Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Recommended article: Michelle Francl-Donnay's "Custody of the eyes"

From Michelle Francl-Donnay's "Custody of the eyes":

Pedestrians in a city practice an unsympathetic custody of the eyes. Do not acknowledge with even the flick of an eye what — who — stands on corners, crouches over steam vents or sits plastered against the walls of buildings. Do not accord the pleas for food or for money a space in your conversation, not even for a single beat. It’s safer, they say. So we walk with eyes locked straight ahead, doggedly intent on our conversations.

Francl-Donnay violated that rule. 

She connected with someone. 

He thanked me and with not even a hint of rancor remarked, “No one ever looks at me, you know..."

Read the whole article here: http://ignatianlife.org/custody-of-the-eyes/

How do we connect with That of God, with the Goddess-within, the God-within, people we meet in this way?

How do we recognize each others' humanity?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

[i left the same comment on the article you linked too.]
——————–
http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2011/06/from-jerusalem-to-jericho-on-hurry.html

“The Jerusalem to Jericho study was effectively a modern-day reenactment of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

“The study involved seminarians preparing for the ministry.”

——————–
follow the link to see the conclusions (its a short blog post, but a bit too long to provide the setup context and the conclusions as an excerpt). interesting, and cause for reflection.

–sgl

Anonymous said...

a few more comments re: invisibility

when i was travelling in amsterdam, i wanted to visit the anne franck house, so i went to the tourist info to get a map. but the lines were very long, so i tried to buy a map from a vending machine instead, but i needed 3 coins of 1 franc each, rather than the 2 coins of 2.5 francs each that i had. i tried asking for change, but i was ignored. only later did i realize they probably thought i was begging for change, rather than wanting to exchange money. (amsterdam being liberal in their drug laws, i suspect they have a bit of a problem in that regard.) but to my white male middle-class experience, even being part of the in the "backpack brigade"/youth hostel crowd, it was a bit of a shock and letdown. but of course just a mere glimpse of what others experience on a daily basis. (and i never manage to find the anne franck house before it closed, so i didn't get to see it. rather an ironic twist of fate, no?)

and only a few days before or after the amsterdam incident, i was in brussels. for some reason, people there look you up and down, but don't smile or give any other acknowledgement -- just look you up and down. quite disconcerting. i kept thinking my fly was open, or that something was wrong with me. but talking with others staying at the hostel later that day, i realized it wasn't just me, they did it to everyone. but suddenly getting too much attention has it's own set of problems i guess.

also, an interesting bit about a restaurant critic who intentionally tried to be invisible:

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http://epicurienne.co.uk/tag/ruth-reichl/

“GARLIC AND SAPPHIRES is Ruth Reichl’s delicious and mischievous account of her time spent as an undercover restaurant critic. Reichl knows that to be a good critic you have to be anonymous. When she lands the much coveted job of the NEW YORK TIMES restaurant critic, she resorts to disguise in order to avoid the inevitable red carpet treatment.”

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http://voices.yahoo.com/ruth-reichl-feasting-filming-feigning-5767376.html?cat=8

Reichl got the idea for one disguise on the bus. She stood up to give an elderly passenger her seat, and the woman thanked her saying, "Sometimes no one sees me." With invisibility as her goal, Reichl became "Betty," an old lady with graying hair. She played her part so well during one meal that a waiter denigrated her, treating Betty as if she were incompetent, unable to make food selections."

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lastly, a lady who did open her eyes, and has done a tremendous amount to help. she took a gap year after high-school, and ended up founding an NGO, becoming mom to 40 kids in nepal, and founded an elementary school teaching 250+ kids. she just turned 25 last november. you can read her story here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/01/maggie-doyne-blinknow-nepal_n_869906.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/magazine/24volunteerism-t.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all

most of her blog is positive and upbeat, talking about wonderful things her kids are doing.

however, sometimes she gives a glimpse of the difficulties. one of the most touching stories (in my opinion) from her blog, in 2 parts (i particularly like the "jersey-girl moment" and the story of the shoes):
http://blinknow.org/journal/2008/7/28/karma.html
http://blinknow.org/journal/2008/7/29/the-other-girl.html

yet, despite all she's done, it's still exhausting, as can be seen in the following post:
http://blinknow.org/journal/2008/2/6/if-your-having-a-bad-day-dont-read-this.html

--sgl

sta┼Ťa said...

I just realized I never thanked you for your comments. So -- thank you!