Projected Mirrors | Brian MacKenzie

Issue #12

Most of us have heard the term we are mirrors of each other. Although I believed I understood this analogy most of my adult life, it has come into a new light and understanding for me.

I’ll start with what I thought I understood.

When I would think of people as mirrors, I was under the impression that the behaviors I did or did not like in others reflected my behavior(s). Similarly, the behaviors I picked up from my parents, siblings, and even friends were a manifestation of this paradigm of mirroring. While none of this is wrong or incorrect, I’ve come to understand this process is more in line with attachments and patterns we mimic. Still, a very natural process, and nothing is wrong as we all live this process out.

I have been curious about most of the human experience my entire life. Most who choose to read this stuff probably understand that I went towards this human experience through the physical and human performance side.

Almost 25 years ago, a light bulb came on that was the first actual event horizon in my life outside of being born; I was 23. I began to rethink my decisions; I began to look at the people I chose to associate with. I began to educate myself. I started to ask others for help with understanding life. I began to ask critical questions. I figuratively, and in some cases, literally died and went in the opposite direction of everything I knew and understood.

This process has defined the last 25 years of my life, career, and path. I learned to think critically at a time when most of my peers were still reinforcing a lifestyle and habits that would come to haunt most of them. That’s not to say I was the beacon of decision-making, as I am still working on that.

This path has led me to many interesting and brilliant people. I have been fortunate beyond my ability to make sense of with these relationships and the ability to learn from so many of these people who have quite literally changed the arc of many of the industries they exist in. Learning from many of them is where many of my ideas come from and this is precisely where the mirror changed for me.

The mirror is much more straightforward than behavior and is not relegated only to people. However, it can still involve our behavior. It is in our emotions, and the reflection is my emotion. Our emotions are the accumulation of feelings drawn from our senses (all 8 of them). This filtering is the work of our nervous system and many of the physiological processes involved in this. However, when we were children, we could not filter those feelings as our pre-frontal cortexes weren’t entirely online until 24 or 25 years old. This is why, as children, we developed patterns of emotions to feelings; we lacked the logic to solve the feeling of discomfort.

Fast forward to being an adult -> “this is who I am.”

Only when we can logically look at something can we learn to process or begin to understand it. The cure for anything is understanding, yet how many of us want to go through something to understand it? I know I’ve kicked and screamed… there’s that mirror.

It is not a coincidence that with the equivalent of more than 100 newspapers of information being thrown at us every day, an educational system predicated on the memorization of data (no real skill), 100 podcasts for every subject and hack, and everyone and everything telling us what is important and how to think that we’ve deemed mental health its own sub-unit of health. 

If just a fraction of the above we were to engage in, who in their right mind would ever want to go through anything to understand it? Why do that when I feel like I am getting all the information I need from an influencer, professor, podcaster, scientist, or expert extraordinaire? Why would I get off the couch from the news? Why would I not scroll infinitely through the Gram? Why would I not pick a side to stand for? Because it requires more energy than I have. Now that I’ve given my attention to all of this, I believe I understand. The emotion remains as anger, sadness, and fear. The mirror shows me where the anger, sadness, depression, and anxiety are still inside me. Because whatever I am choosing is not changing this stuff.

It’s not all bad. How many get the mirror of love, happiness, and joy? We all do at times! But, unfortunately, life is difficult regardless of who you are; that has been my experience traveling the world. No amount of wealth or fame saves you from this. I’ve seen it first hand, and in fact, in most cases makes it even harder to understand any of this as we can so easily insulate ourselves with excitement and convenience.

Equality and freedom are in that mirror and it’s there when and where I want to experience it. It’s in how I recover after a workout or during it. It is how I handle not knowing how to communicate or hearing something that doesn’t feel good. It is in my practice every time I am willing to experience it.

We are about to enter a new SH//FT in discussing Health. If you’ve been paying attention to these emails or any of our information, you know this is coming. Our programming for membership and our offerings are about this evolution.

We are looking forward to engaging more with you all,

Brian MacKenzie

 

brian mackenzie

Brian Mackenzie is an innovator in human performance on stress adaptation and a pioneer in the development and application of custom protocols to optimize human health and performance. His clients and work have included: Ari Emanuel, William Morris Endeavor, Sheppard Mullin, Deloitte, Google, Tim Ferriss, U.S. Military (Navy, Army, Marines), Canadian Military (CANSOF), San Quentin State Prison, The UFC Performance Institute, Altis, Jon “Bones” Jones, Laird Hamilton, Tia Clair Toomey (3X CrossFit Games Champion), Rich Froning Jr. (4X CrossFit Games Champion) and many others.

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