Today is Day 2 of the Write 31 Days series. This morning as I was feeding Zane, we had a staring contest. But we don’t really call it that when we look into babies’ eyes endlessly without shame, embarrassment or uncomfortableness. We can look and look and look, and they look right back at us for a time and it’s a joyful, pleasant experience. I was reminded of Marina Abramovic’s art installation at MoMA in NYC in 2010. Stephen and I watched the whole documentary, but here is a short video of her work “The Artist is Present.”
When I was a palliative care fellow at the VA Hospital in Los Angeles, during one of our trainings early on in the fellowship was to partner up with a co-worker and look into each other’s eyes for several minutes. We didn’t know each other well at the beginning of the fellowship, we were all strangers, so you can imagine how uncomfortable it felt to do this. I didn’t understand at that time how months into the fellowship I would be visiting with terminally ill patients, many of whom were too ill or in pain to talk. Sometimes all I could do was sit with them, be present, and look into their eyes.
I wonder what our world would be like if we really saw each other. If we were really present with each other. If we saw each other as if for the first time. If we shed the layers of stories we tell ourselves about those we love.
You can find my other posts in this series here.