The Eyes Have It!
Communication – that word that means all kinds of things. Interaction with others. Talking. Making eye contact. Writing. Texting. Tweeting. Post on Facebook. But what it means to me is just understanding and letting someone know my thoughts and feelings.
Working with special needs adults is often challenging, frustrating, but more often rewarding. I have learned what real communication is. Oh, not the conversational kind of communication, but that which is tied to body language, eye contact, smiles, and the simple holding of hands.
Today I saw a young man in his early to mid 20s (I’ll call him Steve) that is autistic and non-verbal. But he communicates, quite easily if given the chance. We have lovely gardens where I work, and I have a beautiful and very peaceful treatment and therapy room with soft music, soft lighting, water fountain, and colors to evoke calm and peace. And yet, upon entering my room, he stopped at the door and said, “NO!”
Easy to get that message, so we walked exactly where he wanted to go. We made eye contact. We held hands. Eventually, we made it back to my treatment room, and he laid on my massage table, held my hand, and smiled. And I sat with him so he would feel safe. That’s all he wanted, and he communicated that.
Isn’t that all any of us really want? To feel safe? To feel listened to? To feel validated? Too often, it is our fear of ourselves and others that keeps us from feeling safe. In that moment when we make a real connection to another person, there is communication that takes place on a deeper level.
That’s what happened between Steve and me today. We connected at a deeper level that mere words could not convey. In the one moment we made eye contact, he said he trusted me, and I returned that trust. That is real communication. But we get so involved with our own thoughts and lives that we forget to make eye contact and connect at the deeper level.
Eye contact. Eyes that are the “windows of the soul.” Eyes that communicate volumes to others. Eyes that see the amazing and not so amazing. Eyes that have the distinct job of communication between two people.
The need to communicate deeply is one that must be acknowledged. It must be granted if, as humans, we are to connect and understand and feel safe. That is the one thing that is lacking in this online social media world. Eye contact. Words get lost in the translation, but making eye contact? That is where real communication takes place.
So, I wonder, if, in all of this online virtual world we all seem to live in, there is a way to deeply connect with each other without eye contact. Can we truly know and understand the person on the other side of the digital divide without seeing the eyes? Can our hearts and souls truly connect to each other? Can we tell others how we really feel, or does it get lost in the digital translation?
Pictures, they say, are worth a thousand words. What came first? Words or pictures? And in the need to communicate, did words become necessary because pictures didn’t say enough? And where did the eyes connecting go?
I know. I have a lot more questions in this post than answers, but my time spent with Steve taught me something today. Eyes most definitely are the proverbial windows to the soul. You see, we hardly said anything, but Steve’s father, who brought him, said that was the most outgoing he’s been in a long time. All because of the eyes.
How do we overcome this in the digital world? Let your words carry your meaning. Pay attention to the emotion that goes into your words. Let your eyes see your words before you write. Let your eyes be the ear for your heart when you read words on the screen. Allow yourself the opportunity to connect to someone through pictures of – your eyes. They say a lot.
Privacy issues? I get that! But eyes say so much. Let your eyes help with your words. When communicating in person, make eye contact. Communicate through your heart and soul through your eyes. How much more blessed and safe you will feel.
And yes, the eyes have it!
Camille is a poet, author, and artist with two books coming out soon. She leads women’s empowerment workshops and retreats focused on improving body image and teaching women to embrace their own beauty and sensuality. While the body of her work is in erotica and romance, she focuses on the strength of women and their inner voices. Kind hearted and loving, her motivation in writing and art is the beauty of women – all women!