November 20, 2023 •
Connecting One Minute at a Time!
A few weeks ago, I read an article in the Sunday New York Times written by San Francisco Bay area artist, graphic journalist, and author Wendy MacNaughton entitled “The Importance of Looking at What (and Who) You Don’t See”.
The premise of the article was about when MacNaughton set up “shop” one morning outside of a BART Station in downtown San Francisco, with a table, two chairs, and a sign that read “Draw Together. It Just Takes One Minute.” What MacNaughton was aiming for was to get total strangers to sit down opposite one another for one minute, and just draw what they see on the other’s face (not what they EXPECTED to see). They were never to lift their pen from or look down at their paper; they were only to keep drawing, looking at the other person’s face THE WHOLE TIME! MacNaughton noted that although most of her participants questioned their artistic ability at first approach, by the time the exercise was over, they were laughing at their drawings and amazed at how connected they felt to the other person. MacNaughton noted at the beginning of her article that “WE DON’T SEE ONE ANOTHER ANYNMORE… Frustrated, powerless, sometimes just lost in our own worlds, we look away…”
Reading MacNaughton’s article got me thinking about my own ways in how I connect with others, and was I, myself, guilty of seeing only what I expected to see in a person, instead of what was truly right there before me? Do I really “see” people? See them for who they truly ARE, and not as I EXPECT or even WANT them to be? There’s an old wise saying – “the eyes are the windows to the soul” – what if we spent more time making eye contact with one another, as opposed to ignoring, bypassing, or just dismissing one another for whom we feel to be less than human in our eyes?
I encourage you to think about how you currently connect with others, and to note if there are new ways that you can make more meaningful connections? Eager to try out the experiment documented by MacNaughton? Let me know how it goes – you may be surprised of the outcomes!
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