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Elbow Grease and Window Cleaner


So we’ve talked about how we mirror each other. Those amazing traits I love in you also exist in me. And the reverse is true too, the things I find frustrating in you are also things I possess and have an opportunity to look at and embrace or change.


We’ve also talked about how our actions are a mirror telling people how we want to be treated. If we choose to love and take care of ourselves people see this and assist in our mission. On the flip side, if we push hard and crash, they will likely see this as how we want to be treated and encourage us to continue in our efforts.


What happens when our mirror hasn’t been cleaned in a while and the reflection needs some attention?



Have you ever seen a huge wall of mirrors and just wondered in the way it makes the entire room feel huge and spacious?


Growing up my grandparents had one of these walls in their entryway. They were the mirrors with the gold veining throughout and as a kid sometimes I’d hang out there and trace the veins seeing if I could go from one 12 X 12 frame all over the wall, or at least as far as I could reach.


Now, I know the wall was a way to make the entry feel bigger and lighter than it was. The mirrors reflected the minimal light coming in which brightened the entry adding to the overhead fixture. Reflecting an image instead of a wall it seemed the wall disappeared and magically you felt the space was larger than the 3-foot wide door.


People use this magic everywhere and I find it amazing how your eye almost skips over the illusion. Visually you take in the enlarged area and have no direct focus on the effects of the unassuming mirror in the corner.




The challenge is keeping them clean. After a while, even mirrors can get dirty, and eventually, a film builds up leaving things a bit dingy, slightly dimmer, and fuzzily focused. Instead of giving a clear image while brightening and enlarging things you get a less clear image of how things truly are.


This translates beautifully to what we are reflecting to each other. The traits we see encourage us to embody the ones we deem positive and beautiful. Emotions bounce off each other and build them higher. (Anger begets anger and fuels a fire, joy encourages more joy.) And through our actions Christ’s words are taught; “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” 


When our words and actions are not in alignment our mirror needs a little cleaning and elbow grease.


If I emulate a behavior with the importance of self-care those around me will mirror this behavior back to me. Done consistently people recognize this is who I am and subconsciously support me and encourage me to continue living in this space. In moments when I need to push a little harder and a little further the people around me notice this and react. Some of them dig in and push right along with me. Others will encourage me to come back to self-care for a moment so I can continue with my passions. Either way, my mirror is being reflected and supported.


If, on the other hand, I continually say I need self-care yet actively avoid it…which one do you think people are going to support?


If you aren’t clear in your needs and desires, how can the people around you know what to reflect?


I used to push all the time. I’d constantly dig into the next project, the next big thing. I worked with my church, my children, my spouse, my friends, keeping the house up, 2-5 jobs at any given time, everything was go, go, go. All the while I’d be saying “I need a break” and yet putting my personal needs first seemed a farcical dream. 


Externally I was going and looked strong and amazing. People would comment on how busy I was and how you could count on me to get things done. They’d admire my tenacity and ask how I did it all. And I’d shrug and say something along the lines of “I just do what needs to be done.”


The true emotion I had inside was reminiscent of “The Little Engine That Could” just knowing the moment of “I couldn’t” would come eventually and I’d start the pattern all over again.


The moments when I couldn’t and broke down on the rails would bring a small reprieve. A momentary change before I jumped right back in and kept the trains-a-movin’. The mindset one of, “If I don’t do this, who will? Things will just fall apart or build up and I’ll be right back where I started. Pull up my big girl panties and get your butt back in the game.”


And so the ride went.


A belief I had to be a superhero and the cracks in the armor weren’t cracks, just temporary inconveniences.


The thing is; my mirror was so neglected there was no way anyone could see through to a clear reflection. I had to choose to clean it. And this meant I needed to come to a clearer understanding of who I am, what I wanted and take some action to get there.


I’m not saying it was easy. There was a lot of sweat, tears, and elbow grease along with continued checkpoints along the way. I would get it clear in one area and then choose to move to another and another and another. I had those difficult moments of deciding what I could let go of and what was truly necessary. Learning to ask for help? A hurdle I eventually made it over.




Giving time to settle into the change.


To take in the new reflection and feel into how much better life was.


Mirrors have the ability to reflect not only the beauty that is but the beauty that may be.


Take a deep look and discover something new.



Journal Prompts:

  1. Is there a corner of your mirror you’d like to address and clean?
  2. Looking at it, what is in your heart and what actions contradict it?
  3. List a few actions you can take to begin changing the reflection. 
  4. And then put one or two of them into action. See how things change and feel the shift. 
  5. Give it a little time and then re-evaluate. Is there an adjustment you need to make to keep moving in your new positive direction?


                                         with love,


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