Mirror Image


Mirrors are great for checking our appearance. We want to know how we look. Do we look good, clean, successful, polished, presentable? Mirrors will answer all those questions, but it’s all just packaging. Some of us are wrapped in plain brown paper tied with a string. Others prefer the glitz of shiny wrapping paper and curled ribbons. Some days we don’t even bother wrapping. While outside appearances are often a reflection of what and who we are on the inside, many times there is not a clue to be had.

WYSIWUG* works when designing a website, but there’s really no way of telling anything about a person by their appearance. We’ve been warned not to judge a book by its cover, but we all know covers entice you to pick up the book or magazine. Once you open it though, it has to deliver. All show and no substance doesn’t cut it. We don’t fall for all the smoke and mirrors anymore.

LadyLilithRossettiSo how do you portray the unseen, the the real you? Art is one way of making the soul visible but how do you know if what you are putting out there is reflective of the real you. What do people on the outside see when looking at you? All of these things came up as I worked on a new website design.

Many people design their blog or website with themselves or the people they know in mind. The real function of an online presence is to introduce yourself to people who don’t know you. According to studies, people will decide within five (yes, 5!) seconds whether to stick around or not. They will scan, not read, so visuals are extremely important and have to communicate what you are all about.

So what am I all about? I’m not particularly clear on this myself. I have a hard time settling on visuals because I am constantly changing and growing into myself. I figured it was time to step back and take a look at who I am and what I’m all about.

One of the things I do as a coach and mentor is help artists find their voice, their style. It can be in plain sight but we have a hard time seeing it since we are so close to it, so wrapped up in it. We can’t often see or understand what we are intuitively drawn to. Friends (or coaches), being on the outside looking in (objectively), can often see what we cannot.

I needed someone on the outside to hold up a mirror for me.

Before I go any further, let me step back a bit. Everything I’m saying here is based on the premise that what you do, how you act, and the art you create is all coming from a genuine place. If you are trying to be like someone, or create art based on someone else’s vision, no one will be seeing anything clearly. Smoke and mirrors create illusion. You need to first get rid of the smoke and tarnish and polish the mirror.

The real mirror of your life and soul is your true friend.
A friend helps you glimpse who you really are and what you are doing here.
John O’Donohue

SoulsearchingSo I went searching for my mirror image. Two people appeared in my life. Not close friends, but people I had come to know through my art and online presence. One gave me what I was looking for without even knowing I was looking. The other knew exactly what I was looking for and gave me specific insight.

Some things I learned confirmed with what I already thought. Other information  gave me new insight as to how I am perceived in the world. Both were very helpful.  Yet I soon realized that the most valuable insight was something no mirror would reveal.

What is inside of us radiates and shines creating a mirror of our soul that only others can see. We can never see ourselves as others do because they are seeing us through their eyes. What and who they see is colored by their own perception, their own soul.

We can turn to others for guidance and feedback, but the only way to know ourselves and to put that into a form that others can see and understand, is to BE ourselves.

Not try to be what others see or what we want them to see.
Not try to be what we want others to think we are.
Not try to be anything but who and how we are right here, right now.

The more certain and comfortable you are with who you are, the more light you shine on others. You become their mirror. (Tweet this.)

There are two ways of spreading light:
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
Edith Wharton

No light, no mirror image.


  1. Hi Leslie, Just wanted to let you know that I gave you a shout out on art abandonment…although no I am thinking it was a PM, but check out this facebook group. I left a fabric collage and someone asked me about how I got the words on fabric. I didn’t use the TAP paper, it’s on my list of things to try this vacation week, but I did tell the person about it, gave her your name and she loved your site….thanks for all you do to encourage those of us with an artistic bent.

  2. Seanora says:

    I truly enjoyed reading this post. It gave much to think about. Thank you so much.

  3. Insightful, uplifting post. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Mary Helen in OR says:

    One of my Mother’s oft quoted lines…

    Robert Burns; O would some power the giftie gie us to see oursilves as others see us.

    I had the singular pleasure to live on a Forest Service fire lookout two summers atop an 8000 foot peak. While there I penned the following caution for those seeking refuge in solitude though the thought is mine and not meant to deter your search for quietude…

    A place to be alone I shought
    But in the quiet there I found
    That solitude is also frought
    With my own thought. Tumultuous Sound.

    I do love the opportunities you give to share your thoughts so very freely!
    Mary Helen in OR

    • Your poem makes me grin. I totally get it. But after a lifetime of other peoples voices, TV and internet, I will welcome whatever my solitude has to say to me. Bring it on!

  5. Oh what a synchronistic moment! I am exactly designing my logo and visuals for my site right now. Technically I am so challenged how to get what I want onto paper or into a computer talk formation. I have been very lax about taking the time to read my 52 pick ups. I wonder if there is a stream I can go to, to reach each one in succession when I lot out my time? I did sign up, I need to make time to read all of your wonderful gems of the heart. I plan on starting a blog, I would actually like people to want to read it!! Thank you Leslie ……………Molly

    • Don’t you just love synchronicity, Molly. I am glad it came at the right time for you. Can’t wait to see your website.