“Of all the qualities that give an attractive person an edge, here’s one you’ve likely overlooked: the limbal ring, the dark circle around iris. The limbal ring is the line that separates the colored part of the eye from the white….
The limbal ring is well-named. Limbis means border or edge, and it’s related to limbic, meaning emotion or drives. The limbal ring, seen from inches away, is an intimacy zone.”
~ Pyschology Today~
Last night I attended a game night hosted by Authentic Relating (A.R.) in a neighboring city. Authentic relating meet-ups are based on the idea of deepening interpersonal connections and really pushing aside the fluff and getting to the meat of the authenticity of each other in conversation and interpersonal relationships from the get-go. From their page, their goals state that their activities are created to: “Highlight and train body awareness, Create deep connection, Boost empathy, Strengthen community, Be fun!”
For someone who survived trauma and has anxiety going to this event was a BIG leap. I had already bailed on this event once two weeks prior, and I was committed to attending this time around. I was challenged already as it was in a new place, with new people, at night. The topic was “self-love,” another topic that can be hard for us women/mothers, as putting our needs and self-compassion in the forefront can be challenging.
As someone with PTSD does, I got there early and parked where I could see other people enter to make sure I got to the right place. Then when I was convinced that I COULD, in fact, do ANYTHING for 2 hours, I walked in. This event was held in a lovely space, and the people were friendly. I sat down on a comfortable pillow in a giant circle and waited for the event to begin.
Marina Abramović’s performance at MoMA in 2010 emphasizes the power of eye contact. Marina Abramović is a Serbian performance artist who has various performances that push her body to extremes to experience pain, nudity, violence, and vulnerability. In her performance The Artist is Present, which took place in MoMA in 2010, Marina sits on a chair as the spectators come one by one to sit in front of Marina to look at her eyes for a whole minute. The moment they look at each others’ eyes and communicate without any words is so deep that the vulnerability of eye contact becomes the power of communication. In just one minute.
During my two hours with the other twenty authentic relaters, we went through several activities meant to help us gently grow, and find our edges. They didn’t waste any time diving right in, starting with the very activity Marina Abramovic did at MoMA. We were to find a partner, hold hands and simply hold eye contact with each other silently until we found that we had really connected, then move on to the next person. Thankfully, I had chatted with someone who sat next to me when I arrived, to the two of us partnered up.
My partner had been to previous A.R. events, so this particular activity seemed within her comfort zone, where the immediate and sustained eye contact with a stranger immediately hit up against my edge.
Knowing this was the idea of the activity, I went inside those feelings and started to explore them while maintaining eye contact with my partner. She had a kind face and an accepting expression. Knowing I was new, I sensed she knew this was challenging for me. Mere seconds in, my heart began to race, my shoulders tensed, my breath was unsteady, and it hit me… how little I sustain eye contact with people when I am expressing feelings.
In this one minute, I managed to have a full soul search and had the serious realization of a need to be more bold with those I talk with, and to connect with them more when I am speaking my truth. I have no problem connecting with others with full eye contact when they are speaking about THEIRS, but I shy away when I am speaking about mine.
Tomorrow night is the gathering of my delightful tribe of twelve ladies who gather once a month at my home to fellowship and simply be among women. I will be exercizing these new skills if the opportunity comes up!