A friend once invited me to a drum circle that she was leading. I’d never been to one before, so I agreed to go, it would be an opportunity to try something new. Before the drum circle was held, there was a sharing circle first. A talking stick was passed around the circle and whoever was holding it spoke what was on their mind or in their heart. I heard a lot of interesting stories that day. Some were sad, others full of hope, one was filled with anger and another filled with hate. That is the story that stuck with me.
A young man with a long braid down his back spoke of traveling to New York City and finding only hate there. He spoke of people pushing him out of the way, strangers yelling at him, he even spoke of being spit on by someone. He didn’t find one single person who smiled, one single person who would help him. He blamed it on the city, he blamed it on the people, he blamed it on discrimination because he was Native American.
I was upset by his descriptions because it wasn’t the diverse New York that I knew. I had recently been there and found happy people, help whenever I needed it and free hugs (usually near the parks and the yoga studios you can always find someone with a free hugs sign!). And then I felt sad for this young man, because I realized that he found exactly what he was looking for in New York, just like I did.
It reminds me of a story I learned, a Japanese folk tale about two dogs and a house of 1000 mirrors. The first dog was happy and when he heard of the house of 1000 mirrors, he decided to take a look. He bounded into the house with a big smile, ears up and tail wagging and was happy and surprised to find 1000 happy dogs, tails wagging all smiling back at him. He was so happy when he left the house of 1000 mirrors that he told another dog about it and the 1000 happy dogs he found there. The other dog was suspicious, but decided to check out the house too. With his head low and a mean look in his eyes, he slunk into the house. All he saw were 1000 other mean looking dogs, so he bared his teeth and growled at them and 1000 dogs growled back at him. He ran from the house thinking it was a horrible place.
The moral of the story? All of the faces of the world are mirrors. They reflect back what is shown to them. What do you see in the mirror? What do you see reflected back to you?