Do you remember that awesome movie, Avatar? I can never forget that line, I see you.
Last weekend I found myself on a white sandy beach a couple of hours north of Brisbane. This part of Queensland is renowned for its beautiful headland and beaches and is also one of the most expensive towns on the coast. When I arrived early at the beach, it was cloudy, the wind was blowing pretty heavily and there was light rain falling.
As I power-walked along the sand next to the ocean, feeling grateful to have a body with legs that could support me and carry me along, I guess I passed about ten people. As each person approached me, I smiled and was ready to say a warm, Good morning! The strange thing is that of those ten people, only two of them met my gaze. The rest either ignored me or made an effort not to look me in the eye. I found myself feeling a bit sad, a bit disappointed; somehow rejected. I couldn’t just accept it either as I searched for a reason. I found that I had to come up with some theory as to their unwillingness to meet my gaze and couldn’t help wondering if it had anything to do with the wealth of the passersby.
I go for regular morning walks in my Brisbane suburb and we all greet each other, whether the person we are passing is familiar or not. I find it feels so good to look into the eyes of the person coming towards me on the path as we connect and acknowledge each other’s presence. There’s no need to stop and chat. Just a friendly, Good morning, and on we go.
Perhaps we all behave differently depending on where we are. What do you reckon? I mean, that is what the movie Crocodile Dundee was all about, wasn’t it? Dundee’s behaviour was totally normal in outback Australia but in the middle of New York his open friendliness was strangely bizarre to the inhabitants of that city who weren’t used to that kind of gregarious familiarity with strangers. It’s the same with Mr. Bean. Neither of these famous characters modify their behaviour to fit in socially with others. I mean, you and I do, right?
Sometimes I ask JL to stand in the kitchen with me before we go to work, just for a minute or so, as we look into each other’s eyes. He’s getting a bit more relaxed with it now but before he found it hard not to move or make sounds. He said it felt like I was staring right into his soul and I could see everything! He felt a bit fearful I think. We’ve been practicing this small ritual once or twice a week and I swear I feel emotionally closer to him when we do it. Try it with your loved one and see what you think.
Is that what it was on that northern beach? Fear? Fear of connection with the unknown? Or maybe it was just too much effort. If I were to live there, would I divert my gaze too so that I fitted in with the locals? I reckon I’d be a real renegade and even if they didn’t look in my eyes, I’d blurt out a hearty Good morning with a grin from ear to ear and wish them well from my heart. Be the change you wish to see in the world and all that stuff …
Anyway dear reader, rest assured, I see you.