A dear friend likes to say she’s going to read the back of her eyelids. Meaning she’s going to take a nap. What a wonderfully playful way of describing one of my favorite ways to pause.
I, literally, like to read the back of my eyelids. I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. My favorite way involves turning my face toward the sun with my eyes closed, watching the colors shift. If the sun is nice and bright, red will be the predominant color, presumably due to blood flow. But if you hang out there for a little while, you’ll notice different colors begin to swirl.
There are times at night when I resist falling into slumber. Often I’ll close my eyes and watch a strange kind of fireworks. Bright lights bursting and moving in ripple type patterns, usually white or yellow, sometimes blue. Other times, I’ll pause at some random moment and what I see reminds me of snow on an old-time television or a Jackson Pollock painting.
Reading eyelids is like having your own built in kaleidoscope. Let’s read our eyelids together right now. It only takes a few seconds. Close your eyes. What do you see?
Initially, what I saw were bright bold lines framing a black square center, mostly on the top and bottom. Obviously, this is the light from the computer screen I’m sitting in front of. The beautiful part was the arc in the lines, due to spherical nature of eyeballs? I don’t know the science here. As I sat looking at those lines, they started to fade a little. The square black shape dominating the center began to look like it had bites taken out of each side that were getting bigger and bigger. I imagine if I paused even longer more colors would have started showing up.
For those of you more serious minded folks who can’t be bothered to play with your eyes closed and notice swirling colors, think of it this way. When you’re reading your eyelids, and paying attention to the wonder that appears on these essential and protective canvases, you are not thinking about your to-do list. The errands that need to get done. The items forgotten at the grocery store. The bills that need paying. The appointment you forgot to follow-up on. And so on. You are allowing shape and color to define a moment for you. This is called meditation and what you might not realize right away is that this moment of pause brings a moment of calm and perhaps even a moment of clarity.
All because you noticed your eyelids? Yes. That’s the awe of them.