This morning I clearly saw a dynamic between my steady tech-y partner and me, which taught me more about myself and the sometimes over-focused manner in which I can approach tasks. I can often get upset and think I’m “failing” when words are pouring at me, but they are not addressing the specific piece of information I think I need to know.
My ageing desktop computer monitor usually does not turn on right away now. Every morning I feel like I get different instructions from my guy: “Turn it off, then back on” (when it was on but the screen was dark), or “Turn it on and leave it on” (when I had just turned it off, because I thought it needed to “rest” since it hadn’t lit up when it was on). I can feel his frustration with me at having to tell me the same thing over and over, when to me it feels like I’m getting different advice every time! Plus I’m making no progress at learning, getting upset at feeling stupid, and feeling badly that I’m annoying him!
Today before I turned on the computer I replayed some of our conversations about this in my head, determined to solve it. Maybe I was calmer than usual since I had had such a deep meditation earlier. I remembered hearing him say “The electronics need to warm up”. Light bulb! Turn it on, leave it on, then tun it off and right back on after a minute or so — could that finally be the magic formula that had been eluding me? YES! It worked!
OK, one problem solved. Now to tackle our different communication styles, to prevent situations like this in the future. I told him when I don’t understand something that he’s trying to explain to me, when I start to feel his impatience that I’m not “getting it”, I get anxious and blame myself, and it shuts down my logical brain so it’s even harder for me to understand him! This is fundamental for me — once again, I need to keep myself calm and centered. I’m not sure he understood my point — he’s just relieved that I finally understand how to turn on the monitor! It doesn’t matter. I got something big from this.
Finally, I see a major connection here with my vision. When someone is making me see something I don’t want to see, like probably happened in my childhood, my anxious emotional brain and my visual processing brain are in conflict. Pick your analogy, maybe water (visual energy) trying to flow through a crimped hose. It took me several years of vision improvement with ever-weaker glasses to realize this work is not just mechanical for me. I need to be emotionally relaxed to process visual images accurately. And with my temperament, I can easily get ungrounded, so I need to keep my focus on staying calm and centered.
Just like I need to be calm to hear and fully comprehend auditory instructions, I need to be calm to see clearly!
It’s obvious to me now that for most of my life I was in a very high state of anxiety, occasionally bordering on panic. I functioned pretty well from this tightly wound place, driving myself (sometimes obsessively) to accomplish. Yet I wasn’t having much fun, or taking any time to relax — there was always something else I “should” be doing. Even “take a walk” or “spend time with your friend” could become tasks to complete rather than activities to enjoy for themselves.
Since I have been such a good student in many areas of my life, I’ve felt inadequate and less-than about taking so long to improve my vision to 20/20, or better. I seem to keep getting the same message: your eyes are fine, Nancy — you need to do a better job of relaxing! OK, so maybe I got another piece today. If I can observe my own behavior and change it to be more productive, and even initiate a conversation about what I have seen as a personal weakness, I’m happy with that progress. I’d like to think my brain’s functioning is slowly getting better along with my eyesight!