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

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mirrored affirmation

I have a dear friend that I think I have loved more moments than I can count through the mists of time.  We don't often get the chance to spend large blocks of time together these days, as life is hectic and family, work and responsibilities cut into leisure time.  This week, we were lucky to connect and spend a good portion of a whole day together and it was just sublime.

This girl is someone that I trust implicitly.  She's a true heart friend in those indefinable ways that build a solid friendship. We've found over the years that we either tend to mirror experiences in our respective lives, or one of us is just completing a cycling of an experience that the other is just embarking upon.  In this way, this reflection provides guidance and a sounding board for both of us, when we have sufficient time to spend together and really get caught up.

Our recent afternoon and evening was that proverbial breath of fresh air for me.  We played, which is always good for the Soul.  We saw a theatrical production that some friends both acted in and directed, then we had a late meal and stayed downtown to watch another theatrical production on Knoxville's Market Square.  In between all of this, we shared what we had both been doing since we were last together.  Much time had passed since then, so there was a great deal to cover, and cover it, we did.

She is in a truly good place in her life.  Settled, with someone she loves, her work life is growing and prospering and she carries that special glow that one does when everything is falling into place in Divine Order. Knowing her as I do, I was so happy to see her this happy, calm and peaceful....both inside and out.

The even greater beauty of it all was that she became a mirror for me.  This time, she is finishing this particular cycle....or rather, she is sojourning it....ahead of me.  Listening to her words and description of the steps, the decisions, the emotional healing she processed to get herself to that higher, more level place of gave me that mirror.  That road map or template of sorts.  Because I am not that far behind her on a similar path, everything she was sharing was resonating brightly for me.  I could see the logical steps she had taken, hear the wisdom in her choices and actions, and absorb the clear outcome.  She is happy.

This reflection she gave me instilled hope in a new way for me.  Mind you, it is never difficult for me to focus on positives.  I tend to be a fairly sunny natured individual, and prefer to focus on those good, happy, uplifting moments.  That being said, I flounder like everyone else when it comes to personal dreams, hopes and wishes.  We are all so adept at getting in our own way for these goals, and I am no different.  I do have conscious intent, however, to be fully, mindfully engaged in my own growth.  What a lovely thing when I am given a gift of recognizing that this growth need not be so onerous, challenging or difficult!

Spending time with someone that I truly love and enjoy was the first gift.  Nothing polishes up the heart more than that type of interaction, basking in the sheer enjoyment of someone dear to you.  The second gift was being shown that reflection....that example that, "Look, this is how I did it, and it worked out beautifully."  Sometimes the strongest lessons don't have to be imparted through bloody struggle and painful experiences. They can be, but I don't think it's necessary 100% of the time.  What can be better than to witness someone a few steps ahead of you on a similar path, charting and negotiating their journey with determination, conscious application of intent and relative ease so that you may mirror their actions and experience a similar manifestation of ease?

Mirrors reflect.  That is their purpose.  We can choose to see through a warped lens and intentionally misread that reflection, or we can choose to gaze with clear eyes at the image.  That's my choice, gazing clearly, and engaging with purpose.  And the best part of this conscious process is that a day spent with someone I love gave me a mirrored confirmation and affirmation for where my own life is heading.  In her happiness, I see a reflection of possibilities, and I embrace them.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Partly sleeping

Photo -
Have you ever had the sense that after some unexpected experience hits your personal horizon, you look back and realize that part of you had been sleeping up until that moment?  I have reflected on this for years.  It has happened to me countless times and never fails to capture my attention with each new occurrence.

A simple analogy would be when you buy a new car and suddenly you see that same model, same color car everywhere you go.  Prior to purchasing that new vehicle, you never before noticed so many of the same car everywhere you traveled.  Your eyes and your consciousness have been newly awakened to that recognition, where before, part of you had been sleeping.

This holds true with endless layers of who we are, where our lives are heading, where we have been.  When a new person comes into our lives, and love occurs, we are stunned that we lived our whole lives without that love up until that meeting. This applies to friendship, to family and to intimate love, as well as to new experiences, studies, dreams, etc.  It is almost beyond acceptance, once the love is realized, to ken how we survived without it for so long.  Our heart was partly sleeping, waiting for that arrival of that person or that experience to wake up that spot that was reserved exclusively for them/it.

Talents lie partly sleeping also.  Sometimes they awaken with a jarring crash, startling us with the all consuming need to dive in and embrace the newness, turn it in our hands and make a mark on the world with it.  Other times, those talents are merely dormant, waiting for occasional awakening.  This happens for me with various artistic endeavors.  I can go for months at a time without any need to be creative beyond my daily writing.  Then something happens to awaken the partly sleeping Muse and I hit a frenzy of creativity, producing a wide range of artistic expressions.

