The Art of Seeing

Reflections on Law of Attraction, Mirroring and Healing

8 min readSep 7, 2019
Brunico, Alto Adige

Last week I had a holiday with a friend. And it was excruciating. This friend invited me to spend some days in Alto Adige, one of the most beautiful regions of Italy — surrounded by verdant mountains, idyllic countryside, with the kind of scenery that make you expect Julie Andrews to come running down a slope singing “The Sound of Music.” My friend was in desperate need of this vacation and seeking communion with nature to restore and revitalize her overly stressed out system. And I was thrilled to be asked to join.

We set out from Rome at about 5am and soon found ourselves in a sea of traffic. But it was to be expected in the 3rd week of August when most of Italy is on the road — exiting, or re-entering from holidays. As a result, our trip took nearly 12 hours as opposed to the expected 7–8 hours. But as we journeyed north, I was feeling very grateful that we were northbound as the southbound traffic lane was absolutely at a standstill for miles and miles. At least in our direction, we continued to move slowly but surely.

Several times my friend received calls from friends asking how the progress was going. With every inquiry, she sighed audibly, and uttering one of the milder Italian curses, lamented that there was an “infinite tail” of traffic. When we finally pulled into the hotel parking area that evening, my friend, agitating her head left and right, announced grumpily, “Of course there are no parking spaces left!” Yet, just to my right, I could see two empty spaces.

When we arrived at the front desk, I rang the bell to call reception. A couple minutes passed and no one appeared. My friend paced back and forth, steaming like a pressure cooker. I attempted to lighten her mood by pointing out the gorgeous sunset view out the patio window. She appeared not to hear me. Within a minute a vigorous young man with smiling blue eyes and a German accent appeared to check us in and hand us our key card.

When we got to the room, I was delighted. It was an entire apartment! Big enough for a family. “I guess we’ll have to make lots of friends while we’re here!” I jested. I saw that my friend was frowning. I asked what was wrong. She said she didn’t like the fact that the balcony was facing the street below, as opposed to the back garden area of the hotel. Because she looked so upset I offered to go ask if there happened to be a garden-facing apartment available. Shaking her head, she muttered, “That’s what I get for not investigating this place for myself.” She had relied on the advice of a friend of hers who had come there with his family the previous month. “I would have picked a more remote and traditional place.”

I offered to get online and look for some other place, which we could move to the next day or two, as I hated to see her look so glum. “No, no, no. Everything around here will be all booked up at this time of year.”

Since it was too late to buy food to cook that evening we decided to go into the nearby town of Brunico to have dinner. We found a restaurant/pizzeria on the piazza and I ordered some delicious cheese-stuffed raviolis made with beets and flavored with truffle. I was in heaven! My friend enthusiastically ordered the truffle flavored polenta with porcini mushrooms, but looked sullen when it arrived: rather than the firm square of polenta that she was expecting, it was creamy, like a soup. “Che shifezza!” she said. (Disgusting!) I tasted it and found the flavor exquisite, but conceded that it was probably disappointing if one was expecting a different texture.

And this was more or less the script that played out for the rest of the week! As the one in the “passenger seat” during most of the vacation, I had the perfect chance to witness the famous “Law of Attraction” in action. I could see so very clearly what the teachings of various Law of Attraction teachers reveal: that if you have the radio dial set to 104.1, you are not going to be able to hear what is being played on 102.3. In other words, if our dial is set on the channel disappointment, that is the music we will keep hearing. Life will keep matching our vibration. If our dial is set on the channel of “stress”, or “not enough” we can only receive the “music” on that channel.

This theme was even more accentuated the next day when we went to park the car in a nearby village in order to access the biking trail. While I waited next to the car, my friend, who was already upset that we had to pay for parking, returned from the ticket machine, complaining that that we couldn’t park there as the area was only for vans, trucks or buses. Seeing many other cars there, I doubted this was the case, so I went over to investigate. Meanwhile an elderly gentleman, adorned with the local Tyrolean (Alpine) hat and wool suspenders, sat on a bench watching the scene. He gave a big grin baring some missing teeth and shook his head. “Money, money, money” he said to my friend. “Si, tutto ‘e difficile!” she responded.

