Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

Consciousness of the Self arises in the earliest of our days and there comes a point when its organizing and sorting of inputs, experiences and meanings made has produced an inner sensory array focused on its own Story. There is the Eye that observes the Self in memory and in the present. There is the Ear that hears the Self as it communes with the heart, mind and conscience. There is the emotional Skin of the inner Self that feels the texture, pressure, pleasure and pain of connection, interaction and isolation. There is the sensitive Smell of being embodied in the family of origin with its culture, foods, household routines and hygiene rituals. There is the Taste of community and social life as it is lived out in a particular language, place and time. The elements of this inner sensory array mediate the external or physical sensory inputs through a feeling or intuitive filter. The language, law and layout of the land in which this small pilgrim is traveling is discerned by experimentation. Every instant of felt experience is based on making meanings out of the raw materials of both the external, physical and inner, psychic sensory arrays. Every face, interaction or situation is a Mirror.

Each of us has an accustomed view of the Self that we expect to see in the physical Mirror. Hair color, style, texture, eye color, skin, body type… we know who we are before we ever see our reflection in a mirror, photo or windowpane. There’s a Story that most of us have about our physicality. “I need to lose weight.” “I’m getting OLD!” “Midnight blue is MY color!” Little details of how we show up physically don’t escape our notice unless we’re physically or emotionally compromised. Part of the picture for the physical Self is based on the opinions that others have handed us over the years. Most of us know which parent we most resemble. Families can be vocal about their feelings in this regard! “You look JUST like your daddy.” That can be good or bad depending on how the speaker feels about “your daddy”. In my family on my mother’s side, we have the curse of the “Baker knees”. (I can’t explain it, I just know that these kind of flat knees aren’t enhancing our legs!) There is also the curse of the “Baker Butt”, sadly. We are far too polite to make mention of it to one another, but it’s a fact that a certain flatness there does exist.

Each of us has an accustomed view of the Self that we expect to see in the psychic Mirror. Habits of being, creating, feeling, relating, speaking and thinking are all products of how we have intuited and reasoned our way through the instances of experimentation in our earliest days. Discerning how communication worked (language), who had power (law), and how events and relationships unfolded (layout) necessarily entailed making quite a lot of meanings. Viewed as a collective, these meanings include our conclusions about who we are, how the world works and what we can (or cannot) do about it. This is the Mirror to the Self in terms of its traits of ability, agency, context, mission, morals and value.

We could say that each of us has cast the Self as a Type: who we feel that we most resemble in our physicality and in our psyche shapes the parameters of the choices we make. The outer boundaries of our potential are found, to a great extent, in where WE say that they are. In the same way that the consciousness of the Self arose in our earliest days, the consciousness of our ability to shift what is possible with respect to who we really are, how we show up in the world and what we want to do about it must arise now. When we want to make a physical change, we use an intervention. We cut our hair, buy attractive clothing, change our diet or join a gym. As we repeat these actions, a new habit is born. With time, focus and sustained effort, real shifts occur in our physicality and in what we believe to be POSSIBLE with respect to our bodies.

Our inner lived experience, as filtered and organized through the psychic Self, also has an image that we expect to see in the Mirror of our own perception. This image is based on the opinions, judgments and conclusions drawn by the Self to date. Each of us has beliefs around the shape of our souls: we have an accustomed way of being. Interventions of a different kind are needed to create changes in “how we be”. We seek counsel and support in our efforts to change through coaching, group work, reading, personal practices such as solitude, prayer, meditation, dance,art and other experiences that enhance our focus. With time, focus and sustained effort, real shifts occur in our psyche and in what we believe to be POSSIBLE with respect to our “being-ness”.

What really makes sustained change possible in any area of our lives? Effort, engagement, experimentation, focus and reinforcement of all of these through iterative steps towards our goals. Reinforcement requires engaging with the twin mirrors of our Current Reality and our Preferred Future. Getting to the good stuff requires dealing with where we are and how we got there. A coach can help to move the process forward by holding up those Mirrors until the gap between the present and the future visions has been erased. Would support help YOU in this season? Call us, we’ll help you see just how we help you with Mindful Refocus.

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