Rear-view Mirror Syndrome

Source:  Rear-view Mirror Syndrome    Tag:  mirror syndrome
Yowza! It has been a hot minute, well a little over 1,226,516 minutes, since my last post. All the more reason for the title of my first blog back.

I suffer from rear-view mirror syndrome. Let me explain my definition of rear-view mirror syndrome:

The lack of appreciation for the here and now. The desire to move ahead with plans prematurely or constantly propelling forward while looking back with dissatisfaction, guilt, or discomfort. I'm a very visual person, so it looks a little bit like this:

Looking back things aren't quite what they could be, looking ahead everything is surreal, and in the present I can't clearly make out the pretty red car. I live in the past and in the future, but rarely in the present and if I am in the present it's because I don't like the present. This combination usually casts a grey cloud over what would and should be a pleasant memory and makes the present a bit foggy. A few experiences as of late have reminded me of how practicing grateful mindfulness moment to moment clears the grey skies and causes the fog to burn off.

Experience 1: Listening, daily, to Emily's Goodbye Aria from Ned Rorem's Our Town  
Experience 2: Discovering the song "Before It's Over" from the musical Dogfight
Experience 3: Reading a candid post from a talented colleague, Bridget Skaggs

I was privileged to play Mrs. Soames in the Oklahoma premier of Ned Rorem's Our Town. It is a work that you can't fully appreciate upon one listen. The opera is an adaptation of the acclaimed Thornton Wilder play of the same title. (A review of the opera's world premier from 2006 gives a little insight into the opera.) After spending a couple of months with the play, as well as the music and characters, I fell in love with the simple,  yet transcendent story.  I had the pleasure of experiencing a daily reminder in "Emily's Goodbye Aria"- easily the most beautiful and meaningful piece of music in the entire opera. (Have a listen to the aria here from a performance on a local news station by a couple of colleagues, Jennifer Soloway, soprano and Cody Bradley, pianist. Both are a pleasure.) Here are the lyrics that struck me most:

Goodbye to...gratitude
Does anybody ever realize life while they live it
Every minute of it
Every moment of it

What wonders gratitude plays in practicing mindfulness moment to moment. Although it may be difficult to express gratitude in bleak hours, I am learning to do so. However, the most difficult is to look in the rear-view mirror and express gratitude for mistakes made, words said, deeds that cannot be undone. So, I must be grateful for lessons learned but more importantly for forgiveness and grace. 

Psalm 107

This leads me to the second experience. I was unfamiliar with the show Dogfight until a few weeks ago when attending another senior Musical Theatre recital. Dogfight was premiered in 2012 by Second Stage Theatre Company in New York City and has received much praise. I had the pleasure of attending a senior Musical Theatre recital last night by Katelyn Baron. (Katelyn is such a light and seeker of truth. She is one of those people who radiates.) She sang "Before It's Over" from Dogfight and it left me in tears. "Before It's Over" recounts Rose's heartbreaking self perception and unkind life experiences, but results in gratitude for all she has seen and known. Here are some of the lyrics:

I can't go back to what I was before, now that I can see so much more

See a world beautiful and strange
On a one way track and it won't come back
Look look how fast it runs away singing "Follow close and reach for me"
See that you've got so much more to be
Before it's over, before it's over

I never even knew a world was waiting
Somehow something awful made that world appear
Maybe this sounds crazy but I'm happy that it happened
Happy that I came
Happy that I'm here

Maybe it sounds crazy, but I want to be grateful that it happened. That all the roads I have walked down have led me here, to this moment, to this place, to who I am now with the ability to see a world beautiful and strange. What a message of continued healing.

Jeremiah 33

Bridget Skaggs is a mover and shaker and so musically intelligent. (Check out her website here.) This post gave me a jolt:


In the midst of everything, right now, sit and enjoy it. It would be so easy for me to grumble about this snowy day and how it's preventing me from getting a recording done for a summer program. It's easy for me to grumble about the uncertainty of future plans. But, I will say a resounding "NO" to this mentality. I will enjoy because enjoying this moment results in less stress and anxiety in the coming moments. 

Perhaps instead of perpetuating this rear-view mirror syndrome I can develop a 360º mentality. Squarely planted in the present, while enjoying the view of past and future equally.


Until next time...