Do you remember the first time you heard a recording of your voice and said “I don’t sound like that, do I?” The same happens when you see yourself in a video but add “look like that” to the phrase. It highlights how much time goes into acting to make the portrayal seem natural. Few people have an inherent grace on screen, most of us just look like a human being filmed and trying not to look too goofy or awkward. The rough edges are there, the anxious expression as we try to look natural shows that it doesn’t feel that way. It takes practice, and acceptance of who we are to make a video or be interviewed.
I have been doing this practice, trying to soften the rough edges, relax my facial muscles to achieve a calmer look. It is both fun and embarrassing to watch the results. It causes the “Oh I make such weird expressions when I speak!” reaction. We tend not to think of how mobile our faces are when we talk, video shows us with a clarity that can be cringeworthy. And yet, as a learning experience it is good to know, to “see ourselves as others see us”. It helps us stay in touch with our human side, to stay humble.
Looking into a rock pool seems to me to give a glimpse of eternity. If it is reflecting the sky it feels like I can see forever, and if I can see the bottom, all the little bits of rock and life seem to capture my mind in a sense of the endless cycles of nature. It is a soothing, awe-inspiring feeling which puts me firmly in my very tiny place in the universe.Though at the same time I feel as if I could stretch out my arms and touch all of it. It makes me feel part of it all, linked to everything that ever has been and will be in a stream of consciousness that ties us all together.
To paraphrase John Gillespie Magee Jr. in his poem High Flight:
“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth…and touched the face of God.”
My mom and I send letters back and forth, because it is always a treat to see something in the mailbox that isn’t junk mail or bills. We share cartoons, unusual news pieces and the occasional obituary that we find interesting. The column is called “A message from your hometowne”, it is signed simply as Paul and Cheryll. The opening quote is as follows:
“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service.
To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”
I liked all of the points Paul and Cheryll expanded on, but especially this final section:
“To yourself, respect. We often do things to ourselves that we would never dream of doing to someone we care about. (When is the last time you called a friend ugly, told them they weren’t good enough, discouraged them from following their dreams, or sabotaged their happiness?) Don’t harm yourself. Don’t insult yourself. Be honest to yourself. Like yourself. You are worth it.”
So obvious, yet difficult for many to follow. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, or trying something out of your comfort zone, or for being a good citizen. Each bit of goodness we put into ourselves and the world can only help.