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Am I really in control of my identity? Any aspect at all? Is my own identity built and shaped by what surrounds me… By who looks directly into my eyes and speaks to my heart? Or is my identity and true self merely defined by products of the media…. Parents… Friendships… Environment… Religion? Oh my media-saturated life, perceptions drenched, twisted and worked upon by the people who are present every growing day.  Thoughts molded by the men, woman and children whom I associate with, novels I peruse, phrases I deploy and my daily physical surroundings. Each detail is influencing my personal character, my mood and my point of view. So knowing that I have the alternative, being aware that I have the choice – For what reason would I wish to spend my time accompanied by negative people? Being aware that my day-to-day surroundings do in fact affect my identity means that these negative people, places or objects will, over the course of time, make me a negative and pessimistic person. The – as I will rehash – ‘media-saturated’ life I live, is constantly overflowing with newspapers, articles, television and Internet headlines uncovering the most recent disaster that has taken place somewhere in the world. Why? Because that will sell a whole lot more than one declaring the latest breakthrough with an endangered species saved from extinction, or the new little baby panda that was just born… Wait, I’m sure most papers or news programs begin with a tragic event and go on to say ‘and on that note, a beautiful panda girl was born in the international zoo yesterday evening.’ Oh how enlightening, what a great way to wrap it up – thank you for my daily dose of positivity!

These interactions with our surroundings significantly affect the way we live our day… the way we live our life. Emotions are contagious, just like a cold. It seems after spending time with a person, the brain begins to mirror their emotional state, whether or not we are conscious this is happening. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “An eye can threaten like a loaded and leveled gun, or it can insult like hissing or kicking; or, in its altered mood, by beams of kindness, it can make the heart dance for joy.” You have a choice on how to control yourself, how to manage your moods and emotions, which, as a result, will profoundly influence the conversations you have and therefore affect the outcomes you reach.  A simple smile transforms your mood as well as others, like emotion, smiling is contagious – your brain is automatically responding and mimicking that of someone else’s smile, and in doing that, enables feel good neurotransmitters to flow throughout your body. So why don’t we all damn smile!? Is it because our surroundings, yet again, are affecting our identity and our state of mind? Do we feel we can’t smile because the other hasn’t first? We ARE our surroundings – If they do in fact shape who we are, why don’t we have the capacity to shape who and what they are? We do! Smile – she will smile back. Invest in a vase of flowers for your bedside table, they will lift your mood. Choose your friends wisely, for their positive vibes will spread throughout you. Paint love, warmth, dreams, colour – paint what constructs a healthy consciousness and thought, and hang them on your walls – do not decorate your home with glum, sorry, desolate objects, for the more of them you spy, the more of that you feel.

The other morning, I was kneeling beneath my mirror, staring into myself and envisioning who I wanted to be and what qualities that greater Mia possessed, things like health, forgiveness, selflessness, success, intelligence, patience, etc. were passing my mind, as well as all that I was grateful for and that I were to live that day as full and as joyful as I possibly could. I made sure that in the first 30 minutes of my day, nothing except positive thoughts and affirmations were to cross my mind. That in this time, everything ran smoothly, with ease and clarity. I made myself remember what my ambitions and goals were so that I could carry them along with me all day. I had a positive, happy view on myself – my mind was seeing what it wanted from inside me, playing right in front of me, and then I began to think… These moments, this person, right in front of me, is shaped by me, no matter the circumstance, no matter nothin’ – it’s all me. There is no limits, no boundaries, no restrictions. I began to see, I really am the master of my mind. Oh what fun! How extraordinary! What a concept?! It will take a while, yes, but I can be and create the ultimate person within myself, I am what I wish, what I think, what I believe. I create it all. I then came to draw a parallel between this mirrored Mia I was positively scrutinizing – and the other mirrored Mia that I had negatively scrutinized in the past. I factored in what had contributed to what I conceived as a positive Mia and a negative Mia – my surroundings and my situation – But really what defined positive and negative was actually my thought process, not my circumstances. I deliberated and intensely reflected on those ineluctable moments where I gaze at myself, for hours on end, firm yet broken, within some inner emotional turmoil that I force myself to watch… Mirror to mind, mind to mirror. Back and forth. What evoked and will evoke these instances? Is it when another individual has found my path, gripped my core, searched deep into the abyss of my fears, clutched a hold of them and smacked them right in my face? Like I didn’t know they were there, acting as though I had no idea of these deep seated conflicts that engross my veins and immerse my entity every living minute? No, apparently not until an ordinary being, a circumstance, a point in space – not until my surroundings stare me in the face with their gaping mouths and pointing fingers with the imputation of blame and responsibility, screaming “HEY! WHO ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU HERE?

Take a second now to review and reconsider yourself and your existence!! Maybe even throw in some sorrow, torture and loathe into this assessment of oneself by thinking of all past conversations which seemed to go erroneous, those oh god no embarrassing and cringeworthy times that you will never be able to rid or redo. Go on, allow these experiences which I know are there, forever frozen in your unconscious brain, to unfold and replay to point by which destruction of your spirit exceeds far more than necessary!” Fine! I’m worthless, I’m boring, tedious, bothersome, I have no ambition, no purpose! I’m here for nothing! Purely existing but not living! A humdrum of a person! I know! I am lost! I don’t know what the hell to do! Thanks surroundings, circumstance and life.. Jee thanks a whole lot! NOT! But wait… it’s not just about the surroundings Mia, it’s about how you respond to these surroundings – your mind. So I thought.. hmm.. what specific thing arises this mentality.. Ah yes, of course, this unreasoning and irrational mentality is brought up in a place where… where there is no escape, nowhere to focus my thoughts but the thoughts themselves. Darkness. Oh it can be just vicious, how I fade into the obscurity, the gloom, the black. It consumes my essence, my eyes constrained to close because, well, the backs of my eyelids appear unchanged to the night that encircles me. Once more I am a little girl, wrapped amongst it like my fathers too large coat. I have no sight, I have no potency.

