Recently it came to my attention that I do not look people in the eyes when I talk with them. Often I watch their mouth and when I do make eye contact it is hazy. I put fog between myself and the people I talk with allowing me to stay in my world. I am not really present. I make the gesture of bringing my eyes to their eyes but then get lazy and don’t actually look. This also occurs when I read a paragraph in a book only to wonder what I just read. My eyes are in place but my heart and soul are not engaged.
When my four year old was young and learning to carry on conversations she bore into your soul with her eye contact. Her gaze was intense. In reading about Waldorf education Steiner often refers to the idea of imitation in the ages between birth and seven years. Children imitate the people around them. Now that I have noticed my lack of eye contact I realize my daughter no longer makes that intense eye contact either. Has she copied me? Have I taught her to not really look at people?
It has been my focus to make eye contact. Putting all of me into it. This is harder than it sounds. There is a gentle awareness at their pupils, the edges of their pupils, smoothing it out so the division between black to colour is not sharp. All the while this allows me to focus on what they are saying. Gently aware of their eyes and connecting their words to the way their eyes talk.
The results? Well, my perception is that some people like my new eye contact. Sometimes I notice their body take a different stance kind of unsure of my new focus. Othertimes they soften around me. Their body relaxes. My daughter Teela really loves it. She now knows that I am paying attention to her and it has simmered down her intense personality a bit. Let me emphasize the ‘a bit’.
This also applies to animals. They watch more than you know. They have eyes like a kid – or a hawk – which every you prefer. Look your kitty in the eye when you need to tell him that you are all out of his wet food. Look your puppy in the eye when you say it is walk time. It makes a difference.
Do you make eye contact? Real eye contact?
Happy looking everyone!