Years ago I was challenged to pause in front of a mirror I pass and say “I love you” while looking directly into my eyes. It sounded easy and I agreed. The challenge was for 21 days. Three weeks. I approached this exercise not knowing the challenge before me. At first I laughed at the idea, and when I gazed at myself, I couldn’t look me in the eyes. I grimaced out the “I love you” and moved on. There’s usually a mirror in every bathroom, bedroom, hallway, car and there they waited. It did become easier. I started feeling familiar with the exercise. In fact, it became a fun experience to watch my reactions. Looking back, I ponder whether the exercise was about affirming words of loving kindness or experiencing the difference between my egoic mind and my heart. I think both as this whole experience was powerful for me and I felt a difference after it was over.
I put my attention where I want to focus. I choose to practice kindness to myself first. I encourage you to consider venturing into the 21-day experience yourself. Consider it an experiment.
This poem was shared with me, and it holds the incredible wisdom of David Whyte. It also holds words representing our awareness, our alertness, and where we choose to focus.
Everything Is Waiting For You
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone.
As if life were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.