What face do you show to the world? Is it one of stress? Anger? Happiness? What is reflected back at you? Stress? Anger? Happiness? What do you see in the mirror?
Years ago, a friend invited me to a drum circle that she was leading. I and my other friends had never been to one before, so we agreed to go. It was an opportunity to try something new.
But before the drum circle began, there was a sharing circle first. Also something new, we didn’t know what to expect. A talking stick was passed around the circle and whoever was holding it spoke whatever was on their mind or in their heart. I heard a lot of interesting stories that day. Some were sad, others full of hope, one was filled with anger, and another with hate. That is the story that stuck with me.
A young man with a long braid down his back spoke of traveling to New York City and finding only hate there. People pushing him out of the way, strangers yelling at him, and even being spit on by someone. He didn’t find one single person who smiled, one single person who would help him. He blamed it on the city, he blamed it on the people, and he blamed it on discrimination because he was Native American.
I was upset by his descriptions because it wasn’t the diverse New York that I knew. I had recently been there and found happy people, help whenever I needed it, and free hugs (usually near the parks and the yoga studios!) Granted, not everyone is happy, some people go about their day with heads down as they quickly walk through the streets. But I didn’t see any of the hate that this young man was referring to.
But one thing I noticed about this young man was that he still appeared distrustful and angry after he spoke. His demeanor, his heart, didn’t appear lighter for having shared his story. And that made me wonder how he acted in New York, how he looked at people, and how he spoke to people.
And I realized it reminded me of a story I learned, a Japanese folk tale about two dogs and a house of 1000 mirrors. The first dog was happy and when he heard of the house of 1000 mirrors, he decided to take a look. He bounded into the house with a big smile, ears up and tail wagging, and was happy and surprised to find 1000 happy dogs, tails wagging all smiling back at him. He was so happy when he left the house of 1000 mirrors that he told another dog about it and the 1000 happy dogs he found there.
The other dog was suspicious but decided to check out the house too. With his head low and a mean look in his eyes, he slunk into the house. All he saw were 1000 other mean-looking dogs, so he bared his teeth and growled at them, and 1000 dogs growled back at him. He ran from the house thinking it was a horrible place.
The moral of the story? All of the faces of the world are mirrors. They reflect what is shown to them. What do you see in the mirror?