Eye Energy, Pt. 2

carlosYesterday, I wrote about spotting two gems in an old Nia notebook from a long-ago training with Carlos AyaRosas.

~ Can you let go of the need to check the outside world to see if you are doing okay?
~ Can you use your eyes to look out and stay in your body?

We use our eyes so much, so constantly, we are such visual creatures, that almost always we are unconscious about how we use them. Today, let’s look more closely at each of these eye-pearls from Carlos. The first pearl is connected with confidence and security (or lack thereof) and the second is about balance between self and other.

~ Can you let go of the need to check the outside world to see if you are doing okay?

eye energy Michael_scott

My decision to teach mindful movement classes was both exciting and full-on terrifying. Getting up in front of people in tight pants and suggesting that they watch my body for an hour is a journey in vulnerability — even 15 years into the practice.

I still grapple with insecurity and self-consciousness but early on, I was awash in it. Worried that I wasn’t doing it right or that I wasn’t measuring up to more experienced teachers, I found myself checking out my students’ reactions to see if I was doing okay. I suspect I looked like Michael Scott, Steve Carrell’s character from The Office as my eyes darted from face to face. (In the show’s mockumentary format, Michael is forever glancing to the camera with wince-worthy awkwardness to see if he’s getting the laugh or praise or approval he’s after. Yep, that was me.)

It’s a natural human (albeit caveman-y) reaction to check in to see how what we say or do lands with others. We want to know that we’re still welcome to sit around the fire with our tribe and nibble on elderberry jerky with them. When I find myself doing it to distraction (mine and others), however, I know that I’ve lost my footing and am giving away my energy in an attempt to please my fellow cave folk.

It’s likely that you don’t get in front of people with pink polka dotted pants on and shake your daisy. It may be that your “checking the outside world” isn’t as painfully obvious as Michael Scott’s or mine. But notice when you feel yourself doing or saying something and then looking to see if you’re still accepted by the tribe. That’s a good time to feel your feet, stay in your body and breathe into your own self.

~ Can you use your eyes to look out and stay in your body?

eye energy grand canyonBeauty can bring me to tears. When I watched the sun come up over Grand Canyon, the first time I saw the Rocky Mountains, and when my children were part of the Walker Upper Elementary School Olympic Ceremony each time I was a weepy mess. There are times when I can cry, feel deep emotion, and still stay connected to my body and sensation but often intensity causes me to vacate the premises. When I see something lovely or frightening or sad, it’s easy for me to ellipt into the other ~ whether it is mountain range or a beloved child ~ and lose myself entirely.

This is a shame, really, since the sensations that arise when I look at the world are helpful and informative. Feeling the tightness in my throat when I see cruelty or injustice tells me that I have something I want to say. Sensing the spaciousness in my heart and tingling on my skin when I see the light touching the towering Grand Canyon walls, tells me that I am part of something larger. All sensations, even painful ones, offer me an experience of aliveness.

What happens when you look out, can you stay connected to yourself, to your physical sensation in the moment?

It’s worth practicing on little things like the new blossoms in your garden or the sweet view from your window before you take on the big stuff like natural wonders of the world or middle school performances. However you do it, though, it’s worth practicing being connected with something or someone outside of you and staying connected to yourself.

How we use our eyes affects the physical body and movement — and it is largely about exchanging energy. Mindfulness around that exchange can help me stay balanced:  both offer my energy and hold onto my own power.

This week, keep an eye on how you use your eyes.

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2 comments
  1. I’m happy at 50 I don’t need to wear glasses YET!.. hey I wondered – do you think the question could be ” Can you use your eyes to look AND stay in the body? for me it’s something I practice.. I notice how I can be looking at something and get so lost in it I realize I’m no longer in my body, and then, when I look AND stay in my body it’s like I connect the dots and have a deeper more somatic, centered, rich experience…. Helen Terry

    • Arrrgh! YES. A blundering typo. Thanks for catching it (funny, I wasn’t looking closely enough!). And also YES exactly, can I be connected to another (or a vista or a scene or anything outside of me) and stay connected to me and my body at the same time? When I do, it is indeed a richer more genuinely connected experience. Thanks, Helen. xo

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