Last week I was away from home at an energy medicine workshop, held in Arizona. My vision felt happy and opened-up, being with dear friends in this close-to-Nature environment with long expansive views.
One morning I stopped at the juice bar for a cup of tea before breakfast, running right into a noisy swarm of folks getting ready to leave on a hike. Goodbye peaceful attitude! They chattered and darted in every direction to get one final cup of coffee or retrieve their bags. I could feel my anxiety ramping up.
I struggled to stay calm and centered while I got a teabag, then crouched to carefully fill my cup from the hot water dispenser, focused on not spilling it or burning myself. As I stood up, the hikers filing outside still making a lot of noise, the motherly juice bar lady said “Can I ask you something?”. When I agreed, already calming down since the crowd was gone, she wondered “What’s wrong with your eyes?”.
My reaction was interesting — rather than feel defensive or inadequate, I smiled to myself, thinking “Nothing! They just get scared easily, especially by crowds!”. I realized she had noticed me looking closely at the teabag package in the dim light, seeking the perforation to rip it open, and concluded I couldn’t see very well. A teaching moment!
Using this opening, I talked about my contracted very near-sighted vision all of my life until 12 years ago or so, and how I was now undoing that pattern. I said I did have glasses in my car for driving, but didn’t like the way they felt and only used them if I really needed them, that I could see quite well most of the time. I mentioned that vision varies, which is news to the average person, and that mine gets more blurry when I get scared or overwhelmed, an old childhood pattern of “protecting” me, keeping the bad guys out. I had seen the crowd of boisterous hikers as bad guys, and my eyes and brain had responded accordingly!
The woman listened closely, then talked about how she didn’t like glasses either, and how her reading glasses were such an annoyance. She said that crowds made her uncomfortable also, that she finds them irritating. I offered, from my energy medicine studies, that different people respond differently to stress, that while I get anxious or scared, she gets annoyed or irritated or angry. The response may differ but the feeling is the same: the body and mind do not feel safe!
We talked a bit more about her using her reading glasses only when she absolutely needs them, as her brain and eyes are clearly giving her the message that they’re happier without them. I praised her for being tuned into what she needs, and for listening to her healthy body. Finally, I mentioned that using glasses for long periods of time keeps the prescription pattern in place, and often leads to it getting even stronger and deeper. She agreed that several of her friends were needing a higher prescription in their reading glasses after wearing them for a year or two.
Reflecting on this incident, I’m pleased with how I handled it. I could have gotten upset, reminded of my mother bemoaning my “bad eyes” when I was little. Instead I used it to be honest about what is difficult for me and how I am coping with that, and to teach a bit about healthy vision habits and natural vision improvement. Everyone deserves to see clearly, and there is a great deal we can do with our attitude and habits to facilitate good healthy vision.