Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Updated: May 7, 2020
For the past few mornings we have been greeted by a robin pecking at our window. If this sounds quaint, it should.
Don't think Disney. Not just yet. Think Hitchcock's The Birds.
But before we think either Disney or Hitchcock, let's imagine the twin voices that usher us into the dawn. One beckons us to roll over and go back to sleep. The other to stretch and wake up.
It's nice when we get to choose. Disney's robin extends that invitation. Hitchcock's, not so much.
Disney's robin says, "Tap-tap Tap-tap. The day awaits you. See you when you get here. I'll be out back gathering worms."
Hitchcock's robin doesn't bother speaking at all. But the message is clear. "GET OUT OF BED NOW! The worms can wait!"
I should explain. First of all, the robin in the illustration, Valerie's robin; it's the Walt Disney version. Let's call her, well, Robyn. Second, Hitchcock's robin—the one banging on our window these past few days—was simply defending its turf. It just so happens, its turf turned out to be a reflection on our bedroom window. Let's call that robin Hitch.
Up until the morning Hitch arrived, I thought all robins were like Robyn; sweet, gentle, carefree, just hopping from worm to worm. Or, captured more poetically by Valerie the illustrator, a robin is a symbol of new beginnings and growth, the Robin is a reminder to let go of what no longer serves us; instead, embracing change with tenacity and a joyous heart."
That Hitch was tenacious there is no doubt. But for a few minutes each morning, when he mistook his reflection for a rival robin, his joyous heart thing was in question. And the only thing Hitch wanted to change was to get that other robin off his turf. So much so that he banged against our window, literally beating himself up over an illusion. Over a reflection. Over something not real.
Except to Hitch it was very real, and this very real illusion triggered his insecurities. Hitch, by nature was reacting to an innate law. He really had no choice but to defend his turf. It took our intervention of closing the shade to block his reflection, pulling back the curtain if you will, before Hitch was free to move on.
We humans do that sometimes, too, don't we? We encounter something that triggers us, that exposes an insecurity. We might get angry, or strike out, or feel flush, or become silent, or any number of other reactions when we see ourselves reflected in others or in events.
That's why two people can see the same thing very differently. To one, a honk of the horn might be a welcome assistance or taken to be directed at someone else. To another, that same honk under the same conditions, might create a strong defensive reaction: Why the h*ll are you honking at me!!! I'm in my lane. Just settle down.
And there it is.
Just settle down.
We find our trigger in our words (or actions) against others. "Just settle down" in this case may be true for the other driver, but it is oh-so-very-likely true of the one who uttered it.
Hitch is wired where he has little choice but to attack what he believes to be a rival. Our wiring give us a bit of leeway. We do have choice. Sometimes it requires a friend to pull back the curtain for us and other times we can employ self-reflection. Most often it's a combination of the two; the loving guidance of a friend PLUS our commitment to self-care.
So look for and embrace those things that unsettle us. It is an invitation of new beginnings and growth, a reminder to let go of what no longer serves us; instead, embracing change with tenacity and a joyous heart."