Mirrors and Reflections

I was trying on a shirt recently at Lulu Lemon. Does anyone else ever get frustrated with their reflection in fitting rooms? I mean do we have to make them so bright? I have to admit, with my sprained foot/ankle and a bit of a lackadaisical mindset after my 90 day challenge throughout Q4, I’ve gained a few of lbs back. Those fitting rooms serve as a brutally honest reminder in times of my over indulging.

Somedays I’ll look at myself when the lighting is dim, and therefore friendlier to the eye. I’m like “looking good today bud” (you know you do it too). Perhaps I catch the mirror in the morning (I think we often look thinner in the AM) and appreciate the healthy food I ate the day prior. Perhaps I see a photo of myself by the pool with my standard farmer’s tan (actually it’s a golfer’s tan for me), and I want to run back to grade school where I’d swim with a tee-shirt on. Regardless, my self view changes quite rapidly depending on the time of day, the lighting, size and shape of the mirror, recent effort (or lack thereof), and probably even my mindset. I literally have changing self-views of my physical body daily- and that’s just physical!

I started thinking about how my view of the world, along with my role in it, changes frequently as well. I’m not going to lie, I got somewhat wrapped up in the political narrative last year. I was wrapped up in the drama of it all, as I’m sure many of my fellow Americans were. I had a plethora of emotions dependent and driven by news, advertisers, sports messaging, conversations, social media and much more. You name it, and it seemingly had an impact. I think that’s what “they” want.

I’m not necessarily talking about “they” as any particular political party, government agency, or some larger agenda (albeit I think one is out there). I’m talking about the spirit sucking use of constant contact to berate and create dependency. I’m talking about getting sucked into the drama, sometimes willingly, yet often without awareness. I started to realize my view of life was changing depending on where I spent my last thirty minutes, or more importantly what platform, marketer, company or agenda I let have my attention (or even scarier- in the background/sub conscience). In ways I believe we are in a constant state of war: our spiritual peace versus the clutter and attack on our nervous system via the overstimulation that comes with technology.

I watched the news almost daily leading up to the election. I got roped back in during the GA runoff elections. I have friends whom I both agree, and disagree with, spreading their opinions consistently – whether I ask them to or not. Social media and television are consistently pushing an agenda (I’m convinced). Maybe I just googled patio furniture? How interesting that all of the sudden my Instagram feed reflects just that- adds appealing to my recent google search. I post on Instagram about God and get a few likes, but I post about something the algorithms like and get 30x that. I get text messages and spam calls constantly now. I get more emails than I can count, and certainly more than I can unsubscribe from! I “NEED” an app for everything now as well- WHY?!?!?! I’m always being “sold” something, shown something, pushed to believe something- UGHHH! True peace and calm are so hard to find!!

I am realizing my view of my life is kinda like my view of myself in the mirrors. Example: certain lighting seems to reflect a more favorable body image. Whelp- how much social media and television time have I had recently; versus time with God, or nature, or with the “do not disturb” button pressed on my phone?! Have I been sucked into a polarizing narrative for weeks, or have I spent enough time alone to still recall how to think for myself?! Have I been intentional with learning what I want to learn, or do I let others condition me on what they want me to learn, how they want me to act, and how they want me to fit in?! Do I honor my spirit with earnest prayer and worship, or do I listen to market commentary all day (it is my day job- but still)?!

I look a bit better with my shirt off in the morning (yes- my opinion). I like the way I feel in the mornings after prayer, bible time and yoga. Ironic? I don’t believe in irony- so I guess not. A fresh day and no pizza or beer yet- guess that’s a good setup for looking lean. No news or social media first thing each day, guess that’s a good setup for burying my spirit before I’m bombarded with adds, opinions, news and so forth. No wonder the mornings feel so much better- I actually have a little peace structured into my routine. If only I could carry this forward more- I’m working on it!

I look a bit better with a tan (who doesn’t?!). Well I should probably get outside more and work on my tan right? I enjoy hiking, golfing and reading by a pool- all things I should do more of, and all things I’m sure would help me feel more peace throughout my days.

I feel like I look best when my effort has been focused on taking good care of myself via working out and eating healthy. I feel like my spiritual health is also tied to effort. I don’t go to church or listen to sermons as much as I used to. I play guitar a few structured times per week instead of just picking it up and playing for fun. I believe guitar is spiritual for me- so I want to learn and play more, but it’s a commitment and sometimes therefore not as “fun.” I have so many things I focus on and commit to, that sometimes I feel like nearly everything is a chore (a box to check). Pretty sure that’s not the point of commitments, or life for that matter. Perhaps I’m missing some balance between “go with the flow” and “structured accountability.”

Look- I’m learning life just like the rest of you. I have felt off lately, which of course has me thinking given awareness of other times when I’ve felt more at peace. I firmly believe my view changes the more I focus on internal over external bliss. I believe when I go internal instead of focusing on constant external stimuli that I tend to find more peace and feel more grounded. I’m also admitting that it’s hard to shut it all off and shut it all out. I’m intentionally turning my my phones “Do Not Disturb” on each day for a while. I don’t care anymore whether I post on Surrender_Project (Instagram) each day, or whether I write a new blog post each week. What I care about is progressing toward the peace, joy and contentment that I was missing for over thirty years of life, which led me to explore and view life in a new way a few years ago (hence this project as part of that journey). I care about Trusting God with my life so I can overcome anxiety (SURRENDERING). I must never forget what I feel in my core: that JOY is a divine beacon toward finding our true purpose in life (if you haven’t read my writing- I also believe their is a major difference between happiness and joy- as I believe the latter is divine). I realize I need to protect what I permit to steal my time, my train of thought, my belief system, my peace. I realize I need to calm the storm around me some- intentionally. So I guess what I’m saying is that you might not get as many blog posts (only when I feel creative or moved to write- not when I feel obligated). You might not see me on Instagram each day (only when I feel moved to share something). I sometimes lose focus on what this project was about- God, learning and growing; not achieving, doing or becoming some version of myself that others will hit a like button for. Peace is what I’m after- more and more, which truly only comes from 1 place!

I’m realizing that the world is overwhelming at times. Actually, it’s most of the time, and it’s getting worse. Constant access, constant contact, constant input- it never ends. People are changing right along with technology. I have clients text me after 9PM at times, or even on Sundays. When did evenings and weekends turn into my clients’ time? When did people lose touch with the sacredness of time off, relaxation, enjoying family and friends, and the beauty of unplugging? Me giving my number away doesn’t come with permission of abusing it. We have to respect each other’s peace, and never be afraid to set boundaries. Okay- I’ll stop for now.

I’ve succumbed down a train track of stress progression. I escaped at the beginning of this project for 7 weeks with my dog Murphy on a cross country road trip. I never want to lose the wonder of escaping this vigorous- paced life. I never want to sacrifice life, peace, adventure, spirit, calm or my faith for the constant contact via technology in this modern era. Life is too short. Each day is a blessing. It’s time for more intentional Do Not Disturb moments. It’s time to set boundaries- especially during sacred hours. Less television, less news, and LESS social media. I’ll seek more nature, adventure, music and God.

May we continue to chase our joy, live with no regrets, surrender, and honor each day to the fullest.

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