A mirror’s reflection

My hair is abundant, thick, and greying, as going grey has never perturbed me. For ten years I had a bob, the only hairstyle suited to my kind of hair. It required maintenance and a trip to the hairdresser every three months.

I always found excuses or reasons to postpone the appointment until it became too difficult for me to manage the blow wave. I considered going to the hairdresser as a waste of time although I was usually happy with the result. The incessant chatter and curiosity of the hairdresser put me off making my next appointment.

But was this a sufficient reason to avoid going to the salon? Where did the discomfort I experienced come from?

It took a while to begin to come to the understanding of why I felt like this, but with an honest look back into my life it felt like it stemmed from a feeling of worthlessness going way back to my childhood and my upbringing.

I grew up in a family that did not display affection. As far back as I remember the relationship with my mother was difficult. My little brother was the apple of her eye. At age seven without any explanation my parents left me and my brother behind with other members of the family and went to Africa. This left me feeling like tumbleweed as we were tossed between family members until finally settling with an uncle and aunt who treated us like their own children. My parents did not come back until I was in my early teenage years.

At the times when my mother was present, the tension between us was relentless and the put downs never stopped. I developed a debilitative shyness and took refuge in books. I contracted tuberculosis when I was 14 which required medication for two years during which I gained weight. This did nothing for my self-worth. I started burrowing my way into a comfortable groove away from the world.

When I turned 21 I left for Spain, then onto England where I met my future husband. After a year he migrated to Australia, and within 12 months I followed him.

By then the sweet man I had known in England had reintegrated into his Middle Eastern culture. And so, a new cycle started for me. My husband deemed me an ugly duckling and I felt the sting of comparison on a permanent basis. The comfortable groove I had built to hide away from the world became a deep trench filled with poison, deep sadness, anger and resentment. My body regularly tried to clear the miasma via long and painful migraines.

Having travelled as far away from my original family as possible I had fallen back into another pit of put downs that confirmed, should I have had any doubt, my worthlessness.

So back to the hairdresser. My perception was that the person assigned to me and making small talk during my haircut was utterly uninterested in me. How could they be when I did not value myself? I had come from a place of shyness and awkwardness, which precluded any meaningful interaction with my fellow human beings.

But then 10 years ago I was introduced to Universal Medicine and its founder Serge Benhayon who was presenting on the Ageless Wisdom and the truth of life. The first presentation I attended resonated with me. I started listening to the recordings of his presentations that were available. There was a thirst to hear more and yet there was an undeniable reticence. The truth about life was made clear but I was only dipping my toes into the full wisdom on offer. I cannot pinpoint the time when the unfoldment started picking up pace. Gradually I implemented changes that I embodied and are now an integral part of my everyday life.

On the physical level my movements slowed down. What I previously did in drive, with haste, while my mind was already on the next tasks ahead, I now accomplish with focus and attentiveness. Of course, I still have a list I like to complete every day, but more often than not it is done with a conscious presence on the task at hand, my mind focussed on and present with what my body is doing. I place importance on mundane things: the way I open a door, dress in the morning, or prepare myself for sleep. These seemingly small details invite the next and create a gentle flow during the day.

The emotional side of my being was skewed towards sadness and anger, with the corollary of being very judgmental towards others and myself. Free of reactions, I am not. However, when I give myself the opportunity to observe a situation, I can see it for what it is and thus remove the sting of what could be interpreted as a personal attack. Being okay with the fact that it is what it is, is truly liberating. It is as if a lead blanket had been lifted from my shoulders, giving me space to live fully in the moment.

But it is still a work in progress. With this slow but palpable transformation, the anger dissipated and with it the migraines. The previously alien sense of self-worth slowly took root in me. So, one day I stopped and finally allowed myself the space to feel into what was really going on.

The time had come to let go of what I realised was victimhood!

I realised that the only way to move forward was to picture myself seated in front of a mirror with the hairdresser talking and cutting my hair. I saw myself seated and following the activity of the salon in the multitude of mirrors while the hairdresser periodically squared my head to continue with the cut. But even when brought back face to face with the mirror I could only venture a swift look before finding an escape route. I either closed my eyes or followed the activity around me from the corner of my eyes. And this is when the penny dropped.

I realised that sitting for up to an hour in front of myself created a feeling of unease and real discomfort. I simply could not face my own reflection. It was an unsettling but salutary realisation. Here I was discovering my face, looking into my eyes, dismayed by what I considered to be years of neglect and abuse.

It is amazing that it took 69 years to wake up to this – to finally be able to look into my own eyes and see my body as a vehicle of expression, the body of a beautiful woman. This was the opportunity to leave any shame and any worthlessness I had been carrying by the wayside.

For this I also thank Natalie Benhayon. Through her Women in Livingness programmes and presentations she has revealed the innate sacredness of women. She has exposed the evil of comparison that keeps women apart and instead she has taught us to love ourselves, our curves, and every angle of our body.

"A woman in sacredness knows that every curve she has is her angle of Heaven that only she is capable of reflecting."

Natalie Benhayon

Now the mirror sends back to me an honest reflection of a physical body that is slowly changing shape.

With my newfound awareness I went to the salon and this time engaged with the hairdresser. We may have exchanged the usual chit chat, but it was done with warmth and a genuine interest. These were still baby steps for me, but as a result I was given the best blow wave ever. Everyone commented on how good my hair looked and how lucky I am to have so much and so healthy.

So, the question is, to what length did I go to mask my real self? In truth I did not need a mask; I had simply dug myself into a deeper hole of worthlessness as time went by. In this subterranean world I lost sight of the light, just like a tiny mole.

In the long years of my withdrawal, I did not only damage myself but all those close to me and those I came across in my life to whom I denied a deep connection.

Now, the mirror is sending back a beam of light so bright I can see and deeply appreciate that I am on the journey back to where I come from, to the beautiful woman I am and have always been. The mirror has finally become my friend.

Filed under

AgeingBeauty mythsBody imageSacrednessSelf-worth

  • By Patricia Darwish

    Lover of nature and life; a forever student of The Ageless Wisdom.

  • Photography: Iris Pohl, Photographer and Videographer

    Iris Pohl is an expert in capturing images with a natural light style. Little to no time is needed for photoshop editing and the 'original' moment captured to represent your brand and remain in its authenticity.