Break the Mirror
In the morning
After taking cold shower
—–what a mistake—–
I look at the mirror.
There, a funny guy,
Grey hair, white beard, wrinkled skin,
—–what a pity—–
Poor, dirty, old man!
He is not me, absolutely not.
Land and life
Fishing in the ocean
Sleeping in the desert with stars
Building a shelter in mountains
Farming the ancient way
Singing with coyotes
Singing against nuclear war-
I’ll never be tired of life.
Now I’m seventeen years old,
Very charming young man.
I sit down in lotus position,
Meditating, meditating for nothing.
Suddenly a voice comes to me:
To stay young,
To save the world,
Break the mirror.”
Nanao Sakaki from the book, Break the Mirror, Blackberry Books
I love this poem.
When I was going through chemotherapy, I found it disconcerting when I saw my face reflected in a mirror. Who was this person? Where was the one I recognized as me? It was more than the absence of hair that bothered me. Rather, it was something about my eyes. I couldn’t see myself there, which I noticed after the first round of chemo and more so as treatments continued. I remember questioning myself: Whose eyes are these? Is this me?
In the beginning, after my hair fell out and my head was shaved, I made a point to look in mirrors. I didn’t want to be startled by myself or be afraid when I caught a sudden glimpse in a mirror. I quickly adjusted to my loss of hair, but it took months for me to spot my spirit, which was no longer reflected in the mirror. At that time, I knew someone who had a transformative holiday when she spent an entire summer on a boat. It was not the boat that was significant but the fact that the boat had no mirrors. For two full mirror – free months she was intact, whole, and good enough. She declared it a highlight in her life.
I am not suggesting that we break our mirrors, but I too learned that I am not just what I see reflected back at me. Maybe we all could use a mirror break from time to time. May we all learn to look at ourselves and each other, beyond our skin and hair and see the true nature of what lies beyond them.
A deep bow to Sakaki, for this poem. Nanao Sakaki died in Japan at the age of 85. (1923-2008)
Note 1:) This poem popped into my mind tonight and truthfully, this is the way I often write my blog. I discovered this poem in 2008 around the time my hair was coming out and I put it on my old Joyful Wrecks blog immediately. The last time I reprinted it and with permission, was in the ToDo Institute Quarterly, Thirty Thousand Days.
Note 2:) I zoomed into Wellspring Calgary today for another joy-filled and gratitude-filled webinar encounter with members, staff and volunteers.
Note 3:) On my daughter’s block we had a lobster porch party tonight. This is an old neighbourhood in the Glebe where most houses have porches, and those porches are loved even more during this time of Covid-19. It was great fun, excellent lobster and all I had to do was show-up. That was happiness.
Note 4:) Thank you for stopping by. I wish I could greet you in person but I am grateful and honoured to meet you here once a week. Stay safe and enjoy your life. This is not a contradictory statement. Both are possible. Warmest regards, Trudy