Admittedly, the vast majority of our life is unavoidably spent focusing inwardly, as we plan, perform, procrastinate and hopefully, pray. Reflection, however, can be an amazingly powerful and insightful activity to spur personal growth, if revisited on a frequent and regular basis; and if conducted in an authentic and candid fashion. It provides that “out of body” experience which enables us to see ourselves in the 3rd person, from the outside looking in.
“Just as you utilize and reference a map during a long trip; first, to plan your way and then, to monitor your travels toward your destination of choice, the “art” of reflection can serve as a life echo, if you will, a sounding board, which will, when attended, reveal much about who you are at this instant, as well as who you were yesterday, last year, as a child… and most importantly, who you are becoming and will be tomorrow, next year and ultimately, when your horizon meets the sky.”
To be sure, reflection has the potential to be painful, yet equally, it can be breathtaking, refreshing, satisfying and revealing; if we have the courage to send out that call and then, wait for the echoes of our life to speak to us and reveal who we truly are; at the spiritual level.
Reflection is a pervasive thing in our world. We keep track of the score in sports, our bank account, the gas in our vehicles, the clothes in our closets, the color of our hair. We are obsessed with constantly working to improve our (physical/mortal) self, while primarily paying lip service to our spiritual life and soul. Even more ironic, is the realization that our soul is eternal, whereas our human lives are temporary. One would think our priorities should be reversed, yes?
And this is precisely where reflection can aid us in correctly setting those priorities. Just keep in mind, it won’t always be pleasant because we are imperfect beings. However, we are immortal souls and reality founded in faith is the medicine we need to survive post-death. Yes, forever is a long, long, long time. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin stated it best, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience”.
Take the time to plan for reflection in your life. It may seem unnecessary, perhaps even a bit dry, however, if it is, then so is your life. The benefits far outweigh the time spent. Your spiritual self will thank you; anxiety, worry and stress will flee your mind like leaves blowing in a strong fall wind. You will love yourself more, respect others more, know yourself better. Great medicine, if we will only be brave enough to take it.
Remember, Without Winter, there can be no Spring. Be well.
Throughout the course of your life, you have invariably introduced yourself to many people; a prospective employer, a (new) friend, neighbor, co-worker, relative, customer, professional group or individual. That one minute of opportunity to convey your essence as a human being, Your beliefs, Your values, Your journey.
And standing on the other side of your conversation, is the individual listening to, assessing, comprehending and yes, perhaps judging who you are, why you are and what you are; much like the mirror on the wall. And just like the transformation of analog television to HD (High Definition) digital broadcast, the picture we reflect can be extremely clear, bright and even potentially unforgiving.
It comes to no surprise, then, that it is critically important to provide an accurate, focused and understandable picture of yourself to others, so they can hopefully and ultimately “get you”. Much like a book’s title is testimony to its contents, the life we live on a daily basis becomes our testimony of who we are and of our being at our inner core. Our life defines our spirit and soul; as it was meant to be.
When each of us contemplates our own personal testimony, it is imperative that we present ourselves with authenticity, sincerity and determination. When we live our lives in this fashion, people take us more seriously, treat us with more respect and associate us with a higher level of credibility and trust. The image we project in truth, reflects our own sense of personal integrity, character and self-worth.
Without doubt, a journey down this path has increased potential for arriving at a meaningful destination and making a difference in life, ours, others and the future.
These are indeed, heavy and powerful concepts. And most of us, from early on, are rightly taught to appreciate the finer things in life, including nature, simplicity, kindness, along with having a good sense of humor. Yes, these are important aspects of life to understand and appreciate, however, we must remember the fundamental purpose our lives serve; to be a testimony of Truth and a student of self-awareness.
“As assuredly as a cup has a purpose to be filled with nourishment, our lives likewise serve a purpose to be filled with the spirit of our uniqueness and journey, the nourishment of our destiny.”
When you look in the mirror, who do you see? More importantly, who do you want to see? In the BIG picture of life, we are all oh, so Lucky. Be well.
This world certainly has its share of distractions, conveniences, technology and opportunities. As an understatement, however, at its core, the world is largely characterized by and graced with solitude, clarity of thought, peace and simplicity.
I had the rare opportunity to experience the latter last evening as a ravenous thunderstorm, packed with high winds, torrential rains and hail, ripped through my northern Wisconsin retreat, knocking out the power for eleven-plus hours.
During that time, I had the privilege to experience the peace of complete silence (after the storm had passed), the sounds of nature, the absence of technology and the effect of “time standing still”. The nearly half-day of biblical heaven served as a time for self-analysis and life review, gratitude and spiritual renewal.
Assuredly, each person is unique in personality, faith and character. For me, I choose to spend time, ideally every day, even if but for five to ten minutes, reflecting on my life, events, direction and goals. It’s a bit of a huddle with myself, strange as it may sound, but has served as absolutely profound time to ground myself as a human being, recognize all I have to be thankful for, and recommit and refocus my efforts to pursue my life goals and “readjust the sails” to stay on course.
It’s my “check the oil” time and it serves to determine that everything is ok, and if not, alerts me to whatever changes I need to make to return to that state of being.
“Without question, we all need that quick check on a regular basis to review where we have come from, where we are, and where we are headed; along with the necessary actions, mindset and change to get us there.”
Dare I say, Prayer Time. I’ll offer a new phrase as a corollary to the “build it and they will come”; for me, it is “See and Listen with your heart and Respect your Conscience”. Here is wishing you that slice of quiet time every day to remember who you are, and most importantly, why. Let me take you there…
- Solitude at the Cabin (reflectionsfromthecabin.wordpress.com)
- WakingTimes – Angela Pritchard – We’re Here In This Reality To Learn About Who We Are – 21 July 2013 (lucas2012infos.wordpress.com)
- Space, Solitude and Introverts (willowmariewrites.com)
- Open Your Heart and Mind to Peace… (creatingabetterworld.wordpress.com)
- Six Ideas for Reclaiming Your Calendar (integratedcatholiclife.org)
- Technology Taking The Place of Solitude (chiaradii.wordpress.com)
- Reflections (biancaprentice.wordpress.com)
- Maslow 101 PART 5: It’s Not About Nostalgia; It’s About Life Review (agelessmarketing.typepad.com)