‘A kaleidoscope is a cylinder with mirrors containing loose, coloured objects such as beads or pebbles and bits of glass. As the viewer looks into one end, light entering the other creates a colourful pattern, due to the reflection off of the mirrors.’ – Wikipedia
‘Many people cannot refrain from picking up stones of a slightly unusual colour or shape and keeping them…Men have collected stones from the beginning of time and assumed that certain ones were the container for the life-force and all its mysteries.’ – Carl Jung
Sometimes patterns from the past get stirred up. There might be one piece of a picture that comes up again in a new setting, like coloured glass in a kaleidoscope. It is so vivid – think of a bright blue or deep green – that its reappearance brings back the whole old picture. Even though, when you pause to think, it is just that one piece that is the same. The rest is new. So, can you not let the spectre of the past be stirred up? Can you not react in the old way?
Especially when you recognise a parent’s voice in the present picture. You hear your mother’s voice of hurt, impatience, frustration, the spoiled child – hiding her head under the sheets and retreating for what seems like weeks even if it is only overnight.
So once you see then, and become once again the child that observed the parent-child, can you also see now? – the rest of the picture is not the same. And you are no longer that child. You have different choices. You can be, just be. Be an observer of beautiful forms, standing back.
And yet, still, in a very deep place inside, those feelings are stirred up. This is life, this is normal. No, it isn’t. It doesn’t have to be.
The piece of kaleidoscopic wonder is a piece of glass with a sharp edge. It cuts, you wince. It is said you can remove a thorn with a thorn. So something is needed to cut deep beyond that level of helpless feeling.
‘She lives with little joy or fear.
Over the water, running near,
The sheepbell tinkles in her ear.
Before her hangs a mirror clear,
Reflecting towered Camelot.’ (The Lady of Shalott – Tennyson, 1833 version)
‘And moving thro’ a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot.’ ((The Lady of Shalott – Tennyson, 1842 version)
Contemplating what images to put on your Wall, you quickly become aware of your image. The internet is a wonderful mirror.
You may get lost in a sea of posts. The voices in your mind as you read them down your Wall: ‘that’s superficial’, ‘that’s beautiful’, ‘that’s blowing his own trumpet’, ‘that’s very long’, that’s nice’, ‘that sounds pompous’, ‘that sounds fake’, ‘that’s so well-expressed’, ‘a victim’, ‘ a rant!’, ‘how sad’, ‘how can they think that?’…
The endless flow of observations turning into judgments in the mind. Shadows of the world appear. The mirror is no longer clear once the mind gets a hold of it.
You can turn the mirror back on yourself and see how you are in that world of illusion.
It’s like a journey back in time. Retrace your steps to see what makes you comfortable, and uncomfortable, in the presence of others – invisible others.
‘What do they see?’ ‘What will they think of me?’ How will they respond?’ ‘What should I say?’ ‘What shouldn’t I say?’ ‘Will they agree?’ ‘ Will we have an argument?’ ‘Should I like it?’ 'Is that ego?'
The list goes on and on. In a way, it’s like slowing down action in real time so that you can consider, make a choice, before you let your buttons be pushed, and push the ‘like’ or ‘share’ button to respond. That’s the luxury of remoteness, so often belittled as a bad thing. Actually it lets us see ourselves in action, in slow motion, and create a gap between the prompt to act and the action itself, so that we may become less attached to the result.
The kaleidoscopic patterns unfold, they repeat themselves.
If you look clearly without judgment or endorsement, then maybe you can see yourself a little more in focus, in the mirror; and maybe you can consider changing your reflection.
The thoughts and feelings I have float away from me, out to you, and float down to me. I find them in the mirror that is a river of flowing images. They are moments snatched from the flow offered to you. You may or may not see them. It doesn’t matter. It is also no matter whether I am here or not. I am still here whether or not you see me, just as you are here too in your absence.
I can use a subtle tone when I speak to you, you may miss it completely if you’re not listening. A small action is sometimes a kernel of a larger feeling.
So with a gaze. My glance fell upon the most beautiful camellias in a vase on a table, when I was talking to someone the other day. I observed my gaze deepen and become softer and more subtle, not grasping just receiving. I felt how different it was from the more careless active movements of looking, moving, grasping, talking that happen during so much of life.
Anything can be a mirror if we choose to let it be. Any moment, movement, look, thought, feeling, action. Everything can be a mirror and we can stop and reflect even as we act, without the reflection getting in the way; with reflection informing the action, so the action is performed with more skill and perhaps received with more care and more feeling consideration, which is love.
A small action, like a stone of a slightly unusual colour or shape, is a container for the life-force and all its mysteries. Hold on to it.
‘Modern kaleidoscopes are made of brass tubes, stained glass, wood, steel, gourds or almost any material an artist can use. The part containing objects to be viewed is called the 'object chamber' or 'object cell'. Object cells may contain almost any material. Sometimes the object cell is filled with a liquid so the items float and move through the object cell in response to a slight movement from the viewer.’ – Wikipedia