What sounds like a cryptic chapter title is really a deep insight that I stumbled upon in December. It's a bit of a...philosophical view on relationships...and can be a bit difficult to explain but I'm going to try because I feel like it's important.
It was easiest to see this "mirror concept" in Florida because we were working with baby macaws. "Baby" is about 8-10 months old and fully flighted adult size macaws. However they had never been trained or worked in husbandry or show settings, they were fresh slates. I often heard people remark that they received a bird that was perfect for them, or just the bird that they needed to improve their training. What I saw was so much deeper than that.
Each bird, in this explanation let's stretch imagination and call them souls, is a mirror reflection of the soul training them. And the best way to improve ourselves and grow is to evaluate our truest form. So a soul that has a more frenetic energy might receive a trainee that mimics that, subconsciously most likely. And a frenetic energy trainee macaw might move super quick and constantly be looking for the next cue or the next part of the conversation. And an unpracticed trainer might not be able to keep quite the same pace and therefore wind up labeling the bird as "high energy" or "super fast".
On the flip side, a more casual and slower paced soul might be reflected with a "slow" bird that seemingly takes forever to decide to do the cue or continue the conversation. It might be said that it'll take a bit more to "keep him in the game". The incredible thing that I witnessed over the course of five days was the eventual balance that took place between the souls, and the frenetic energies were soothed and smoothed out a little as the confidence grew, and the slower pace gained momentum through repetition and confidence.
I believe that this concept applies to every soul that we encounter, and sometimes the older the soul or the more experience that soul has had can lead to a clouded mirror, or maybe stained glass in some cases. With time and patience, and sometimes some elbow grease to really get through the grime that life can build up, there's always a mirror underneath. And even through the grime it can reflect back to you. In terms of being the trainer for an animal that "you needed because of where you were in life", I think that's very true but in a way that the animal helps you face yourself. You don't become a better person, trainer, or soul because of another being, you become better because of yourself. And by facing a mirror, your flaws are shown and you are able to work through those and soften the rough edges, or become more observant, or more gentle.
This exact same concept works with people, too. Nothing is 100% in life but the majority of the time I think it applies. We attract souls similar to ours throughout life, sometimes the souls are ones we have known before and sometimes they are new to us; but each one teaches us something about ourselves and if we are open to it, we have the ability to grow through every interaction.
Sometimes in life we meet someone that we click with right away, sometimes it takes a little time and then the more we get to know them the more we realize we've always known them. If I've learned anything in life so far, it's that you can't know what is going to happen in life and while that is no secret, sometimes in life you feel like you know where you are and what you're doing. And then, out of left field, you find yourself in love with your best friend and you don't understand how it happened. Was it in the way they understood you better than you understood yourself, even in your darkest moments? Or how your heart always jumped to them when something happened and you needed comforting? It's in these moments when life seemingly stands still and spins rapidly out of control. When you both look up and catch each other's eyes and what you see is something so intense it takes your breath away and leaves you standing there seeing no one else in the room and wanting to drown in their gaze. It leaves you shaken to the core and unsure of where it came from-how did this person, who once was simply someone to share an inside joke with, become someone that left you breathless and weak in the knees with a simple look. Not even a kiss. A look.
And the same people that can leave you breathless can also calm your soul in the next instant. A hike through the woods, or a walk around a crowded city, it doesn't make a difference because you feel the same sense of peace in their vicinity and it's a feeling like nothing else. When this type of love comes into your life, it isn't always meant to stay. Or to be returned. While that might sound pessimistic or disappointing, both dilemma's present incredible learning opportunities and a chance to grow stronger. There truly is a positive to every negative and always two sides to every piece of paper, no matter how thin it seems. Perhaps that first love taught you how to love, and gave you the strength to be ready for the next love, that was meant to help the other person more than yourself.
Love is unselfish, true love to me is defined as loving someone enough to let them go, to see them blemished and flawed and still find them to be the most beautiful soul, and to accept them for everything that they are and that they aren't. Even if that "aren't" means that they are not your significant other. I'm not advertising for elopement with another person's spouse, I'm saying that it's possible to be truly in love with someone that you aren't meant to spend your nights with. Sometimes you are given a glimpse into what life with them would be like, and then it is taken away from you. Then many years later it reenters your life in a way you didn't expect but you are both better people for the time you spent apart. Every heartache that you felt in their absence taught you self love, and how to be ok alone, and through that you are able to love more fully.