This one came to me in a writing practice yesterday. The prompt was “Write about a reflection.” As with all writing practices, I put pen to paper with no idea what would follow. Here it is:
The mirror comes to mind most readily. A reflection of our faces, our hair and clothes – at the worst of times and the best. It’s our best friend, our worst enemy, our strongest critic. While all it really is — is us. Tried and true. Real. Gritty. Gorgeous.
The reflection is external only, but it can tell an inner story that runs deep. Who are we in there? What are we thinking? And more importantly, what are we hiding?
“MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL…”
No wonder that simple expression became such a vital part of Snow White’s story. No wonder Snow White’s story became such a legendary part of our cultures, our shared and collective consciousness, our universality.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of us all?” What would your mirror or mine say to us in answer to that question? Would we like the answer? Would it be what we expect? Or would our mirrors surprise us by peeking behind the masks we wear to family, friends, neighbors and colleagues – reflecting the truth we choose to hide on the outside.
WHO IS IN THE GLASS
Even on our bad hair days, or when we wear wrinkled clothes or bare our faces without washing or make-up – the mirror gets it. Those are just reflections of us on the outside in that moment, but the mirror knows that even the most glamorous make-up and hairstyles, even the finest and most expensive couture can not cover a wrinkled soul, or one marred with the dark blotches of greed, envy, selfishness, anger and fear. Those truths will out, reflected in our actions, our words, our deeds — and in our eyes.
Eyes are the mirror to the soul.
There is a poem entitled “The Man in the Glass” written in 1934 by Peter Dale Wimbrow, Sr. that starts:
“When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.”
I have carried this poem with me since childhood, and even taped it to my mirror many times to remind me that it’s not about the outside appearance. Nice clothes, groomed hair and a charming smile might get you in the door, but who are you then? What kind of person will you be in the room, and what will you do with the opportunity? Our mirrors may not show that.
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
But our eyes will. They are the mirrors of soul that reflect our true selves, the parts that cannot be fully hidden or camouflaged. As the poem says:
“You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.”
Eyes play a huge role in my upcoming novel, The Vessels. Eyes connect and glow like emeralds when Spirits enter their human Vessel hosts. Spirit essence shimmers in the Vessel’s eyes after they unite, flecks of green that brighten when the Spirits connect with the loved one they’ve returned to see. One of the most important eye elements in the book, however, is the rule that each Spirit must connect eye-to-eye with their loved one, through the Vessel, in order for love, forgiveness or redemption to be achieved. The eyes channel truth, heart, pain, fear – and change.
When we seek a mirror that gives us our most real, honest and true reflections, one that is with us at all times wherever we go, whatever we do and whomever we’re with — the eyes have it.