In the article The Gaze of Attunement last year here, I made the connection between brain science and the potency of Relational Presence practice for public speaking.
I wrote that if our mom or dad didn’t gaze back with loving availability when we started locking into their eyes at age 4 months, we had challenges attuning with others going forward. And this is the genesis of the epidemic of public speaking anxiety in adulthood for so many of us.
Relational Presence practice in Speaking Circles with a receptive-eyed group “re-gazes” us by building new neuro-pathways in our brain that associate being seen with pleasure and expansion, rather than the anxiety and contraction many of us got wired with before we knew what hit us.
A striking video came to my attention that exquisitely demonstrates the ecstatic gaze shared by mom and infant. In particular, look at the segment starting at 9:51:
This connection is aptly referred to on the video as “the dance of attunement,” and you’ll also see how the baby instantly gets anxious when the mom ends the dance by cutting off the relationality of her gaze. This gave me a vivid realization of how my own mom’s sad and distant eyes led me into decades of severe stage fright.
I now have greater understanding of how I was driven to devise Relational Presence practice to rewire my brain and heal that primal fear.
And I realize at an ever-deepening level the potent effectiveness of my steady gaze behind the camera, along with the gaze of positive regard of the other listeners, toward allowing one person at a time up front to tap into the finely-calibrated vibration of attunement with humanity that is their birth right.
I am immensely proud that Speaking Circle Facilitators all over the world, are holding this sacred space in Dutch, German, Japanese, and French, among other languages, in what I think of as a spiritual practice with profound professional development and leadership benefits.
The Hot Air Balloon Metaphor
In attuning to a group, the speaker allows them to hold and uplift her with their listening eyes. I have the image of a hot air balloon floating aloft with the support of air currents and a grounding tether. We practice maintaining eye availability always and only with one listener at a time, especially between thoughts and while calmly inviting in the words that will arise next.
Developing this capacity to be “easygoing in the not knowing” creates a resonant field of belonging in the room as the speaker allows the audience to gently tether him to the earth while buoying him up.
My original brain wiring that associated visibility with anxiety had me filling those transitional spaces with “ums” and “ahs” while my eyes went down to my shoes. This interruptive behavior cuts the tether, the lifeline. No wonder I regularly “crashed and burned.”.
My new Relational Presence brain wiring allows attunement to prevail in the room, and my next words inevitably arise from an effortless place beyond my small mind.
If you have a message or other useful information you feel called to deliver in the world, you owe it to yourself to understand how to communicate your contribution in a pleasurable, listener-friendly way.
© Copyright 2013, Lee Glickstein. All rights reserved.