House of A Writer

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

Mindfulness in the mirror

on 4 August 2018

I love the night time, when I’m finally alone and the moon is my only company. I love to read and write when I feel inspired with the moonlight as my muse. When everyone else is sleeping I hear the gentle sounds of snoring as I tuck my kids into bed. Before I retire for the night I have my evening ritual of cleansing my skin, brushing and flossing my teeth, cleaning my glasses, and brushing my hair.

What makes my ritual a little more unique is that I’m prayerful while doing these daily tasks. I’ve had this routine as long as I can remember and if I don’t participate in it daily I feel a pang that I missed out on something special that makes me happy.

As I remove my glasses and clean my lenses I thank God for my gift of sight. I ask that he will help me to look with love at myself. Even if there are times I don’t like who I see in the mirror. I gently remind myself that it’s my Mom’s face looking back at me and she was the personification of beauty.

Then I take my eye makeup remover put it on the cotton ball and remove my makeup asking God to remove all negative things I’ve seen that day. Then I wet my cloth with warm water and massage my face adding my skin cleanser. As I’m cleansing my pores I ask for Gods grace to remove impurities from my aura that I’ve absorbed throughout the day. Helping me to glow with positivity for myself and others.

I then take my toner and rub it all over my skin and neck asking that all my unkind thoughts expressed to be washed away as I learn the lesson to speak with love, kindness and respect to myself and my family. I then massage my face with my night cream and ask for forgiveness as I wipe away all the years of disappointment and judgement I’ve felt or given.

I’m mindful in the moment as I pick up my brush and comb my hair thanking God for my blessings and to continue to be a better person than I was yesterday. With each brush stroke I thank myself for everyone I helped and who helped me. I also vow to appreciate all the abundance I have instead of wanting things I don’t.

I reach for my toothbrush and squeeze out the toothpaste and swipe away all the mean words I’ve said and deeds done in my past and present. I then take my dental floss and clean carefully in between my teeth. I pray for patience when my bucket was empty and the stress overwhelmed me. Causing me to clench my jaw and lash out with meanness . I think about all the foods I have eaten today and thank God for the ability to purchase it and a home to store it in. I pray that I’ll make better decisions if I chose to indulge in junk food and I thank myself if I had a better nutrition and rewarded my body with healthy foods.

Next I take my favourite lotion and massage my hands, wrists, and forearms. I’m grateful for the strength I have and for my beautiful sons who’s hands I’ve held, hugs received, and the gentle touch of drying tears over the years.

After I’m all clean and freshly scented I put my lip balm on being mindful of any negative words that fell from my lips. Also being thankful for soft kisses shared and the love I have for my husband. After my ritual is complete I stand and look at myself in the mirror . Sometimes I smile, sing, and a lot of times I cry.

I think back to when I was younger and I’d spend hours looking in the mirror pointing out things I didn’t like. The size of my nose and the blackheads living on it. How chubby my cheeks are and how many crows feet I have around my eyes from squinting without glasses. I would carry on with how I disliked that my ears stuck out too much. Especially when I pulled my hair back into a pony tail. I would promise myself that one day I’d get all these imperfections fixed. As I wanted to be a model and actress and thought with my glaring imperfections that I wouldn’t get any roles or even an audition for that matter!

I wouldn’t let anyone take a picture of my side profile and a lot of times when the camera came out I’d hide behind my hair or a hat. I was convinced that everyone would start teasing me about who I saw in the mirror. I’ve learned now that after many years of therapy that this is a condition called bodydysmorphia. I spent so much time in the bathroom as a teenager that my sister would be pounding on the door threatening to knock it down!

What she didn’t know was how I cried and lamented these features given to me. How I judged myself so harshly that if I was teased about the way I look I would skip school, hide in my room, and would only come out to eat. I had already heard all the negative things from my inner critic and didn’t need it reinforced from the bullies I encountered. High school can be a cruel place and feel like a prison if you’re seen as less than and treated accordingly.

