Reflecting


I push on the mirrored door and step through
into a corridor of open doorways,
each an artwork of stunning design.


I decide on one that opens into a spacious landscape,
and I marvel at the brilliance of the reflective surfaces on the form that draws me across the sand.

My distorted reflection smiles back at me from the mirrored spheres, and I realise that these vast inner landscapes with sculptural forms are the endless open nature of my innermost mind, the sculptures, thoughts appearing in all their beauty.

I wait and watch, just looking without considerations, my mind open to whatever appears. Because I don’t attach my awareness to it, the silver sculpture fades back into the vastness when its time has passed.

I walk on, eager for more.

Palaces of mirrors appear around me.
They all look inviting, exciting my desire to explore,
but I must choose just one.

I select the one that draws me most,
and it’s suddenly right before me.

I wander around the building,
marvelling at the stunning design of its many entrances.

When I’ve circumnavigated the whole palace,
I walk through the first entrance I came to.
They probably all lead to the same place.

Inside, I look around and become nervous.
Mirrored surfaces surround me.
Even the floor reflects a murky version of myself back at me.
And the sound of my footsteps echos in the lofty space.


Beyond the entrance hall I see hallways stretching out.
Mirrors within mirrors,
on into infinity.

Nothing will survive the scrutiny of this place.
And there is nothing here to soften the blow of any too-revealing reflection.
Do I really want to go into these mirrored halls.
What might I discover?

What is the meaning of mirrors here?
Am I in the mirrors and no one is looking in?
Myself, a mere reflection of nothing.

Possibly I am overthinking this.


Overwhelm strikes.
The need to sit and rest washes over me.
Thankfully, my mind creates just what I need,
and I choose a couch with comfy cushions.


My courage begins to fade.
It’s possible that I don’t know myself as well as I think.
Have I been fooling myself?
Is my sense of self constructed around what I think I should be, rather than what I truly am?
There’s no point reflecting on anything if I’m too scared to face what I might find.
But I must be prepared to start again from the beginning.
Am I?
I waver.


But the choice is either genuine examination with complete openness to whatever I find
or risk that I may be living a lie.
The latter is unthinkable for me,
so I rouse the explorer within me,
my hero of the inner journey.

I like the symbolism in which I clothed her:
Silver
Sword
Armour
Tough
– yet elegant and feminine.
She is myself at my most virile.

But still I hesitate.
Am I prepared to dismantle a lifetime of sense of self should it be proven false?

More heroes come to support me.

‘Come, follow me,’ they say.
‘This is what you came for,
to see yourself completely naked of self-delusion.
You don’t want to return without doing what you came for.’

I laugh.
Some part of my psyche really wants me to go on,
deeper into the world of reflection.

What’s in that hallway of mirrors anyway?
Everything exposed.
Everything?
Is that what I really want?


‘Come,’ says a chorus of voices.
‘Don’t over think it.
We’ll ease into it.’

I take a deep breath and follow them in,
these heroes of the underworld.

I walk tentatively down the mirrored hall,
but what I see makes me smile.
It appears I have nothing to fear from my own psyche.
Not right now anyway.
Staring back at me from the mirrors are young, beautiful, elegant reflections,
wearing the kind of gowns I’ve only ever worn in my dreams.
I’m quite happy to gaze at these selves.

I sense, however, that this is the ‘easing into it’ my hero selves mentioned.
At the end of this hall is another door.
My heart drops as I open it and step through into a dark hall,
but it is lined with mirrors,
and I like what I see in the reflection.

At first, I see myself in the mirrors
As I should.
But then I realise that something is just a little strange about the reflections.
They are almost a mirror reflection, but not quite.

What are they trying to tell me?
That others don’t see me as I am?
Or that I don’t see myself as I am?
Or I don’t see myself as others see me?
I sigh. Probably all of those.


As I wander down the long hallway,
the shadowy figures in the mirrors begin to look less and less like my sense of myself.


They even turn demonic.
But I am not these demons.
These are just symbols,
metaphors.
I know this.
But what do they represent?

People think I can be spiky sometimes;
terse, they call me,
rude even,
but it’s never my intention.
It’s just how they react to me being honest and direct
– nothing demonic there,
just my neurodivergent brain in operation,
getting straight to the point.

Verbal fluff only obscures the meaning.


But my psyche is determined to show me demons in the mirrors.
I’m glad they’re stuck on the other side.
For now.

I stare at the images before me, then at my clawed hands.
Do my eyes glow red as well?

Could these demons be the many faces of my occasional outbursts of rage?


I don’t want to own the visage that faces me,
but the way the rage rushes through me at those times
is perhaps a little demonic.
Just a smidgeon,
in my apparent inability to control it.

But, hey, it only happens when it’s warranted, right?
When some injustice occurs.

I poke my tongue out at the spikey one and step away from its mirror.
I’m cautious about what reflection might appear in the next one,
but I steal a glance
and get a fleeting glimpse of someone peeking out.
She looks like a part of myself who could be helpful,
so I call out to her,
and she returns, looking out at me with a smile.

‘What should I do now?’ I ask.

I get my answer, but I don’t like it,
so I walk on, ignoring anything remotely demonic,
and ask the same question to every mirror that shows a likeness of this 1930s self I’m wearing.


