Last month, I wrapped a movie I had been filming in Vancouver for 3 1/2 weeks called “It’s Christmas Eve.” It’s a project for Hallmark channel that I coproduced, wrote original music for and starred in as the lead. Acting is something I have dabbled in along the exploration of my 25 year career, but it’s not something I have taken incredibly serious… until now. It’s not that I wasn’t interested, I LovE exploring every outlet I can to create, but I was too young to know not to listen to others limited beliefs and opinions and instead, listen to my soul’s calling. I had people around me that were fearful of me moving away from music for a moment, in fear of their biggest pay days being at risk. I had others around me who were intimidated and didn’t want me having success in the same arena they were in. All of this discouragement in one way or another left me with quite the fear around veering off to do anything other than music. From the place I stand now, I am grateful for the detour and the lessons. I’m also a true believer in divine timing, so although I wish I would have been acting more throughout the years, I know this creative light switch turned on inside of me at the exact time it was supposed to. Something bright and brilliant happened to me while filming “Its Christmas Eve.” I began settling in and getting comfortable with the acting process, enjoying it, trusting myself, my instincts and finding true collaboration and trust in the eyes of my costars. I allowed myself to be seen and stayed completely present in the moment, out of my head and in my heart.
I have struggled with great anxiety around acting for years. I would remain outside of myself, watching and judging myself. Instead of remaining present and available I would shut down, minimize my emotion out of sheer fear of failure or judgement. Like I said, that all changed during this film for many reason, but one in particular that I found so interesting… eye contact.
On set, there are a million people around, cameras filming your every thought and move. Then, there’s the pressure of keeping it real in the midst of total non reality and chaos. There’s also the weirdness of filming intimate scenes with people you’ve just shaken hands with minutes before. With all of this swirling round in your head, you then have to forget it all, drop into the moment, into your heart and fully be there with another human. Eye contact was the essential element that allowed me to drop into presence and authentic emotion every time.
I recently read somewhere that you listen with your eyes. I have found that to be 100 percent true. We hear past someone’s words when we listen with our eyes. We hear the unsaid and truly experience the deeper parts of our soul connection that bind us together as one. It’s more than accurate what they say, “the eyes are the window to the soul” and acting has given me an even greater understanding of the power of eye contact. Looking into my costars eyes took me out of myself and put the focus on them, allowing me to get out of my head and into the moment, listening intently, with full body and presence.
Experiencing this kind of connection on screen got me intensely curious of how creating greater eye contact with my LovE, friends, family and even strangers would change the way I connected and listened in my day to day life. The whole month of April, I set my intention to be just that and let me tell you, it changes EVERYTHING! I find that I am listening deeper, connecting from a more authentic place. I find that better eye contact makes those that I am speaking with take in what I’m saying with even greater understanding. I also find that it can make some people incredibly uncomfortable, but that’s ok. We honestly aren’t use to people seeing into us and our deepest intentions so completely. I LovE the way that it has shifted my world and my connections. There’s no turning back from here. If you see me out and about and we strike up a conversation, get ready for some eye contact, LOL.
So, today, take a moment to sit quietly and ponder maybe some of the same questions that have had me thinking…
How present am I? How in the moment am I? How deeply am I listening? Am I really looking into people’s eyes and truly seeing them? It’s very easy to become complacent, especially in our most intimate relationships and forget to fully show up in the moment for one another. For a whole week or even starting next month, for the whole month, truly give your attention and whole body over to whomever you are with. Be there 100% in the present moment through clear eyes, no matter how awkward or intimidating. It’s time we really feel into one another past the surface and listen with more than just our ears.