There was once a crack in the mirror of a powerful and beautiful queen. When she looked into the glass, seeking confirmation of her beauty, she saw instead the image of another: Snow White. Because of the crack in the mirror–a crack in her own soul–she did not understand what she saw. She did not realize that what we see in others is a reflection of ourselves.
We doubt our power when we forget to use it. We doubt our beauty when we look for it outside of ourselves. And so the queen believed that her youth and beauty were gone to another, and determined to kill the young Snow White. But Snow White was the image the queen saw when she looked into the glass–how could she kill Snow White without killing a part of herself?
As for Snow White, the queen’s pursuit sent her on a journey of discovery. She began as a victim, alone and hunted through a dark forest, and emerged a queen in her own right, sure of her own strength and power. Two faces in the glass; two journeys of discovery. Both are two sides of the same coin. We all have power and beauty within us. When we see the gifts of others as a part of our own light, our power and beauty grow. When we see others as separate, as a threat, an enemy to be destroyed, we can only destroy ourselves.
We are surrounded by mirrors, constantly reminded of who we are and what we have within us. The beauty you see in others is a reflection of the beauty that is within you. The power you see in others is a reflection of the power that lies within you. The whole world is your mirror. Instead of asking who is the fairest of them all, ask instead to understand that the fairest is the one who sees beauty in others as well as in herself.
Peace is not freedom from pain, but transcendence.
Pain can be an invitation, a call to adventure, an opportunity to forgive and to heal. No one lives free from pain; no one can help but cause pain. We all must, at times, play the muse to another’s story, whether we intend to or not. Think of them–the evil stepmothers, the dragons, the sirens. They are the ones who send the call, who propel the heroes and heroines into the realm of adventure and possibility. They are the ones who open the door to the bright, messy world we call life. They are the fire of change. Why fear playing the part of fire?
Play your part as openly and truthfully as you know how, choose love over fear and be quick to forgive.
Our lives are given shape and meaning by those things on which we choose to put our attention. We can seek the good, the beautiful, the things that bring us comfort and joy, or we can focus on what causes us pain, what frightens us, what makes us angry.
So often we think we should seek out pain, so that we will be better able to defend ourselves against it. All that does is allow the pain to expand, to consume us, to drive our actions and encourage us to close our hearts. It makes us worry; it makes us forget all that we love. We create the very things we fear. We all have a choice between love and fear; the trick is to remember to make a choice, rather than be blown about by a changing world.
There is a Native American legend about a wise elder who described the struggle this way: “Within me, there are two dogs. One is good; the other is mean and evil. The evil dog is constantly attacking the good dog.”
“Which dog,” asked a child, “will win?”
After a moment’s reflection, the elder replied: “The one I feed the most.”
So feed those parts of you that are patient, forgiving and kind. Search for joy. Be grateful for the sun on your skin, the rain on the earth, the wind in the trees. Let yourself love. Let yourself sing. Remember how to dance. Then watch your soul expand, and the world with it.