This past Lent a friend gave me a book called Simplifying the Soul by Paula Huston. In the book, the author uses each day of Lent to explore different ways of simplifying your life. She covers topics such as money, body, mind, space, and relationships.
Each day you read a passage from the book and then perform a short exercise. Some of the exercises were relatively easy like "clean out a junk drawer" or "give to a charity." Others were more difficult for me like "welcome an interruption" or "visit someone in the hospital."
However, it was one of the easiest exercises that opened my eyes to something I didn't even know existed: Cover your mirrors for a whole morning.
At first I thought, "This is a no brainer." I don't wear makeup and many days I don't even wash my hair. Instead I wake up, give it a brush, and start the day.
I only have one mirror in my apartment, and was fairly certain I didn't glance in it very often. I was convinced mirrors were not my thing.
So I covered my mirror.
That day as I walked around my apartment, made trips to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and washed my face, I realized something incredibly insightful: I look at myself in the mirror more than I realize.
And in that looking there is constant scrutiny going on -- a subtle barrage of judgments arriving in the form of whispers that I can barely hear. However, by covering my mirror I noticed the day reverberated in a silence that was absent of all criticism regarding my appearance.
It was beautiful, relaxing, and freeing. It reminded me of when you go camping, and you don't see yourself in the mirror for days. Instead you are enjoying your relationships with friends, animals, and nature. You feel so much more in tune with yourself and more loving towards your body.
That day I understood why some sacred places don't have mirrors or certain mourning traditions cover mirrors during periods of grieving. In the absence of mirrors, you become more connected from within and let the outside just be at peace.
I hope you find yourself covering your mirrors once and awhile too!