knew all this before, but apparently I needed the reminder. In the Zen-mindfulness state I’d been working on, I’d forgotten what it was like to live through a downpour of emotions. My reaction had me pondering it’s cause, so I made a list of stressful events in the last few months and came up with a good dozen crises that, at the time, I’d rolled with just fine, until this last thing that suddenly seemed like life or death. Making the list helped me remember to be kind to myself and give myself permission to be human. It’s really okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are opportunities to learn.
I also realized that oftentimes, people in your life are a reflection of yourself. By trying to have them change so that you can feel better is like reaching out to a mirror and brushing it’s hair. When what you see is messy hair, try brushing your own head, not the reflection that you see. The problem wasn’t really what I was seeing… the problem was me.
Ironic that I’d be working on another Women of the Wilderness painting at exactly this moment, and that it would feature a reflection of the Three Sisters in a snow melt pond. The painting helped sooth my ruffled feathers and as I reflected upon the reflection, it all became clear to me.
The mountains are beautiful, majestic and bold as they march across the blue sky, jagged edges against a perfect day. Below, the trees tumble down obsidian cliffs and spread out on the lava and pumice strewn soil. It’s a nice image, but its composition lacks interest until you get to the almost perfectly round pond. It reflects the peaks, but it shows just a riffle of wind, reminding you, it is not the thing you see, but merely a reflection… a mirror.
Just like life, the thing you see in a mirror isn’t the thing at all. You can’t climb a mountain in a mirror; if you are going to climb mountains at all, you’re going to have to tackle the real one.