Meanwhile, I tackled the machine: The instructions were very straightforward: Introduce money: Two euro for Day Ticket. Push button to retrieve ticket. It offered different payment options for a category of vehicles including vans, trucks, and buses.

And so the week went. I watched my friend constantly tuned to channel one, the default channel, and thus unable to receive the music that was being broadcast on channel 2. I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit that I felt extremely frustrated as I watched this play out and several times snapped, “Why do you have to be so negative?” Yet I felt distressed seeing so clearly how time and time again she actually created the stress she had come to escape from.

As a Heart Intelligence practitioner and facilitator, however, I almost always have in the back of my mind one of its major tenets: that we are ALL a mirror for each other. Or as the founder of Heart Intelligence, Christian Pankhurst, puts it: “You are me, cleverly disguised as you.” So rather than let myself spiral into the compulsion to blame and “fix”, I reminded myself that my friend was merely my mirror, showing me the part of myself that does the same thing: the part of me that can’t see opportunities because she is too worried or preoccupied. Or the part of me that is continually running the record of “not good enough” so that I can’t behold the beauty or goodness around me.

When I turn the spotlight on myself I can see so many of the ways that I am my own worst enemy and create the stress that makes me want to take refuge on a mountain or dive into the womb of sea-green waters and never come up. Thanks to my friend, I got to realize more fully how no PLACE has the power to redeem us from our mind. Or to use the cliché: Wherever we go, there we are.

I’d already been noticing in the last weeks how stress continued to pervade my being in spite of being given this blessed time to focus on healing thanks to my GoFundMe donors. I saw how my mind continually defaults to the “not doing enough” or “not being enough” channel; how I focus, time and time again, on the things I’m not doing PERFECTLY, rather than focusing on the things I AM doing, or the progress I HAVE made.

Just a few weeks back I shared with a friend my realization that in my “healing project” I was duplicating my usual “good girl- bad girl” paradigm. My mind was constantly grading and assessing myself. And guess what? I was always getting an ‘”F”. I kept seeing my deficits or places I wasn’t measuring up to my own expectations. I was carrying guilt and heaviness about not yet going totally off sugar or going “Keto” or vegan, or raw, or rigorously applying all the other diet strategies that those who cured themselves of cancer recommend. Every morning as I drink my coffee, the Wrathful God voice in my head booms, “Thou shall be damned for not drinking green tea!” (Accompanied by crackling thunder)

Then in a moment of sanity, the absurdity of my thinking occurred to me. Can it be that only the “Straight A students” are deserving of healing? I realize that in the program I’ve been running at the back of my mind, that only the “highly disciplined” DESERVE the healing they are seeking. Not those, like me who “keep falling short”. Those who walk the marathon instead of run it. It suddenly occurred to me that it just can’t be this way. Only the perfect succeed? Only the perfect performers manage to cure themselves of cancer or illness?

Though I feel the folly of this programming, it isn’t so easy to fumigate. “I’m not going about healing perfectly” is just another version of “I have to be more perfect.” So I know that my true healing depends on being able to change the dial on my radio. As cliché as it sounds, I know I need to find that self-love cupid; I need to choose more consistently the channel that broadcasts kindnessand self-compassion and to rock out to the station that applauds me for all the steps I HAVE taken to make changes that will serve the healing I am seeking.

During this vacation I found myself remembering the words of Marianne Williamson: “a miracle is merely a shift in perspective.” Thanks to witnessing my friend, I was able to see on so many occasions how just a shift in perspective would have brought so much levity and an entirely different experience. It highlighted so clearly that the key to my well-being and my power truly does lie in the lenses I wear and the art of SEEING. In each moment how do I choose to see myself or my world? What if I were as particular about the lenses I put on each morning, as I were about the pants or shoes I put on?

What miracles await me if I turn off the Wrathful God station and master the art of SEEING?

I’ll keep you posted. Who knows? In a few weeks it just might be me running down a grassy slope belting out the lyrics, “The hills are ALIVE with the sound of MUUUUSIC!”




Globe-trotter, coach, master of deep conversation. Loves coffee & correctly using the subjunctive in Turkish & Italian. Happiest when opening minds & hearts.