To me, it is an endless joy to discover something new to love....about myself, and about the people around me.  Relationships are rarely static, and even in strife, we learn and grow.  Areas that had been partly sleeping within the context of relationships are regularly nudged awake.  We are never truly allowed to rest smugly on our laurels in that regard, and I see that as a positive.  Complacency hasn't ever been a behavior that I embrace.  I tend to be very active about communication so that all parties concerned can be clear and present with one another.  I fail at this, sometimes rather spectacularly, but the intent is always to be present and aware.  Because of this, I find that I am also equally aware when an area that had been partly sleeping suddenly awakens.  For me, it is a tangible thing, something I can physically sense and feel stirring.  I do my best to pay attention to that stirring, so that I recognize it for what it is.  It's when I ignore the sensation that I tend to bump my toes a wee bit, so I do my best to be mindful.

Recently, in perhaps the past six months, I've had a whole slew of partly sleeping areas come to full wakefulness.  These awakenings have spanned a wide range of experiences and relationships, some providing challenges to overcome, and all of them broadening my sense of Self and growing those newly awakened spots in my heart.  I have a fanciful image in my mind's eye of early morning hush coming softly awake, birds beginning to chirp, dew glistening on grass, trees and flowers in a private meadow that exists uniquely for my Soul to process these occurrences.  Oddly, this same meadow is a place I visit when I meditate, so who is to say it doesn't exist in some metaphysical manner.  The awakening of partly sleeping facets is the important thing to experience, to be aware of as it occurs.  I've never been a proponent of walking through life in an unconscious manner, so this awakening process is one that I enjoy.  I learn so much about myself as a result.  I've spoken about that endless refining of Self, of Soul, that we do on a daily basis.  The concept I am speaking of here, of "partly sleeping" is just a metaphor for that daily growth we all experience.

The world is largely expansive, rather than contractive, and so are we as people.  We are here to grow and learn, to push boundaries and embrace new experiences.  With that in mind, I imagine that we are gifted with endless ability to expand as yet unknown partly sleeping facets.  Traits, experiences, thoughts, loves and more.  It is a satisfying thought to me, because it means we are never truly finished.  We never learn it all, never experience it all....and at the heart of this thought is Love.

Through the waxing and waning, the ebb and flow of every experience, Love is the vital force at work.  Sometimes it lies sleeping for years before the awakening occurs, but that space for that particular it a person, a place or an experience...that space was always there, inside us, waiting for that awakening.  We drift from one awakening to the next, continually learning.  And the beauty is that there will always be another moment when something that was partly sleeping is nudged, gently or urgently, to come alive and take full occupancy of that space in our hearts. I just really like that.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Grasshopper Thoughts, Vol. V, August 2011

I haven't grasshoppered in a while.  I never know when the urge will hit me, and today was the day.  I find this exercise to be useful when my life, for that too jumbled up with stress to allow me to focus on one specific topic.  This allows me to skitter about, skim from one thought to the next and do some mental house cleaning.  So, here are the grasshopper thoughts that struck today.

When I breathe from my heart, it is never a mistake.

Sometimes the simple act of that breathing from the heart is the most challenging thing on earth to do.  I still do it.

Locking the car w/ the keys in the ignition and my purse and cell phone still inside the car is going to happen occasionally.  I look at it as a reminder to slow down.  Usually that happens after I throw a bit of a conniption.

I can love someone sincerely, but also not like who they are.  The two are not mutually exclusive and both teach me acceptance….of myself and that other person.

The art of kissing should never be underestimated; view it instead as profoundly valuable.  Seriously.

Banana flavored popsicles might be bad for you because of all the sugar, but they sure bring a smile.

When I was wee, my Grandpa assured me that fairies lived where wisteria bloomed.  To this day, I still believe, and I still glance about on occasion to search them out.

I have accepted that having a poor sense of direction doesn’t make the world stop turning.

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 profound….show me who you are in this way, and I will do the same.
Embracing manners will always matter to me.  Call it old fashioned, but I find it a beautiful expression of respect and, to me, it is worthy of continuing.    
I will never understand the concept of curling as a sport.  I get that it's a venerable sport, with rich history and culture behind it.  I'll even watch it during the Olympics (because I watch everything during the Olympics), but I remain mystified.
Sometimes blackberries make the world a better place.  It’s that simple.

Those are my grasshopper thoughts for the day.  There are more, of course.....always.  That's the nature of grasshopper thoughts.  They're always lurking and leaping about.  These are the ones I managed to corral and wrestle onto the screen.