Thursday, January 26, 2012

Looking into the Soul

A few months ago I made a goal to look deeply into my daughters' eyes at least once everyday.
I noticed that by taking the time to look into their eyes while they were speaking to me or cuddling with me made those moments more intimate and meaningful. I found myself calling them to come to me instead of always having them instigate connections as I was busy with laundry, cooking or dishes.
Looking into their eyes allows me to be present, to truly listen and let them know that they are being heard. More importantly than this, I feel a spiritual bond being strengthened when I look into the windows of their souls. It makes daily interactions more loving.

Yesterday, the phone rang in my classroom as I was entering scores for report cards. The enthusiastic music teacher invited me to come to her room to hear my students perform. I gladly accepted the invitation. She does amazing work with these kids. I entered her room to see my students sitting crossed-legged holding drumsticks (not the kind that you eat). She led them in a 3 minute percussion performance. They were incredibly focused and in sync with each other. The performance was long enough that I was able to take a turn to look each student in the eyes. When they performed it a second time, I did the "hold a glance" experiment again and felt a huge wave of love come over me as I felt connected to each one of these beautiful children.

As a teacher I am constantly hearing myself say, "Eyes up here", "Look this way", "Watch me model this" and other demands for their eyes. Yesterday, it was beautiful to look into their eyes without teaching them or talking at them. I was able to look at them and think about how much I love them. Taking a turn to lock eyes with each as they proudly beat their drum was the most amazing experience that I've had all week.

It was such a simple thing to do and it brought immense joy. I wanted to try this experiment on a stranger, so at the grocery store last night, instead of busying myself, I looked right into the eyes of the cashier and found her looking right back at me. I made this brief connection with her -- through our eyes -- and the moment was powerful (for me at least). I recognized her as a caring, hard-working individual with a complicated life. I can't really describe the feelings that I felt, but it seemed that time stood still for a moment or two and I felt my heart grow.

This morning, in the bathroom mirror, I looked deeply into my own eyes and felt a little more love for myself even. What Joy!
It may feel a bit strange or silly to stare deeply into your own eyes, but I encourage all of you to try it. If you cannot do it, it may be a good idea to find out why it is difficult for you.

I look forward to more moments like these. I pray that I will remember to slow down and notice people. That I will look into their eyes and get a glimpse of their souls.


  1. What a profound post. I need to focus more on the eye contact principle.

  2. I could actually imagine and feel what you meant as I read this post. Very insightful and a great idea to remember in our interactions with each other (and ourselves!) in daily life. Thanks for the great tip, Shantelle! I'm so glad I know you.

  3. Wow.... I am dually impressed and see a fellow writer for the first time! Thank you for sharing.

  4. I love reading your posts Shantelle. Speaking of eyes...mine are watering, thanks a lot! This post reminded me of Leo Buscaglias Living Loving Learning book I read for an education class at USU and also the African greeting "I see you" which holds more meaning than the casual, lacking in sincerity, "How are you's" of our culture. Beautiful post, and a great reminder to pause and take a moment to take in and appreciate the worth of each soul, especially our own.