Saturday, March 16, 2013

To Be Seen

At my last PTI retreat, I found a little-dog chew-toy plush squeaky skunk.  The evening I found it, I made a point of tossing it at someone.  Later that evening, he walked into the living room, grabbed the toy and threw it back at me without saying a word.  He was on the way to bed, but took the few extra steps to be silly and tease. One of my other friends there said, "You know, that says I see you".

Thich Nhat Hahn said, "To be loved means to be recognized as truly existing."   I am trying to incorporate this into my daily practice.  There are so many people that I interact with and don't even realize it: when I check out at the grocery store, when I buy gas, when I order take-out and so on.  Each of these people is someone with a story, a life, friends, family, joy and pain.  How often do I forget about living and loving in the moment because of my own preoccupations?

The other day I was at Taco Time, and the lady at the register was in her zone, operating on autopilot.  It has always bugged me how people walk up to the counter and just start with, "I want..." and rarely tend to say "Hello".  So I decided to do an experiment and look her in the face.  I smiled at her every time I spoke, and I stayed in the moment with this woman.  I made a point of looking at her rather than over her head at the menu while I ordered.  Every time I spoke to her, I looked in her face.  At first she didn't notice, but by the time I had finished purchasing my order she suddenly saw me.  She realized I was seeing her, and I watched her visibly relax and smile a bit.  She was unsettled at first, but the micro-relaxation was a beautiful thing to see.  I was proud that I was able to facilitate a moment of personal recognition.

I teach my children that we speak with our eyes just as much as we speak with our mouths.  When you say please or thank you, please look at me while you are saying it, to ensure your sincerity.  It wasn't until my little experiment that I realized a deeper value of the eye contact.  When you are looking at me, you are directing your words at me and recognizing that I am part of the equation.  When I recognize you in return, we are both more engaged in the moment.  I can see the beauty of you when I make the tiniest effort that it takes to see you.  It pulls us both out of our closed-off worlds and into the light that we share, if only for a moment.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!