Sunday, August 28, 2011

Look me in the eyes

Photo courtesy of Aglet Photography

Eye contact.  I wrote a short blurb about this in a recent blog post.  I did that because I had had the subject on my mind for several days.  It had me pondering and as I said to another friend, when I start thinking, the inevitable outcome is that I start writing.

We all know the old saying that the eyes are the window to the Soul.  I agree with this 100%.  Each of us is different in the manner that we connect with others.  For some of us, making and maintaining eye contact is simple.  Just something that you do.  For others, it is a challenge, and something to be avoided at all costs.  This is a protective mechanism, and usually happens for good reason.  If you delve deeply enough with those who are careful with making eye contact, you will find a lot of trust issues beneath the surface, married to a lot of painful experiences.

I think everyone has heard the old axiom that "the eyes are the window to the soul".  Most of us will agree that people who don't make significant eye contact impart a less than trustworthy vibe.  This is a snap judgment, of course, and may be an unfair one, depending upon the situation and the individual.

For me, eye contact is important.  In every relationship that I have, I want that strong connection to be there.  Friendship, family, business connections, as well as more intimate relationships - all need to have that level of connection, trust and the sense that you are being seen, being heard, and being embraced.

Gazing wordlessly into one another's eyes.  That is profound.  The wordless part is usually what causes people to become skittish and glance away.  When you meet a person who doesn't do this, who engages in that gaze without flinching, this is an incredible moment.  Thoughts wash through the mind, emotions are triggered, and a sense of being the very center of that person's immediate world exists.  Pretty powerful stuff!  This creates a level of willing, intentional vulnerability, meaning that you allow yourself to become vulnerable in that moment and with that other person. It also creates a bond, that wordless moment, that is indefinable.  And really, definitions aren't always necessary.

That experience, that wordless gaze, is a microcosmic moment that doesn't require anything else.  Fleeting, yes.  But with lasting impact.  Moments such as these can be a catalyst.  From one moment to the next, the world changes. Perhaps not in an earth shaking, cataclysmic manner, but change does occur.  And thinking follows.  Pondering, absorbing, reflecting.  All from one long, quiet shared look between two sets of eyes.

We each have those experiences that we remember as being a turning point.  Something occurred to stop time, briefly, with enough dramatic force that you felt the shift as a tangible instant.  Your own personal earthquake, where those emotional tectonic plates were rearranged, permanently.  From a glance, you ask?  Yes, for me, from a glance.  Well, a look is more to the point, as a glance is of short duration.  Maybe a new word needs to be created for that long, steady, quiet, powerful exchange.  "Staring" doesn't fit, as it robs the experience of depth and warmth.

Whatever label you choose to apply, there is great value in giving yourself to such a moment.  Looking into another person's eyes for long, long moments with no words, no nerves, no agenda, and no reserve is profound.

This was the thought in my last Grasshopper Thoughts post (Grasshopper Thoughts, Vol. V, August 2011) that prompted this blog article:

Look me in the eyes when we're together.  During conversation, during quiet moments, just a glance is sometimes enough; other times, a long and meaningful moment is me who you are in this way, and I will do the same. - SDS, August 2011
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.


Katherine Jenkins said...

A very important reminder...especially out here in the blogosphere where it is hard to look one in the eye! That face to face/eye to eye connection is so important!

fortysomethingfirsttimemum said...

I commented about this on your other blog. I feel that eye contact is vey important.It bugs me when my other half doesn't give me eye contact when we talk. I feel as if he is not listening and is not interested in anything that I have to say. I know others feel this way too. I talked to him about it and he got annoyed, saying he didn't mean anything negative by it.

I guess I will just have to pretend he is from another culture where eye contact is deemed irrespectful! :)

Healing Morning said...

Kathy, thank you for your comment! I agree w/ you about the blogosphere making such a thing impossible - there are so many talented writers who come immediately to mind that I would truly love to sit down with and have a nice long visit, with eye contact. If I'm lucky, I'll accomplish that with some of them. :)

Healing Morning said...

Fortysomething, your comment here still makes me laugh! It's that eternal men vs. women dynamic that sometimes we just can find a happy medium to apply. Never the 'twain shall meet kind of thing. I so enjoy your humor, my friend, and I look forward to getting to know you better through blogging.

- Dawn