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Letter to My Mirror Reflection

 

Dear Mirror Reflection,

Thank you for being you. You are you and I am me. Though we are certainly related, I am not you, and you are not me.

You are a 1 dimensional mirror image of me. I am a multidimensional living, breathing, feeling, sensing sacred temple of womanhood and Goddess essence. I’m happy that you can capture some of me and show me that in color, shape and shadow, but you will never be able to capture the truth of my soul. So while I may enjoy your contribution to my life, you are not an accurate depiction of me. I will not resource you for answers that I can only get from inside of myself. Even when I look to you to see how I look on the outside, I realize that your version of the truth is limited because you don’t have the capability to see inside of me.

Mirror Reflection, I realize that I often place a lot of responsibility on your shoulders when I ask you to tell me how I look, how to dress, or when I critique my body and my looks each time I look at you. Often you don’t get the best of me at all because when I look at you I belittle or judge myself. Here’s the thing: When I’m feeling poorly about myself, feeling like I’m not good enough, not loveable, not successful enough, etc, I often try to make up for what I lack on the inside by how I can make myself look on the outside. Then when, I check in with you to affirm that I look okay on the outside and I find myself lacking in that department too, it just makes everything worse. Those are the times that I just want to crawl in a hole and I feel so ashamed of myself. I would die if anyone knew how yucky I am feeling. In many ways you are my greatest confidant.

Dear mirror, I hate to say it, but you are actually very shallow. You are not a mirror of my soul essence, yet when I look at you I sometimes forget that. Also, for some reason, when I look at you I’m not able to see myself accurately. What I see is skewed by how I feel. I feel fat, I look fat. I feel ugly, I look ugly. But when I’m feeling great, well then you are my best friend because you mirror that back to me beautifully.

My request to you mirror reflection is this: when I look at you, remind me that you are only a reflection of the real me and as such I should remember not to take you so much to heart. It’s okay to look, but for every peek at myself in you I take, remind me to also look inside me for the real me. For every peek at myself in you I take, remind me that what others see of me is actually deeper than what is on the surface that you are able to show me. And for every peek I take remind me that what I contribute to this world goes way beyond what  I am able to make myself look like in the space between the frame that holds you up on the wall.

And one more thing, Mirror reflection: My calling as a women’s spiritual coach brings me into contact with so many women who are claiming their authentic power and Goddess essence from the inside out. You may be able to show us part of what we look like, but it is not anywhere close to the whole beings that we are. You will never be able to do this for us. The real women that we are can only be accessed from the inside.

Thanks for being you. I am not you and you are most certainly not me!

With love,

Leela

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Planned Imperfection

 

 

I have an amazing painting at my house that is done in the encaustic style. Beeswax is melted and applied to the canvas and there is also some pigment. The artist must work quickly to work with the wax as it hardens. My painting is a black and white portrait of a woman gazing wistfully upward. It is extremely well done, almost perfect, save for one feature. The artist, Bigoudi, always lets some of the wax and paint drip down the canvas, on purpose. She told us that she lets this happen in all of her paintings, to remind us that life is imperfect and so is art and that it keeps us real, just like her paintings. I love that she is not striving for perfection, she is striving for art and beauty and story.

I was reminded of my painting today because of another experience. I have been trying out a new way of eating to see if I can “rearrange” some parts of me that have caused me grief for many years. The regime is quite strict and I was lamenting to my husband that I have lost my enthusiasm for it. I love nutrition and food and am always learning about what is on the cutting edge of information. I have experimented with many different styles of eating and tend to jump in with both feet, into wildly drastic change. Of course, I tire of the structure and abandon it when I feel too deprived. I have learned that feeling deprived is one of the worst ways I can feel. There is nothing juicy about deprivation!

So anyways, I was mentioning to my husband that I was feeling deprived and my enthusiasm was waning, even though I was seeing results after only two weeks. He replied that of course I felt this way, I was trying to do the shift “perfectly”. He suggested that if I were a little more lenient and gentle with myself that I would probaly feel better and less deprived. I have not been one for breaking many rules in my life, although I am learning that not all rules are good rules. So, the last few days, I have planned for some imperfection. Nothing really major, but just some little moments where I purposefully eat what I am not supposed to. So long Good Girl, I am having a blueberry today! How clandestine! You may laugh, and I do too, but it is actually a really big deal. I have never before planned for imperfection. It is really liberating.

Today I was at a health food store with my 7 year old daughter, Zoe, and there were samples out on the counter. I gave her a tiny piece of banana bread and then took a little forbidden square of pleasure for myself. My daughter raised an eyebrow and a big smile grew on her face. She declared, “Good for you Mommy!” She knew I had just broken a rule and that it was a big deal. She likes to follow the rules too, so I feel like I set a really good example today. Definitely not the original vision I had for myself when I was a new mother, but infinitely better and more powerful. I am teaching her that a little fun never hurt anyone, that being gentle with ourselves is a great investment and that planned imperfection can be really, really liberating.

I am so grateful for the lesson I learned from my gorgeous painting. The black drips run down the stark white canvas in places where they shouldn’t be. They are reminders that imperfection leads to deep, deep perfection within because when we accept ourselves for who we are and know that “I am enough”, life becomes infinitely beautiful and fun.

PS Although it pains me to do so, I left a spelling mistake in the 3rd paragraph, at my insightful husband’s suggestion.

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