So I was driving to teach my yoga class this week when a woman sped up next to me at a roundabout and came close to hitting a motorcyclist who was turning in front of her. In reaction, the biker did something totally unexpected – he just stopped, right there in the middle of the road and stared at her. Being quite close to the situation in my own car, I could see that there was no anger in that look, no aggression. He simply looked at her. And looked. And kept on looking.
The biker looked at that speeding woman until he connected with her. Until the racing thoughts of where she was going and what she needed to do there subsided and she caught up with herself and was able to really see the biker.
Then he made a gentle motion with his hands…’slow down’…held her gaze for a few more seconds (which seemed, by this point, like an awfully long time seeing as how he was still stopped in the middle of the street – albeit a small one). And then he drove off.
And although I wasn’t the one speeding (that day), I was left with the powerful feeling of that stare. That stare that, without aggression or anger, simply showed what was true. That look that needed no words to communicate but instead simply allowed time to slow and reflected back to the woman what she needed to see, the reality of her actions.
Now, I am a talker. I feel the need to verbalise almost everything, to talk about what I’m thinking, how I’m feeling. (I’m one of those people who starts talking more when they feel nervous.) In fact, my mother jokes that I have a daily word quota that I have to meet…that I literally have to speak a certain number of words a day or else I go a little crazy…which, okay, it’s true…)
But the image of that biker is going to stick with me as a reminder of just how powerful silence and a Good Long Stare can be.