21 day challenge


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

David Whyte

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.

Participants’ Reflections: