There are no mirrors in this place!
Well, if you don’t count the little fuzzy half mirror hanging in the verandah meant to be shared by 4 bedrooms. I seriously don’t know the logic behind this very obvious absence of what one would consider a very necessary item in each bathroom. And somehow it seems that this oversight is by intent.
Of course not being used to functioning without a mirror, I initially found it hard to even brush my teeth. I almost felt that I might not be able to even brush my teeth. And when I wash my face, I look up and check myself to see what changes the night has wrought, and looking up and facing a blank wall is a bit of a shocker. Not seeing your face is one thing, but, since there is no mirror, there is no make-up! Not that this place has any need for make-up, but sometimes you spruce up just because you don’t want to look like a cross eyed panda all day.
Personally I feel that there is a deeper conspiracy to this lack of shiny objects stuck on walls. I think the idea is for you to leave your ego, your identity, and your connection to your physical looks out of this place. If you think about it, to a very large degree our appearance has a lot to do with who we are, how we feel about ourselves, and how the world perceives us. So it would make sense then, that if you cannot see your physical self anymore, then you are by default not dealing with the baggage that you carry around your appearance. Sounds about right to me.
Now that we have opened this Pandora’s box, lets just take a look inside. No one in this world, no magazine covers, no society, and no peers can dictate how you feel about yourself. That feeling has to come from somewhere deep within you, and it has to start young. As a mother to two teenagers, I know how impossible it is to cultivate a feeling of ‘I am awesome, and f * * k the world’ in these young kids. There is just too much pressure on them to have a perfect body, have glorious hair, be vivacious, be successful etc. etc. To top it all, their brain lacks the cognitive ability to detach themselves from their experiences. So if someone has commented negatively on any aspect of their appearance or life – it becomes a reality. And you can reassure and explain till you are blue in the face, but no, the friend (?) said it so it is irrevocably final.
My teenage daughter asked me a very interesting question a while ago, she said “Mom, how come wrinkles are not a sign of beauty, who decided that?” I don’t have an answer for that.
This new phenomena of ‘anti-ageing’ has taken over our lives completely. How is it possible not to age? Unless someone has come up with a time machine which can take us back in time, there is no bloody way that any anti-ageing lotion or potion can hide away the signs of life lived. Every wrinkle is a badge of honor, every laugh line is a laugh enjoyed, and every ounce of weight on your body is life telling you that its time to get grounded and be at peace with yourself.
My personal philosophy around this concept of aging is, that I want to be healthy as I age. I don’t mind the age part at all, as long as I am energetic, independent and not worrying about failing health. I actually would feel blessed if I passed on at whatever age, on my yoga mat – the final Shav Asana. That would be a life well lived, indeed. For me anyway. And for others, I don’t know. Each one of us has to figure out what crossing 40, and then 50 means to us. Every chapter of our life brings us to a crossroads, and from there, it is completely our own choice to keep back-peddling or to move forward with grace and dignity. Hopefully the journey to wherever we choose is fun.
Coming back to where we started, the physical lack of mirrors is wonderful (temporarily at least), because it has allowed me to completely shift focus from the external appearance to the inner divine. I marvel that we are here, and that we are going through this really hard sojourn. It is for sure a life altering experience for the better, definitely for the better, as it opens up facets we did not know existed.