One of the benefits of all things being connected – you to me, humanity to the earth – is that we have mirrors set up all around us. These mirrors help us see ourselves more clearly, and in studying what we see in the mirror, we discover new facets of our own selves.
Take an animal as your mirror – a pet, a farm animal, or a wild animal. Notice how your instincts and reactions are similar. Do you greet your friends with a dog’s exuberance? Do you have the same skittishness around large, noisy crowds as a leopard would around a milling herd of wildebeest? Do you dive into new situations with the relentless adaptability of a coyote?
Or take an element of nature – fire, water, wood, shadow. Are you a firecracker that spends all your energy in one dazzling burst, then fizzles away? Do you flow like water, absorbing events like ink in a clear bowl, or do you wash the sediment out of your body and onto the banks? Are you a tree, steady and slow, digging towards richness and stretching towards sunlight?
How about a mythical archetype – Hero, Weaver, Magician? Do you strive to sweep in and save the day for those around you, whether or not they want or need the interference? Do you walk the web of possible realities and choose your path with the same care that you would choose the colors of a tapestry? Do you perform alchemy with your life and yourself, purifying gold from the dross?
You can even consider the weather as a mirror. Does the wind lash the trees like the force of your will whips against the circumstances of your life? Does the roiling storm overhead reflect your ire – or soothe it? Can you rest when the snow is falling in near-silence?
Find your mirrors; study them. Some of them will be parallels, reflecting your face back to you at a new angle, but others may be opposites, revealing truths about you via contrasts. Some of what you discover will be positive; some may not be, and that will help you see what you don’t want to embody.
Pay attention and learn. There is wisdom everywhere.
I am young, and I am wise.
I am imperfect, and I am wise.
I have made mistakes, and I am wise.
I am sometimes wrong, and I am wise.
Wisdom is not reserved for the ancient, the perfect, or the great sages. Wisdom comes from living – from trying, from failing, from succeeding. We gain wisdom as we go through life.
Any living thing can be wise. People of all ages have their own wisdoms; animals, trees, and the natural world all have their own wisdoms. We can learn from them, if we observe closely, and we can learn from each other.
Remember that you may be very wise, but you are not always right. Be humble. Be willing to revise what you consider true. Be willing to adapt as new knowledge comes to light. And compile all your many changes of this into wisdom.
Honor your wisdom, and never stop adding to it. Never stop growing.