I was on a run the other day at the bright, warm & shiny time of day when sunglasses are ineffective & accidents are about to happen. Yes, I lack the self-protective, conservative gene. Or the forethought to consider my timing more carefully.
In any case, as I ran across the sidewalk, in a small Connecticut town, I found myself wondering:
Is it our shadows that define us or is it the mirror which guides us?
Mid-stride, I caught myself turning my head & looking back at my shadow. Certainly, I knew the image of my shadow would shift in tandem, but could catch it in my peripheral? I repeated this awkward maneuver a couple more times in the next few blocks. Turns out, one can never fully capture the reflection of their own shadow. Well, that may be an overstatement. As a Google search alerted me, it seems philosophers are still pondering this question. To be certain, my three attempts, on this particular day all failed me. I wonder still, how much impact can the shadow of one’s past have on the future? Any shadow is merely a reflection of a moment in time & space. It is representative of our current actions, yet never fully catches up with us. Shadows represent our past, history, the image of what we believe to be following us.
In reality, few have the time, concern or wherewithal to reach within the past & try to discern any meaning from it. (Yep: Introspection, Reflection & Meditation- trendy for a resume; few subscribe to the magazine). Reality, it lives in the future. Reality is looking us right in the eye. Right in the mirror, if you pause to stare right back at it.
Being a 21st Century American woman, I tend to steer away from too much unsupervised mirror time. This tool, which helps us create & define ourselves can also be a tool of destruction. (Anyone with a vested interest in vanity probably understands. Joan Rivers certainly does, but good luck quoting her on it).
This begs the question:
Are mirrors helping us frame our reality or guide our future?
Mirrors can share with us a reflection of what others might see. Aside from the Queen’s experience in Snow White, most of us must interpret the meaning of our own reflection. In this way, we can assess ourselves in the moment. Yet, if we are always quickly glancing, at a moment’s notice, as we rush out the door, are we really utilizing the power that lies within the mirror? Might the very same mirror aid us in looking forward to create a different path in our future?
Our future is what we allow it to be. Yes, the shadows may indeed be lurking. Yet, next time you pass a mirror, stop a moment, take a look. Enjoy the scenery. Or consider it a call to action. Or change the lighting…
In life, everything is about the lighting! So run towards a brighter light or step entirely into the shade. We must find the “Golden Hour”: photographers use this terminology to describe time in which the light is at its best. Even if it is merely a 60 minute window each day, we must thrive on finding that space where everyone can be blinded by our light, where we really shine. Within this space, we aren’t compelled to look over our shoulders in the rear-view mirror, as we try to track our shadow. Or worse yet, as we attempt to track who else is looking for our shadows. Rather, use one of the most advantageous tricks one can hold & manipulate the light!