Friday, June 24, 2011

Mirror, Mirror, Off the Wall

This week we had a freak accident in our house.  While we were out for the day, the mirror in our master bathroom fell off the wall, hitting the sink handle on its way down.  The sink was running full blast for hours, flooding the bathroom with water that drained into the basement through light fixtures in the ceiling.  Upon our return, it was quite a sight to behold: flooded bathroom, flooded playroom, buckling ceiling. 

The incredible element of this story is not the freaky domino effect of the mirror turning on the water and the water running through basement light fixtures.  That is a somewhat believable chain of events.  What's really odd is that the mirror, having hit three hard surfaces, metal and tile, and landing face down on the floor...remained unbroken.  The only damage to the mirror was a small crack in its frame.  As I waded through the bathroom and turned the mirror over, I was pleasantly surprised to find it had not shattered.  My Scottish father-in-law said our family had been spared months of therapy.  No bad luck omen for us this time around.  In fact, I think the unbroken mirror is a very good omen. 

I am a believer in synchronicity, divine intervention, signs from the spiritual realm...and many other cooky and mystical things.  Hence, I find our recent household "accident" to be a positive sign.  My slightly psychic Mom agrees with me.  A mystical friend and teacher suggested that I look into the significance of the mirror and water symbolism inherent in the event.  So here is what I came up with:

The mirror symbolizes perception.  On a large scale, the mirror points to the way we interpret external reality through the lenses of our mind and senses.  On a smaller scale, the mirror points to self-perception.  Water is one of the four universal elements (the others being fire, air and earth).  Water is formless.  When it is calm, it clearly reflects what surrounds it.  When it flows, it is a force of transformation.  Heraclitus said, "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river, and he's not the same man."  Cascading water is a powerful image of the flow of life, which always brings change.  

Our mirror fell face down into water flowing powerfully down, like a waterfall.  In this occurrence, I see perception in motion and the power of flow moving the formless.  What can this mean on a personal level? It made me think about identity.  Over the course of our lives, within our home life, as we age and as we grow, our identities can dramatically shift and change--and this is a beautiful thing.  Change and transformation are gifts, and we are not broken by these gifts...rather, we are enhanced.  If we trust the flow of life and move away from rigidity, we are not brittle.  We are not easily broken.  

My mother had a similarly uplifting interpretation of our household omen.  She said the mirror remaining unbroken was a message from God, symbolizing strength in the midst of what may appear chaotic on the surface. Even in the midst of change and turmoil, strength remains intact. She said that such an accident occurring within the home points to the resiliency of our family unit.  I agree.  I also feel like there is a personal message for yours truly.  It is the mirror I use most often as it is too high for my boys, and my husband shaves in the shower.  I feel like for me, the meaning is that a period of intense transformation is winding down and I will come out of it with my inner strength and beauty intact.  Might be good to remain aware of narcissism creeping into my habits, just to top things off. 

On a practical note, we like our insurance adjuster.  We're getting a check.  A contractor is lined up to fix the ceiling.  Our rug is being restored.  And we found some stronger wall anchors for that mirror.  This is it, by the way:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More Yin, please...

It’s supposed to be Yin/Yang.  I feel like my life is Yang/Yin/Yang.  There’s a whole lotta Yang with a little Yin thrown in sometimes.  Yin and Yang being abstract concepts, I’ll offer my own interpretation here.  I have always learned that Yin is the softer, more feminine, receptive and passive side of experience.  Some say it is darker.  Yang is the active, strong, masculine and productive side. 

To me, meditation feels more Yin and prayer feels more Yang.  When I pray, I talk to God, often out loud.  When I meditate (far less often these days) I am quiet and still. 

With my two young sons and my boisterous husband, I feel like I am constantly surrounded by the Yang element.  So far, I am also an aunt to boys only.  I grew up with sisters.  Fortunately one of them is pregnant with a girl!  Until I was 15, I saw my sisters part time since they have a different Mom.  When I was not at their house, I was living with my Mom.  I had my own prissy little room.  I daydreamed a lot.  I spent time by myself.  My life was more Yin than Yang.  When I was with my sisters, we were active and playful…but we were girls. 

This past weekend one of my sisters visited me (the unmarried one).  She arrived with her little white Maltese dog.  She stayed to help our family celebrate my son’s third birthday and Father’s Day.  With all of the Yang that surrounds me, I was very grateful to have that extra Yin thrown into the mix! Interspersed with the excited squeals of boys running up and down the house and yard, the excitement of a kid’s party, the presence of my two year old nephews—I got to enjoy talking with my sister about hair, clothes, shoes, men from a woman’s perspective, memories of our teen years and the crushes we had then…it seemed magical.  We did yoga in the living room, oblivious to the shouts of my sons.  We sat on a blanket outside drinking rosé and listening to women folk artists sing about love.  Some of that may sound active to you, but to me it was blissfully Yin. 

This week I am back to my familiar Yang fest.  Just today, I took my boys out for lunch at the local diner.  It wasn’t much of a lunch for me.  Just after we sat down, my youngest asked me in a loud, screechy voice, “Mommy, do you have a tiny penis?” Of course my other son found that riotously funny and laughed his new hearty, guttural laugh that he uses to impress his friends.  The remainder of the lunch I heard a number of loud penis jokes and was repeatedly asked why I do not have a penis and told that I must have a very tiny one.  Of course, the table was a drum and when they weren’t talking about genitalia they were banging on the table with the toy cars they brought inside.  When I took those away, they used their forks.  When I took those away… you get the picture. 

I know they love me, these males who share my home.  They can be sweet.  The little ones are affectionate.  But all three of them are loud.  Their humor doesn’t always suit me.  And while 90% of the time it’s funny to see them running circles around my bed with my underwear on their heads and dragging my sundress behind them—10% of the time I really wish they had vaginas.  Then in a few years we could really share the dresses…but probably not the underwear. 

I’d like more Yin, please.