Room 22: Say No To Mirrors
Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
For this exercise, we can thank Twyla Tharp, who in her wonderful book, The Creative Habit, offers an exercise where she encourages her readers to go without mirrors.
She offers it as one of many suggestions to let go of clutter, then see what happens to your sense of self. Her idea is that “instead of relying on the image you see reflected in the glass, you will find your identity in other ways.“
And, as far as The Other 999 Rooms is concerned, that’s a beautiful thing. The more ways we can find our identity, the more rooms we’ll find. And right now, we spend a lot of time and effort concentrating on the “one room image” we see reflected in the mirror.
I’ll go so far as to say we are obsessed with ourselves. Not all of us, but most of us, and each in our way.
We worry about the color of our hair, the shape of our eyes, the size of our hips; how tall, or thin, or wrinkled we are. There is not an area on our body we won’t dissect—from head to toe, abs to butt—we look in the mirror and judge it all.
I suppose, it’s no accident that the mirror was invented in 6000 BC, thousands of years before ink, paper or the printing press—a clear sign of how important it has always been to admire oneself.
And because of this obsession, we are left with only one image of ourself. It’s the image we see in the mirror. The image we think everyone else sees and, unfortunately, the same image we begin to believe is our real self.
Today, that changes.
Room 22: Say No To Mirrors
This room is about more than just avoiding mirrors. It’s about consciously choosing what we will put our attention on. It’s re-thinking how we will look at ourselves from this day forward.
If we choose, we can begin to see that we are more than what our mirror reflects. We are not just bones, flesh and color. We are energy, light, sound, love, memory, dreams, consciousness, past, present and future. We are so many things, the least of which is our body.
Without mirrors, we can begin to ignore the outer self with the hope that we might take the first step to looking inward…to finding the part of ourselves that is real. To see who we really are.
It’s a focus away from illusion, smoke and mirrors if you will, and onto the self that never changes, fades away, weakens or decays. The self that is all knowing and infinite. And believe me…you won’t find that in a mirror.
The idea is simple: avoid all mirrors for an entire weekend (from Friday morning until Monday morning, or choose any three day period that works with your schedule).
Now, I could tell you it’s not that hard to groom without mirrors, but my wife says that’s something only a man would say. And she’s probably right, which is the reason we’re doing this on a weekend. More importantly, do the best you can. As always, the idea is to catch the spirit of the room.
Before we begin, be forewarned: there are mirrors everywhere. And not just in the bathrooms and bedrooms, but on the chrome plated sliding door of your shower, the shiny handle of the refrigerator, the reflection on the microwave. There are rear view mirrors and side view mirrors, windows, TV’s, computer screens and kitchen windows.
Everywhere you look there are opportunities for reflection and secret admiration. So, if you catch a glimpse here and there, don’t worry. Soon enough you’ll find the hidden traps of reflection.
Now, take one more loving look at yourself in the mirror, then walk away. It’s time to see who you really are. Give it a chance….I think you’re going to like who you find.