I’m at the home of a teen boy with an unusual vision problem, a few miles away from where I live. I looked up his address on an on-line map site so I could visit him to offer my help. He’s in his middle teens, a sweet kid, without any of that exaggerated machismo and strutting which teen boys often have, to prove to the world (really, to themselves) that they’re rapidly becoming a man.
He’s wearing wire-rimmed eyeglasses, with a special attachment of extra wires at his temples to stimulate parts of his brain which the doctors deem sluggish — they think this is what is wrong with his vision. I have a strong feeling they’re over-medicalizing this kid, like giving him a drug to treat what is just a normal human variation, not a problem.
I notice the lenses in the boy’s glasses don’t look that thick, certainly nothing like the coke-bottle lenses I wore myself as an early teen. I wonder if he really needs them, yet am reluctant to go against the medical authorities or his parents in proposing he see what it would be like without them. I’m feeling he’s just shyer than other kids, hesitant to leap forward and grasp onto any concept or opportunity, not because his functioning is impaired, but because he’s naturally cautious.
As I start talking a bit about natural vision improvement, I watch carefully for his reaction. He’s an attentive student, wanting the information and respecting my experience. The doctors have said his problem is that his eyes don’t let in enough light, that they might be partly closed all the time. I talk carefully about how emotions can affect the vision, about being afraid or unwilling to look, and how that pattern can get stuck if not addressed. I don’t want to say this is his case, even though I’m feeling it might be. I’m just offerring it as a possibility for him to consider.
I tell him how much it’s helped me to go without glasses and see with my healthy natural vision, that the eyes know how to see if we give them the care they need. I know he’ll find his way and make the right choices for himself, maybe not until after he gets a little older and leaves his parents’ house.
As we’re in the kitchen talking, a teen girl with a lot of black eye makeup comes in and plops herself down at the table. She reminds me of one of my students when I was a high school math teacher years ago. I can feel myself pulling back from interacting now. Is this his girlfriend (she looks too shallow for him) or his sister, who will discount everything I have to say? I relax as she chatters about her own stuff, clearly not interested in our conversation about vision.
A younger boy comes in and sits at the table, which I notice is now partially set for dinner. Clearly I don’t belong in this intimate family setting, so I get ready to leave. I tell the teen boy he is free to make his own choices about his health and his eyes. I want to emphasize this to him. I say he doesn’t have to listen to what I have to offer either if it doesn’t feel right.
As I start driving home, I realize I’m several towns away from where I had thought I was. I look at the surroundings carefully to make sure I don’t get lost. At one point I’m following another car when we enter a dark tunnel. My headlights don’t seem to be working, and all I can see is the rear window of the car in front of me which is lit from inside. I’m thinking this isn’t very safe — what if I blindly follow him and he runs into the wall of the tunnel? We get to the end of the tunnel and the view opens up to show a vast panorama of hillside scenery where I can see for miles.
I wake up grateful — I’ve been asking for a dream about vision for a while now. I can’t help comparing the teen boy to my younger self, so introverted, not the Society Ideal of an outgoing gregarious go-getter. That didn’t mean there was something wrong with me, nor with my eyes! I definitely still have some work to do about resenting being put in those strong eyeglasses so young, with no other options.
In the dream as I talked to the boy about the basic principles of vision improvement, I could feel his interest. Maybe there was nothing wrong with him at all — what an encouraging thought! We really do kids a disservice by trying to force everyone into the same mold, and making those that don’t fit (like me!) feel flawed.
It’s interesting to me that the dream about vision which came to me is not about my own vision, at least not on the surface. It focuses on what I know as a natural vision teacher, and on my helping someone else. Is this saying the more I teach, the more I’ll grow myself? (I do believe this is true.) If the glasses-wearing boy is an aspect of me, perhaps the dream is saying I need to continue my work of convincing my younger self she is not flawed or less-than at all — she is wonderful!
Finally, the dream experience in the tunnel reminds me again that I’m uncomfortable in the dark, thinking I won’t be able to see, and I need to keep working on this. I love the ending of the dream, like the finale of a big movie, with an expansive view of Nature and triumphant orchestra music playing. It feels like a message that all is well, and the future is limitless. How cool is that?