Oh, the wonders of being a child and how little is required to bring joy. As a small child, I recall being fascinated when standing by a pond and seeing my reflection in the water. It seemed so magical, how can there be two of me? On a sunny day walking and seeing how my shadow created the same magic – just how I wondered. 

As I grew older, I learned that the word reflection did not always mean “seeing myself” in the water or in a mirror. By my teenage years I know I did a lot of reflecting and on many things. I guess perhaps at times more obsessing than reflecting, especially about silly things like clothes and boys.

Later, as a young adult, I still loved seeing things reflecting in the water, trees by the banks or a beautiful sunset but I also learned that using reflection could be a good tool to move forward in life. As a professional in my career, I created and managed numerous large events and found using reflection as a tool was so helpful. The day after a large event, I returned items, cleaned up the venue and did thank you notes, then took a day off. The day off was not just to rest but to think about the event, what went well, what could have been better. I found doing this quickly was best so things were fresh in my memory. Waiting until the next big event to review and reflect on changes just didn’t work as well. 

And then there is life- family and friends. We all rush through this world with such heavy schedules and deadlines that it is easy to miss things sometime. When the holiday meal is over, dishes done and I kick my feet up, I like to review the day. It is in those quiet moments that I might realize that a family member seemed very alone that day amidst the crowd. That realization is my clue to call and just check on them. “You seemed a bit quiet today, is everything ok?” On a more mundane note, while sitting and reflecting I might think “hmmm no one ate the coconut pie- skip that for next year.”

Personal reflection is sometimes necessary but not always pleasant. How many times have I reviewed a conversation in my mind and realized, maybe I could have said something better, perhaps in a kinder way? 

For some reason one of the hardest things for me to accomplish is writing and then MAILING holiday cards! Why you ask, I have no clue. Guess I get excited about the pretty cards but then when I have to write a note on each one and then address it and then actually go mail it, I seem to lose interest. How many boxes of unused cards might I find in my closet? I’m scared to find out. Then I sit and think about how much I enjoy getting the cards and realize how kind someone was to take the time to remember me. I reflect on my lack of discipline, feel guilty and sit down and do cards, then I feel happier and pledge to do better.

I think the old expression of “Take time to smell the roses” is just another way to say stop and reflect on life, the good times and the sad times. Are we proud of the path we have chosen or do we perhaps need to fix some potholes to improve our journey?  Using reflection as a tool for life is good, but sometimes just stop and stand on the banks of a river or a pond and enjoy the magic of your reflection in the water. It’s still pretty cool.