‘You must befriend the demons,’ they all say.
‘How?’ I ask. ‘I can barely look at them.’
‘You must find a way or they will forever hold you captive.’

I wince, but I know they’re right.

Feed your demons,’ one of the helpful reflections tells me.

My demons?
They’re not inside me,
they’re just an image in a mirror.’

She arches a finely pencilled eyebrow.
‘And where do you think you are right now?’

I roll my eyes.
Point taken.
This is my psyche.

I’m not ready to accept these reflections as me,
but I doubt I’ll get out of here until I make some effort to relate to them,
so I try to think of them as a pet I might pat.
It would be easier if they were cuter.

My tentative attempt to acknowledge these hidden parts of myself seem to suffice for now,
since they cease to appear in the mirrors I pass as I walk down this seemingly endless corridor.
But I sense I’ll meet them again before I return to the overworld,
because I still don’t know the true nature of these demons.


I admit to feeling a little broken,
scared by my own reflections.
Or scarred perhaps?


I take a breath to recover my courage and amble on.
Thankfully, the reflections change into something more encouraging.
I feel supported,
as if another part of myself is with me,
guiding and encouraging me.
I sense the presence of the love I invoked during my preparation.

It seems my psyche wants to remind me of my potential for good.
Or something like that.
Unrecognised potential perhaps?
I feel some truth in that idea,
but I don’t seem to be able to own it,
in fact, I actively resist it,
even though I long for something like that to step out of the mirror of my mind.

So I castigate myself instead.
A stupid reaction to my own stupidity,
but it feels safe in its familiarity.

I’m ready to get out of here.
These mirrors are too revealing.

In the next mirror, one of my hero selves returns.

‘What are your strengths,’ she asks.

‘Creativity, integrity, intelligence, determination, curiosity,’ I reply.

‘You didn’t include enthusiasm and focus,’ she says.

I snort. ‘People hate that. Call it too intense.’

‘Isn’t that just a way of them saying that they can’t follow you,
can’t enter so passionately into the moment.’

I frown. ‘Maybe.’

‘Isn’t that their problem, not yours,’ she says.

Now there’s a new thought.

‘I guess.’

She smiles. ‘And you didn’t include empathy, awareness, and joyful appreciation.’

‘Pah! You mean “too sensitive” and “totally weird”.’

‘Your potential won’t step out of your reflection until you accept your strengths as strengths,’ she says.

I grimace. Really. That’s her words of wisdom!
I want to ask her how things I’ve been taught to keep hidden can be strengths,
but she just smiles and fades from view.
Typical fantasy novel cryptic words from archetypical characters!

Nevertheless, I mull over her words for a bit.

But no solution comes to mind.
They seem more curses than strengths to me.
But I can only start where I am now,
and I figure that the first step to unravelling this puzzle is to accept this self with all its demons.


Feeling better, I walk to the next mirror.
A cloaked figure appears in the distance.
I look closer.
It appears that one of my heroes is being mysterious.

She reaches a hand through the mirror as if to reassure me.
I look down at the silver armour I’m suddenly wearing,
and the silver sword hanging at my side.
And I realise that she is my exact reflection
– at least the ‘me’ I appear to be right now.
I guess there is a hero inside me somewhere.
I grin and snigger.
It’s a comforting thought at least.

I wander on down the hallway.

But what’s this?
This huge mirror astounds me.


Now I know why the hero reassured me.
The mirror has no reflection.
No,
it is I that have no reflection.
Does this mean I don’t exist?
I scoff at the idea. Of course, I exist.
I’m right here.

Then what?

At this point, I’m no longer sure which side of the mirror I’m on.


Am I the mirror itself?

I take a deep breath,
exhale slowly,
and turn my mind inwards,
onto itself.
Awareness looking at awareness.
I can’t find any tangible thing,
but …

Ah, yes. I feel it.

Awareness.

I am indeed a mirror.

I reflect everything.

I hear whispers of agreement in these mirrored halls,
and a young woman suddenly appears before me,
a challenging look on her face.

‘Who are you?’ I ask, smiling at her outfit.
She looks like how I imagined myself years ago.
Though what I saw in the mirror back then never really looked like that.


‘I’m your creative self,’ she replies. ‘Here to kick you through the door to the world of imagining.’
I look at her boots and wonder if they have steel toes.
She stands and stares at me, tapping her foot on the floor.
I shrug.
Okay then.
Time to move on.

The eight doors appear before me.

‘Right,’ I say and step towards the quirky door to Imagining.
Creativity is a mistress I know well.

‘Wait!’

It’s that gravelly voice again.

‘What do you want this time,’ I ask,
resisting the urge to roll my eyes.

‘To enter the world of Imagining, I require the chisel of creativity.’

I peer into the hood but see no mouth move and no eyes glint.

His staff hits the ground with a thump,
making me jump.

‘Okay, fine. Don’t get your knickers in a twist!’
I look down at the necklace,
wondering where I’ll find the tool that carved the precious stones.
I see a small golden charm in the shape of a chisel dangling from the chain.
It comes off easily,
and I drop it into the gatekeeper’s hand where it turns to dust.
The gatekeeper turns and stalks off into the mist.

A bell chimes,
and the funny little door clicks open.

I am a mirror.
I reflect everything.

Follow me through the door to imagining.

Or you could choose the door to a different world.

.