Let's Quit Looking Down, and Start Looking Up
Janne Robinson is a Poet, Elephant Journal columnist, bushwalker and activist. She cuts kindling with her teeth, eats Bukowski and coffee for breakfast and makes the habit of saying the word feminist as much as possible.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." ~Roald Dahl
There have been quotes for eons about how the eyes are windows to our souls.
Is it true?
I had a roommate once tell me that she couldn’t hold eye contact with a yoga teacher I religiously practice with.
She said his gaze was too strong, too powerful.
Some people’s gaze doesn’t leave room for small talk.
It grabs us by the soul, shoves our shit on the table and demands that we show up as exactly who we are in that moment.
Perhaps it’s why when we’re sad, or off, when we go out in public we avidly avoid eye contact.
“Don’t see me—I’m not well, today”, our eyes would say.
Why when we feel guilty, we can’t look anyone in the eyes—we’re ashamed and have fear of being looked in the eye, as eyes hold us accountable.
Perhaps it’s why we feel the most connected/loved, when our friends, co-workers, lovers keep eye contact the entire time we speak to them.
For speaking with direct eye contact, communicates to someone that they are the most important thing in that moment—deserving of all the presence in the world.
Perhaps it’s also why we feel so sensitive when someone spends an entire dinner, coffee, visit with their eyes glued to a buzzing screen.
Perhaps it’s why we can feel so loved when we share an extra long, soft stare from afar with our partners in a crowded room.
Eye contact is powerful.
It tells us a lot about the mood the people around us are in.
In this screen-age, where we are constantly glued into our laptops, our kindles, our iPhones, are we missing moments to connect with the people in our lives?
Do you bring your phone to the dinner table?
Do you check your emails/text messages at lunch with your friends?
Let’s affirm to the people in our lives—and, not only those immediately close to us, but those passing through—the waitress, the man working the register at the gas station, the bank teller—that they are worthy of our attention.
They are worthy of us lifting our gaze and presence to rest on them, as we speak and pass by and continue on.
We are here to be seen.
We are here to be acknowledged.
In Gary Valnerchuk’s book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” he states that consumers check their phones an average of 150 times per day.
What are we missing while we are looking down at our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest feeds?
Don’t be like this guy who missed a humpback whale breaching at Redondo Beach, California last week.
Be the parent, friend, lover, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend who chooses the living, breathing, human in front of them—first.
Show up, differently by letting the people in your life know that they get first dibs, simply by being physically present in your life.
Let’s quit looking down, and start looking up.
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