Diving exercises for a still afternoon

2 min readMay 15, 2020


When i was a child there was an old wood-framed rectangular mirror in my home that had found its way here from the native place. It was small and light enough to be carried by a child, but large enough to frame her face and a bit of background. She would walk about looking down deep into it, stumbling on the ceiling, vaulting over doorways stubbing toes on empty bulb holders, crunching tube lights carouselling on fans. Many desolate light filled summer holiday afternoons were spent pleasantly this way in an altered vertiginous state.


[I] To do the following exercises you will need:
A mirror (animate or inanimate)
A still afternoon
A cosy spot to sit in

[II] To do the following exercises, you will:
Face the mirror
Read the exercises out aloud
Sing them if you wish


Exercise (i)
i watch myself being watched by you.
you see me. but can you really.
who is it you watch?
who do you want to see?
who do i see?
and who are you?

Exercise (ii)
i project what i want you to see.
you watch me. but can you, really?
what do i show to you?
what should i hide?
whom do you see?
and, who am i?

Exercise (iii)
i sees itself as i watches you
you see i. you watch i.
what does i show to you?
what does i hide?
what do you see?
and what is i?

Exercise (iv)
you can see through me.
you are perceptive that way…
you see what they want us to be
but i see that in you too.
why don’t you tell me what you see?
i wish you’d show me what i ought to see.

Exercise (v)
i watch you hide from me.
they watch us hide.
i hide the pain i feel i
can see why you’d want to hide.
you are me and i am i
it’s alright, we’re not alone at least, you and i.

Exercise (vi) — Cooldown
Breathe deeply.
Say Aaaah.
Touch your face.
Feel its contours.

What does it feel like to look at yourself, really take a look at who/what you are? Can you even know who someone else is? Is it possible to see anything? What do you see? What do you appear to be, on the face of it? Who is it, i, they? This piece offers some exercises in reflection.


Published in hākārā Journal