This is the coat of vulnerability. This is darkness… and it only magnifies these emotions. It’s as though the sun retains a bubble of protection around my flesh and the moon disintegrates the barrier. Just as the sun inevitably melts into the skyline, I cannot stop these thoughts from setting in. There are rises and there are falls, there is no on or off button I’ve worked out – life’s not that simple. Not for anyone.  Life’s tough, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it. Nothing nor no one is going to hit it as hard as life… though it isn’t about how hard you hit it, it’s about how hard you get hit and persevere forward. Despite all obstacles and hindrances, regardless of what the world hurls at you, it is forever in your power to move on forward. Grip the misery and transform it into beauty. Whether it shifts you, teaches you or aids you to learn, you are growing. This is life and life is today, yesterday is lost, so wake up!
Are you acting on life or is life acting on you? Have days slipped into months and months slipped into years? Be the change that you desire to see, you are your problem and you’re also your solution. Isn’t that the wonder of it? How resplendent is the universe that it grants you the physical and mental aptitude to have zero boundaries and endless possibilities for every single human being on the face of the globe. Not one single person carries the same prospect, not one single person dreams the same dream, and that does not matter to the universe, for she has room for each diverse individual. She has room because you are, in truth, the universe. We all have potential for our greatest self and our preposterous wishes, maybe the potential is hidden deep within one person – so unfathomable they cannot sense it, or perhaps its just upon the surface, unyieldingly fighting it’s way out, but the pressures and persuasions that surrounds it is holding it back, or it could be that it has been uncovered, and that person is consuming and creating all and more of their potential, wringing out and extracting every drop. I suppose I’m in the process of discovering and realizing all this… Knowing all I want is inside me, buzzing and bubbling, noticing its there, aware that little by little, my potential will begin to gleam and glisten from my heart.. that is, if I make it rise.

My morning with the mirror… studying the features of my reflection, my face, my chest, my hair, my body, I saw as well, that these all whether with age.. But my mind, however beautiful I make it, will never grow old and worn, in fact, it can only become more beautiful. For me, a pretty face retains little without a radiating soul. My identity, my sense of self, my mentality, my spirit. These all transfigured, in the span of three months, into things more wholesome, things further elevated – From when I moved to Bali and up until this point in time and space. What on earth has factored to this major learning process, where, when, how and why did all this change transpire?

My surroundings, these are the most apparent difference within my life – Bali – a completely new country. So, has Bali, the culture, the people, the religions, the infrastructure… have they influenced and molded my mentality? Or has my mentality altered because I had traveled away, distant from my usual life, isolated to myself, therefore open to assessment and review of my own mind, that I discerned how much I wanted to progress and flourish.. Being able to look back, forward and in the present moment and determine what was best? Was it because I was obligated to overcome so many things alone that my mentality commenced to rewire,  making me see my surroundings, however good or bad, as a gift? – instead of perceiving the negative in each situation, I know I can choose to see the positive. Was it a past incident, situation or decision, that modeled me to be completely and utterly mindless.. To then result in another thoughtless choice, one that would,  as I was saying earlier, become frozen in my unconscious brain, until that darkness engulfs my form and lets it loose? Was it those repentant, regretful mistakes in times gone, that keep me restless, that keep me inconsolable and desolate, was it in fact these unspeakable mistakes, or should I say lessons, that actually transformed me, mentally, physically and spiritually, to be who I am in this exact instance. For without them would I still be ignorant and worthless? Because now I know… Now I am wiser than before. They have pressed and pushed me towards surpassing myself.

Which one changed first and which one changed what within me? Mentality, surroundings, incidents, regrets, space.. did they all miraculously and simultaneously combine in front of this mirror, in the open eyes of my reflection, a force of one – elements molding my identity – and shake me up, with their firm hands on my fragile shoulders, throwing me from side to side “MIA!! YOU ARE NOT USING US AS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE!! YOU ARE NOT USING US AS BEST AS YOU SHOULD!!”

Well… I do not know… I do not know how or when these alterations occurred, or why it was now in my life that I hit a significant realization concerning this girl in the mirror.  Yet what I do know, is I’m going to do all I can to keep on transforming her to befit the utmost qualities she can possess, in any condition, no excuses. Yes, it will be an arduous journey, and at times I’ll discover the negative reflection, though for most of this, at least I am presently aware of what I am feeling and why (usually). At least I am conscious that not all bad sensations may be my own, so I can release burdens weighing me down, that the more time spent brooding about issues or past events that I cannot reshape, the more time I steal from my future, that, in the end, there is no purpose in focusing and squandering my energy into the things that I do not have, rather be grateful and appreciative of the things I do have. I am aware, that I, Mia, can do what I believe.

You may agree with what I have written, or you may disagree with what I have written, you may choose to ignore this, or you may choose to take something from this. Whatever your decision may be.. It does not matter, for the only thing that does is your choice. Your mind. Your power. Your life. It is all yours. Grab a hold of it.

With love, Mia Marli.

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