7 Lessons from Mirrors When Reflecting on Your Past
Motorcycle mirrors remind you where you’ve been and what lessons you’ve learned. But focus on them and you miss the present and risk the future. They’re silent, but their message is loud and clear. And they help keep you safe if you use them.
- Perspective. A motorcycle has two mirrors to capture images from both sides. Both are necessary to get enough information on which to make a decision. You need to view things from more than one perspective to get the most accurate picture. Although reality is always changing, you make the best decisions when you can get as many facts as practically possible.
- Perception. Objects in the mirror are larger than they appear. In other words, what you see in the mirror is not the actual size. It’s the same when you look back on life experiences. Time has a way of embellishing events. Your mind makes them smaller, larger, more painful or more difficult than they really were. A quick reality check can correct that.
- Change. Each view in the mirror is but a single snapshot and it’s dynamic. Experiences and people come and go; time flies. New inputs take priorities over older ones. Mirrors teaches you how to be flexible and manage change.
- Distortion. Dirty, foggy, sooty mirrors distort what you see, preventing a clear picture. This is akin to negative thoughts and emotions that drag you down, usurp your energy and jeopardize your progress. Stop and clean them. It’s amazing how things change.
- Recognition. Mirrors indicate hazards that are approaching from behind. Presumably, you recognize them and can take corrective action before doing harm. In life, ideally you only need a particular lesson once and you recognize it if it happens again. Learn from the mistakes of the past so they don’t need to be repeated. There’s too much else to do.
- Frequency. It’s not sufficient to check mirrors at the beginning of our journey and then not again until the end. Because of the ever-changing nature of our past, checking them frequently keeps us sharp and ready to take appropriate action.
- Focus. Mirrors reflect only what they’re focused on. There’s lots going on around you that’s not captured and can potentially influence your life. Likewise, if you focus only on one aspect of your past at the expense of a much larger experience, you act on incomplete information. And that leads to trouble.
- Mindfulness. A cursory glance in the mirror does very little. Although you’re going through the motions, you’re not seeing what’s there. Mindfulness keeps you receptive and safe.
- Size. Motorcycle mirrors must be large enough to capture as much information as possible but small enough to be aerodynamic, light and practical. You’ll never understand everything that happens. Realize there’s too much to comprehend, take what is practical, respect and park the rest. You’re not meant to understand everything and trying only keeps you in the past.
Life gives you all kinds of experiences; many pleasant and joyful, others you’d rather forget. They all serve a purpose on your journey. But if you get embroiled in the past, you miss the opportunities and gifts of present moment and risk your future. Mirrors teach you to honor the past by learning from it and carrying its lessons into your future.
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