Taken from the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society, a society of artists who design and create kaleidoscopes, “Kaleidoscopes are portals of remembrance that open onto the familiar, yet unexpected. Allowing the eye to marvel, the mind to explore, and the heart to leap, these mirrored tubes of magic have developed into a specific art form.”
What if we thought about a kaleidoscope in the context of our relationships – they allow the “eye to marvel, the mind to explore and the heart to leap.”
According to the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society, the most essential part of a kaleidoscope is the image. In relationships, the most essential part is the image – the image of the person sitting in front of us.
In a kaleidoscope, the image is usually created by objects placed at the end of a tube of mirrors. Sir David Brewster himself discovered this image while experimenting with light and reflections. He had placed two mirrors at an angle to each other and had placed a candle at the end of the mirrors. A kaleidoscope’s image is created by the configuration of the mirrors and the reflections of objects in the object case.
In relationships, the image we have of another person is created by the stories that we tell ourselves about that person. Stories that we’ve witnessed or stories that we’ve made up about that person based on our own judgements.
The object case at the end of the kaleidoscope can be filled with just about anything that the artist wants. The object case limits the number of pieces, but that doesn’t impact the ever changing image. Wheels, wands, trays, bubbles, candles and many objects have been used to create a kaleidoscope image.
The person sitting on the other side of the table is filled with their feelings, their thoughts, their emotions, their stories and their history. Humans might have an unlimited capacity in our object cases, but like a kaleidoscope – we are ever changing.
Kaleidoscopes are beautiful because of the configuration of mirrors and the reflection of objects in the case. They can contain two, three and even four mirrors.
Relationships are often multi-dimensional. A meeting is a meeting with two people, but there are often more people involved. Think about your relationship kaleidoscope – everyone has an image of the other person or people sitting around the table. And everyone around that table has an image of you.
Ask yourself, what would happen if we held a mirror up to that person?
Would we see a little bit of ourselves?
What would happen if we held a candle up?
Would we see that person in a different light?
What would happen if we shifted our view of that person?
Relationships can be frustrating, challenging, exhausting and one-sided. But, relationships can also be beautiful and ever changing if you think about them like a kaleidoscope.