Mirror Mirror

  by Betsy Otter Thompson

Mirror Mirror (This piece first appeared in Catalist Magazine, September/October 1995, Volume 7 Number 5.  The author has edited it since then. 883 words)

If I always listened to love and never to ego, I’d be a transcended human being. The truth is I stumble and trip on a fairly regular basis. I’d love to have clarity and total recall regarding everything in my emotional history through eons from every lifetime, but until that happens, I have to rely on my instincts. In the process of learning to trust them, I’ve come to rely on what I call The Mirror Theory. It works like this: Whatever I put out into the universe emotionally, the universe reflects back; and it comes back in whatever way demands my attention. These reflections arrive through friends, family, possessions, my body, and a multitude of other emotional images. I only have to remember that the purpose of every incident is to move me forward and inward. My soul is working for me, not against me. The category in which it arrives is irrelevant; noticing what it reveals is everything.

I’ve had many experiences to make this theory clearer. The following one was so tangible and so accurate it merited sharing with you. At first, I didn’t realize how this particular mirror was helping me understand the part of my life in confusion. I’m not a person who enjoys pushing for things to happen, but sometimes pushing is essential no matter how much resistance I feel. My question was: When it is helpful to take an action, as opposed to, when am I being pushy instead of productive? The Mirror Theory helped me because it gave me an action/reaction answer. If I pushed for results, I would feel pushed by others trying to get results. On the other hand, if I didn’t push when pushing was appropriate, I’d miss my opportunity. Then, I would face others living the same frustration.

While trying to understand this concept of action versus trust, my car was acting up. The first sign of trouble came on a Saturday morning when I got into my car to go to market and the battery was dead. Not unheard of, of course, except that the battery was two years old, and no lights had been left on and no doors left unclosed. The result was a tow trip to the garage. A few weeks later, I got into my car to do an errand and, this time, the engine turned over but died anyway. The result was another tow trip to the shop. The mechanic had excuses for not solving the problem, but I was still stuck with the problem. Rather than deal with his uncertainty, I went to the dealer and requested a 50,000-mile check-up and a thorough investigation into this malfunction. When I got the car back, it worked for two days and then it stalled again: this time with the added problem of a screechy ignition. Yes, it started after a couple of screeching tries, but I couldn’t help but worry. What was festering inside that wasn’t right?

At this point I decided to see if I couldn’t solve this problem another way. I talked a lot about the mirror theory, but was I using it in my life? Perhaps I needed to live my talk. So I sat down and picked up a pencil and pad in an effort make this theory work for me. I came up with the following list of what the car had demonstrated in the past few weeks.

  1. The battery was dead before its time.
  2. After the battery was replaced, the engine turned over but died again anyway.
  3. The car finally started but the engine screeched upon ignition.

I suddenly realized that these symptoms revealed a problem in my personal life of not following through when I needed to follow through, and screeching at others instead of taking responsibility for my dilemmas.

The universe (or my soul, or God, or nature, or whatever you want to call this energy) was telling me how to redirect my thinking in order to live more productively, and my mirror was telling me what I need to know about myself in order to make it happen. Was I willing to listen or was I not? Because I listened, this is what I discovered:

  1. Just as my car was depending on a battery that wasn’t completely charged, I was depending on a direction that wasn’t fully ignited.
  2. Just as the engine was not getting past the first spark of ignition, I wasn’t getting past my spark of inspiration.
  3. Just as the engine was voicing its outrage because a part of its makeup needed repair, I was screaming outwardly instead of looking within for changes that needed to happen.

With the help of the mirror theory, I had the tools for solving the problem. It got me out of my head, where I was always trying to figure things out, and into emotions where I could identify the problem and reignite effectively.

After I understood the parallels between my car’s situation and my personal life, I did the work inside to get rid of the problem. Then I took my car back to the mechanic and repeated what the car was doing. Every answer I found within, the mechanic was able to find in the car. After that, it ran perfectly.