Eyestrain is an indicator that your visual system is not relaxed. “Duh!” you say. Well, over a hundred years ago Dr. Bates, the father of natural vision improvement, wrote and taught about strain being at the root of most visual problems, everything from nearsightedness to cataracts and more.
Yesterday I had to make nearly an hour’s drive in heavy traffic, surrounded by big SUVs and bigger trucks, many racing their engines in frustration at the delays. This just stressed me further. As I observed myself, I saw I was getting nervous, and that I couldn’t see as clearly as usual. When I checked my attitude, it was a loud “I don’t want to be here!”. When I opened the window for a bit of fresh air, all I got was exhaust fumes. Yuck!
With my personality, when I am not happy with a situation, I often want to withdraw and go elsewhere where I’m more comfortable, flee rather than fight. Sometimes this isn’t possible, like in the middle of a traffic jam, or when a boss is yelling at me. If I can’t flee, and don’t want to fight back, I realize sometimes my energy fights back by putting up a wall. I’m resisting: you can’t get to me! This is strain.
And I also recognize I can flee energetically, leaving the scene with most of my attention and dissociating, when I don’t feel welcome or peaceful or safe. I pull my energy away from the Here and Now. I explored my eyestrain yesterday after this stressful trip, since I so rarely get eyestrain now. What was I doing to cause this, that I can do in a more healthy productive way next time?
For all of my childhood after age 5 and for most of my teens I wore strong glasses, then got strong contact lenses. So I could claim that my patterns of visual strain are long-standing and “automatic”. Yet I have choices now. I have learned to look and see in a much more relaxed way than I did as a child, and see more clearly than I ever imagined was possible without corrective lenses.
Similarly, I have learned to relax my mind and outlook, which is a big part of the visual system! I am learning to notice that I do have choices, in every moment, and to exercise them. I can choose to look for the good — a traffic jam gives me the opportunity to look around at the buildings and trees which I couldn’t if I was driving faster! Or I could choose to take a longer more scenic route with less traffic.
My energy medicine teacher Deborah King strongly emphasizes self-care, that you can’t help others consistently if you’re not happy and healthy yourself. I want to remember to include caring for my visual system and my attitude in this, so that I see the joy and the possibilities all around me. Fighting or fleeing from Reality is a losing game. I want to win at Life — don’t you?