"Windows to the
By David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP
A popular English proverb states: �The eyes are a window to the soul.�
Likewise, I have always loved the Native American Proverb (Zona, 1994),
�The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears� (p.66). I am
also inspired and stimulated by the words of the Irish poet and
philosopher, John O� Donohue. In The Invisible World (1997), he
describes how some humans have seen things that no human beings should
ever have to see and you can see it in their eyes. When you look deeply
into their eyes you will notice a deep sadness, a darkness that no light
can reach. I was deeply moved and reflected on what O�Donohue expressed
so beautifully in light of my experience of nearly four decades with
children who have suffered lacerations to the soul. O�Donohue is
right�you can see it in their eyes. Human beings are capable of hiding
their inner pain in an endless variety of ways but they are unable to
hide the profound sadness in their eyes. It is there for us to see, if
we dare to look closely. It is painful to look at that degree of sadness
in the eyes of our fellow human beings, especially the eyes of children.
I choose to believe that lightness can still reach the darkness deep in
the soul of children and am heartened by Bessel van der Kolk�s (2003)
admonition that �We assume everything is reversible until clinically
proven otherwise.� The soul can only have a rainbow if the eyes have had
tears. We do not appreciate the gift of life, love, caring, friendships,
health, and meaningful connections with others until sadly, we are
brought to our knees by a devastating loss. But whether there is only
darkness or eventually a rainbow in the soul depends not only on the
inner strengths of a child, adult, and his/her family but how much we as
healers are willing to approach the darkness so that the child is not
alone and gradually can once again allow in the light.
(1997) The invisible world. (An audio recording) Louisville, CO:
Sounds True, Inc.
Van der Kolk, B.
(2003). Frontiers of trauma treatment. Presentation at the
Psychotherapy Networker Symposium (March, 2003). Washington, DC.
Zona, G. A.
1994. The soul would have no rainbow and other Native American
Proverbs. New York: Touchstone Books.
Copyright � 2007 by David A.
Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP. All rights reserved.