Self-esteem

Tad Danielewski told us that if we looked into the mirror too long, we’d meet the adversary. We were elite instruments disciplining ourselves to navigate currents of the emotional state. The paradox of that reality is we were to reach it from the stage, Before twenty years on earth I found myself in a workshop of spiritual beings on the hunt for human accuracy. Mr. D. and his students of the Professional Actor’s Workshop early on illuminated every labyrinthian climb and chute that I would take or not on the pathway to this moment.
Awareness of unpracticed discipline matters little to awareness of descent. In the three decades since, chemicals and a preoccupation with self obscured the way much like a darkened amusement park ride twists and drops and halts seemingly of its own volition.
To ask the mirror for the truth is folly.
If to esteem is to value and self-esteem to value self, part and parcel of myself is my ego: the adversary. And we have met. When the eyes are the window to the soul, what stares back at me is wretched indeed. Facial muscles dissemble, beguile, flirt; youth is the human cosmetic. But observation and conversation between my eyes and their flipside liquify any imagined connection I have on my reality. Even the use of “my” skews the whole. The reflection resurrects the enemy of my youth. I see oceans of pain, deep darkness, fear unfathomed. That’s what I see surfacing on the glass. (what’s underneath?)
But if I were to go through the looking glass, whoever it is I am would be free of who I had become. The stand off for self-assessment by an incompetent self and its mirror twin becomes irrelevant as the image evaporates into the Blue Sky above the sea. The answer for me has been meditation, breathing and mindfulness. My brain howls with nonsense these days, and the mirror helps not at all. In fact, I do not recognize these days the visage that stares back puzzled, unfamiliar. My best bet is to rest in the seat of my soul, and breathe, knowing that the oxygen provided by this earth is all that is keeping the temporal alive. Live in the moment, they say. It’s true. The past has been alternately horrific and glorious, but usually the present is ok. How I yearn for the guidance of my former teacher–long gone, but he is in my soul, and sometimes I meet his disciples along the way. We share a common bond of connection and inquisitiveness and courage known only (to my knowledge) in the realm of theatre.

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