Unfiltered: No. 4

Let me tell you a secret. I only made it halfway to Mirror Lake.

Two years ago, I stumbled onto a simple, yet insanely inspiring idea, while studying how to write stronger fiction. Every memorable story grabs the reader by the heartstrings midway on the heroine’s journey, to reveal the mirror moment.

What’s the mirror moment?

It’s that moment when our protagonist struggles to move forward, she has been pushed so close to her limits. What she desires most drifts just beyond her reach, and the consequences of her choices threaten to bring her world crashing down around her. But then something happens. She slows down. She takes a deep breath. She gazes into a mirror, or out at a distant horizon, or upon a reflective lake. And she realizes the strength to succeed cannot be found anywhere in the physical universe.

Instead, the strength lives inside of her.

This is the moment of profound change. A shift in energy. The conviction to turn things around. True transformation.

The mirror moment marks that unmistakable point in time when we take the courage to step up to our own destiny, and declare “I got this.” It marks a mending of our thoughts, an acceptance of our bodies, a reckoning with our emotions, and a transcendent lifting of our souls.

No one else can show us the mirror. We have to open our own eyes to see it.

It’s just that… Personally? I didn’t quite make it there. In August, I traveled north to the Porcupine Mountains — a destination I’ve dreamed about for years — and I seized on the opportunity to hike to Mirror Lake. In a hardwood forest, I chased a metaphorical and literal mirror moment. Why not? It’s poetic, isn’t it? Still, I came up short.

On an evening adventure, I braved a steep climb along a forested gorge, where I was only able to hike maybe a half mile per hour. I sank my hiking boots into the soft needles of the hemlock trees, I trudged through swampy pools of mud, and I traced the lines of sunlight that illuminated the mountain beyond me.

After a while, I had to admit my failure to myself. It became clear I wasn’t making good time. At that pace, I would’ve had to hike back in the dark. Since this was a solo adventure in a kingdom ruled by bears, I knew making the entire trek to the lake and back would be unwise.

But you know what else? That’s ok.

Even stopping short of Mirror Lake, I sensed a personal transformation as it began inside me. The breathtakingly beautiful hike exposed emotional muscles of my own that still need conditioning. The wilderness spoke to me, insisting I needed to build up my strength.

Which reminds me, there’s something I forgot to tell you. I may have decided to write in a way that is Unfiltered, stripping away any attempt to hide my deepest thoughts. But these reflections are born from a strong foundation. Every confession comes from a place of love.

Woes of the global pandemic aside, I am happier than I have been in my entire life. I am living a brilliant dream — converting my deepest desires into an unbelievable reality. I’ll be the first to admit I still have miles to climb. A much more strenuous hike waits for me, just beyond the sunsets of my past.

Yet, this adventure is bathed in joy.

Despite my musings on a complicated life, I’ve gazed at my reflection long enough to reach a pivotal milestone, to accept a unique concept, to understand a complex assortment of who I am in this moment.

With resolve, I’m making strides every week on a rare trail, a path to absolute self-compassion. My daydreams aside, I am actively pursuing self-love. Is it selfish? Perhaps. Is it because I am independent? Undoubtedly. Is the journey uplifting? Most definitely.

With every adventure I take, this becomes more and more true. I am the love of my own life.

Read Unfiltered

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