“How do I get in touch with my heart?” one of my clients at last weekend’s Life Coaching Crash Course asked me. And as someone who is traveling down that road, too, my answer would normally be “it’s a process of discovery… there is no magic pill.” And yet, I have found a practice that seems to be as close to a pill as you can get: making eye contact.
My high school journalism teacher used to tell me, “your eyes are the window to your soul.” No wonder I have always struggled with making eye contact. Give away free access to my soul? I would rather give a talk to an audience of 1000 than make 15 seconds of eye contact with just one of them. Try staring into someone’s eyes for an uninterrupted 15 seconds and you’ll see what I mean.
And yet… and yet, in those seconds of eye contact, it seems like everything else stands still, and all you can feel is that scary, intense, slightly awkward moment of connection that goes straight to the heart. You know what I am talking about.
So I decided to do an experiment. I was participating at Burning Man with a bunch of my Handel buddies and attended a rhythmic dance meditation workshop. My mission: once I locked into eye contact with someone on the dance floor, I would keep it for a while. No looking away. No glazing over. Just pure connection.
The results? I would have to say that those two hours on the dance floor were some of the most extraordinary of my life. The first person cried. The second person was shy and kept averting their gaze, but then by the end of the song was returning it full-throttle. You could tell they were proud of themselves for staying with it. The third was just so loving, and smiled the whole time. Their gaze was like a ray of sunshine. And on and on.
Please don’t confuse this with flirting… I was doing an experiment in platonic connecting, human to human, not trying to “pick” anyone up (though it would have probably worked for that, as well).
With each one, I felt my heart clearly, radiantly. Not distinct feelings, per se, but just this intense feeling of feeling.
I have continued my eye contact experiment back in New York as a practice. I make deep eye contact with the people I pass on the street, in the subway, in the elevator. The results? I feel the vibrancy of my heart all day long. Not to mention that I have met a ton of new people :).
I dare you: make long, lingering eye contact with someone in your life today. How does it feel?
With love and deep eye contact,
P.S.- I lead a whole weekend workshop devoted to connecting to yourself and those around you: the Life Coaching Crash Course. Register using promo code: Daily100 to save $100. I promise, these two days will change your life. (Locations include: NY, Boston, DC, California)
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Dr. Samantha Sutton is a Senior Coach and Director of Courses and Seminars at The Handel Group™. Samantha designs and leads the Handel Group’s™ flagship workshop, the Life Coaching Crash Course. Samantha additionally coaches at universities such as Stanford and MIT. Prior to becoming a coach, Samantha received a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from MIT, and then moved to the Handel Group™ to engineer people’s lives.