“The bus driver must always balance her gaze backwards using the rear and side mirrors, and forward, as she anticipates what approaches through the enormous windshields.” – Debra Westenskow
When I wrote about the Mirrors practice in Good Busy, I emphasized the importance of paying attention to everything and everyone around you. Since then, the practice has taken on new meaning for me. While many self-help experts encourage people to dwell in the now, they have never helped me to do so in my own thoughts. Happily, the Mirrors practice has begun to make a difference in my own everyday life.
Imagining Debra behind the wheel of a bus has helped me build a better relationship to the constant intertwining of past, present, and future thoughts in my mind. As I watch Debra drive, I realize I am not a safe driver if I linger too long in my rearview or side mirrors. I interpret this habit as a metaphor for dwelling too much on my past and future thoughts. My mind and heart are clearest when they are focused on the present of my daily windshield, not the regrets or wishes beyond the present moment. While it helps to check the rearview and side mirrors every now and then, particularly when I am planning to make a transition, it is best for me to stay focused on the territory just beyond the windshield.
Busyness can make me so self-absorbed that I do not pay attention to the sparkle in the here and now. Debra both celebrates the people who get on her bus and keeps them safe as she focuses on the road and regularly checks her mirrors. Maintaining a proper balance among what is just ahead and all that lies behind and ahead is how we can engage with the Mirrors practice.