Today's prompt from the folks at Scintilla13 goes like this:
I have an exceptionally strong ability to "read" people. To hear them with my eyes.
I attribute this talent to my brother John. His verbal language skills were never all that great, but he and I connected deeper than language. Our communication was fully embodied and seemed, to some, ethereal.
It was a spiritual practice, now that I look back on it.
John taught me how to listen with my eyes as well as to catch that listening in the tiniest shift, sometimes in the movement of air or energy rather than anything other people might see or hear. Some people call this empathic but that doesn’t quite describe it.
It is sort of like “intuition unplugged”.
Sometimes when I work with life coaching clients I will ask them, “What’s going on with your shoulder today?” and from three thousand miles away they will report an injury or just a tightness within their muscles. This is more of the empathy way, but I also think of intuition as primarily from the gut.
I’m getting tangled up in words which is ironic because what I am attempting to explain has nothing to do with conventional language.
I remember when John was in the process of dying. Five of the six siblings were together: the largest assembly at his hospital. We wanted to talk with the doctors about John’s treatment when he had been sick for a few months. We were all chattering in the doorway to his room or rather others were chattering. John couldn’t speak because of his tracheotomy. I was listening with my eyes.
No one else heard his obvious to me plea, “I can’t see the tv because someone pulled the curtain in front of it. Would someone please move the screen so I can see the tv?”
I did. I also apologized verbally to John for not noticing it more quickly.
He rested his head against the pillow. That day confused him and it was the only time during his illness my Mom saw him cry. We were all there, but we were hovering about and we all left, including Mom, for this meeting. The only person left out was John.
The first time I noticed it was in college, when a group of young women were in my dorm room. There was one quiet girl named Monica who was sitting on one of the couches. This particular group of college women were very talkative, myself included. My eyes heard Monica had something she wanted to say. I said to her, “Are you feeling well, Monica? Do you need something?”
With that, Monica started to tear up.
She had been longing to be heard. My eyes heard her, first. In another crowded room with all sorts of chatter, I heard the one who needed to be heard with my eyes first.
I realize now not everyone can do this.
It is a continuing spiritual practice, one I need to remember. I practice with people, with trees, with birds. I slow down and bend my body - be it my ears, my mind, my eyes - and listen.
Are you listening, too?
This post was inspired by the folks at Scintilla13 - Here's what they have to tell us:
We believe that who we are is informed by our stories. Here, we want to offer you a space to introduce yourself, and a guide to share your history and make some connections along the way. We’ll be offering daily prompts for two weeks beginning on March 13th.
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© 2013 by Julie Jordan Scott