That behaviour changes who you are and erodes your self esteem until you’re nothing but a mere shell of yourself… I wonder sometimes what I would be like today if I was one of the cool kids at the table with popularity instead of judgement.

I still remember the time I stopped judging who I saw in the mirror. It was the day that I brought my son into the world and the Doctor placed him on my chest. As he cuddled up to me skin to skin, I was in awe of how beautiful he was. I studied his features closely counting his fingers and toes, stroking his hair, and marvelling that he was really here and mine! I realized he had my eyes, ears, lips, (which came from my Mom) and his Daddy’s nose and chin. We created this precious baby with love and in that moment my own spirit started to fill with healing light.

When my beloved Mama met my son for the first time and held him in her arms I melted with emotion. I was so grateful for her giving me life so I could give him his. I saw her eyes filled with love, while she snuggled him close smelling that newborn baby aroma. Which I’m sure is rainbows, sunlight, and baby powder. I saw her smile as she wiped the tears flowing down her face. Then when she sang to him my heart was uplifted and I was free from all my self inflicted pain and judgement.

I resolved to never treat myself so harshly. Now that my parents are gone from this earth I look at myself differently. I thank my Mom for giving me my nose, no matter what size. I have a reminder of my ancestry and how powerful and amazing genetics can be. A piece of her, passed down to me from my Grandpa and my Great Grandpa. I look at myself now and smile and I see my high cheekbones and my full cheeks. I thank my Dad for these features that were passed on from my Grandma and my Great Grandpa.

I know all my siblings have this genetic trait from our Dad and our ancestors when we smile and our eyes disappear. I look at the wrinkles around my eyes knowing that I’ve had memories of laughter. I look at the slight creases by my mouth and I think of all the happy moments I’ve had that I expressed with my smile. Then lastly I look at my blue eyes I realize that even through the tears they’ve cried I’ve seen countless moments of joy, love, and beauty. I strive to be less judgemental to myself and for others as we’re all just doing the best we can. Our bodies are mere vessels, it’s our spirits and the experience of truly living that matters the most. This is me being comfortable in my own skin, committed to loving myself instead of wasting the years I have on regret.

20 Responses to “Mindfulness in the mirror”

  1. Jeanine, you made me teary. This post is beautiful. I love the way you connect your external ritual to your internal thoughts and emotions.

  2. Sherry Lee says:

    Beautiful post! I love how you ended it with this phrase in your last paragraph, “Our bodies are mere vessels, it’s our spirits and the experience of truly living that matters the most.”

  3. Vivienne says:

    Wow. What a wonderful job you’ve done of capturing mindfulness. Absolutely bang on. I know this, but I don’t practice it to the degree you have described above. Today, I shall go forth with this in mind. Thank you!

    • jsackmom says:

      Thank you so much Vivienne your kindness means so much to me. I know there’s moments when I worry and I need to practice more mindfulness. I feel the connection more in the moonlit moments. ?

  4. parkhansen says:

    Jeanine, I loved reading this. Thank you for sharing

  5. kage2015 says:

    Love the way you take simple everyday things like brushing you teeth and make it something special to think about. Enjoyed this very much

  6. Mary B says:

    So beautifully written. It’s so important to take care of YOU and to also be mindful and grateful for all of your blessings. Thank you for the reminder.

  7. A wonderful read for a September Sunday morning. It is very inspirational, emotional and motivating

  8. What a beautiful ritual to give thanks and to be grateful. I need to follow suit in my own life.

    • jsackmom says:

      Thank you so much for reading. It resulted from many years of not liking who I saw in the mirror. Since I started this ritual I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin. ❤️

  9. Oh gosh this made me feel quite emotional! I so needed to read this right now, I am struggling with low self esteem and self loathing. I need to practice this more regularly!

  10. Alvin says:

    Wonderful read, very inspirational and I think it touches a lot of us in away. I love what you do before going to bed, I wish I can also practice shaving off all the negativity away and just thank God and count my blessings and hopefully it will attract positivity in my life. Thanks for sharing this.

  11. Kelly Curtis says:

    Very nice! Happy new year and thank you for following.

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