Expansion and Contraction

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

(This post was written on July 27, 2020 and never published.)

Last week I released the second image and I started to find my voice. I “got in the water” as I spoke of in my last post, and it was uncomfortable. I allowed myself to post something I was feeling, in real time, and the emotions showed up in real time, too.

Tonight it occurred to me that once again, Art reflects Life. When I designed the second piece in this series, it was all about my frustration at the way other people were behaving on social media. But just like everything else in our lives, it was simply a mirror back to myself.

That is why this project is titled The Mirror Project: See Yourself. It is about each of us seeing how we react to ideas and opinions, and what can happen if we don’t examine our own beliefs. Right now the world is living in fear. Most people are letting the fear run them, instead of the other way around. I wonder what it would look like if more people would simply stop and examine their own thoughts and perspectives before they rush to judge someone else’s first.

I spend most of my time consciously paying attention to my thoughts, my opinions, my reactions, all of it. I actively seek out information from a wide variety of sources before making up my mind about anything. And even once I have made up my mind, I am still open to new ideas. I’m quite comfortable with the things I do believe in any moment, because I know that I have come to them after exploring all the options. I know that I have spent time “trying on” different views to see what felt aligned with who I am now on my life path.

Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time for self-examination to the level that I do and therefore don’t realize where I’m coming from. I am misunderstood all the time, and I only recently began to understand why. People can only meet you from where they are, which is not necessarily where you are. That is an important distinction that I believe lies at the center of any misunderstanding.

We tend to assume that if we are connected to someone in our life, it is because we are “at the same level” so to speak. Or at least that we understand each other, or we wouldn’t have a connection in the first place. Most people are in our lives due to an ongoing relationship of some kind, be it family, work, or a friendship based on common interests. It is easy to forget that having ties that bind us doesn’t automatically mean that we align with the same ideas and priorities.

It is important to remember that different doesn’t mean wrong. That is one that I have struggled with myself. Some issues feel so clear cut, so black and white, that it seems like there can only be one right and everything else is wrong. Rarely is this actually true. Most of the things we feel strongly about actually have a LOT of gray if you really take the time to examine them.

More important is how we allow our feelings to cause us to react. Are we being kind? Are we being open and allowing space for others to be right for them with their way of thinking? Is it possible that they are making the right choices for them AND I am making the right choices for me? I think so. I believe that you can be “over there” living your path, and I can be “over here” living mine. And most of the time I am pretty kind about it.

Occasionally, though, I get caught up in the revelry on social and I have to take a step back. Just recently, I logged off of Facebook for a two week break. The energy has gotten so divisive that no matter how much I tried to stay balanced, it simply ate me alive. One minute I’m commenting here and there, sharing perspectives, and the next thing I know I’m acting exactly like my Art. Nope. Not going there. And so I simply walked away. It was necessary. I had already decided that it wasn’t good for me to engage on that platform any more, and once the continued negativity began to affect me like a virus, it was time to check out.

Expansion and contraction. I will take time to see myself and re-align, and eventually I will be flowing once more. Self-examination has been truly valuable on this journey of mine and I look forward to seeing where the next expansion takes me.

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