Last week I participated in an energy healing retreat with my long-time teacher Deborah King, and noticed again that the calmer I remain the better I can see. I’ve written before about being present as it relates to vision, here and here. When I was young I don’t think I even knew what being present meant, I was so anxious and scattered.
In the past I’ve attended many workshops and trainings with Deborah, most requiring cross-country travel, where countless things can go wrong. I’ve spent an unplanned night in an airport at least twice, and missed connections for some interesting reasons, from a flat tire on a plane (so we couldn’t take off and needed another plane), to taking so long to de-ice a small plane before takeoff (the pilot joked that the de-icer truck was made by Tonka!) that I arrived too late at the big airport to make my connection.
Any such incident can get me more and more anxious, as I see the time slipping away and can do nothing about it. Or I can use the time to nap or meditate or journal or talk to an interesting stranger, knowing I’ll get back on course soon. When I first started vision improvement years ago, having no idea what I was doing and making many mistakes, I still could see that being fearful and worrying hurt my vision, and being accepting of my circumstances helped it.
Here are a few simple things I keep in mind to help my attitude and my vision. They may be obvious to others, but they weren’t obvious to me and I had to learn the hard way, doing it wrong first. So this is as much a check-list to help me remember as it is for you.
– Have a Plan B for any snag you can anticipate. That child-like panic of “I can’t handle this!” can rise up otherwise, and then we really can’t think straight to find a solution. I used to regularly feel invaded by others, with no escape in sight. Now if some well-meaning extroverted chatty person asks me to join a noisy lunch table at a workshop, I can say “No thanks!” and sit by myself or with one other, where I can more easily digest my food and not try to listen to several conversations at once.
– Catch the overwhelm early because you know the signals. When I’m getting anxious, my vision can get a bit blurry (I don’t want to see this situation!), my breathing gets faster and more shallow, and I get a spinning dizzy-like feeling in my head, as if my busy brain is on overdrive trying to figure how to get me out of this. So when I know I’m in it, what do I do?
– Slow down and be here. This is the returning-to-center behavior: breathe more slowly and deeply, become aware of my feet (I tell myself “Get in your feet, Nancy!” since I know I want to fly away), easily and gently scan my environment, notice the periphery (which I can ignore if I’m anxious). I’ve had dreams of my eyes frantically darting here and there, desperately looking for an escape from what was happening. This does not lead me to feel calm!
– Schedule breaks or down time between periods of activity. If the previous point is about pacing, and not rushing, this one is about spacing. I function best when I can prepare for, then recover from, a time when I’ll be expending energy, whether it be travel or working out or a session with a client. It’s a lot harder for me to stay present, and to see well, if part of my mind is still on the previous task, or anticipating the next one. The Wise Ones said it: let the past go, since it’s over, and the future isn’t here yet. All we have is the present, so make the most of it!
– Use the tools I know to keep me resilient so I am less vulnerable to overwhelm. The occasional crisis will still happen, yet it’s not good for me to treat everyday problems like disasters. I need to get enough sleep, enough down time, and keep up my self-care practices like EFT (tapping), regular exercise, and daily meditation so I can cope with Life in a calm manner.
When I was a child I had fewer emotional resources than I do now, and was often flooded with incoming stimuli I couldn’t handle. I was the oldest of 3 daughters, and my mother was usually occupied with the younger ones who needed her more, with me expected to face whatever came my way pretty much on my own. I did my best, though most of the time I was in a high state of fear. My vision was tense and strained, in that trying-hard-to-see pattern, since I always thought I was missing something and not doing things right.
Today I know I can deal with just about anything that happens, and it’s not useful to be locked into a particular plan or expectation of how something will go. And I can get help if I need it. If I can’t see my airport gate on the faraway monitor, I can ask someone, or look on my phone on the airline website, or find a gate agent to ask.
My vision seems a bit clearer since I got home a few days ago, I’m handling interruptions more graciously without getting upset, and my shoulders are back and down, coming out of that frightened posture. My whole body feels more relaxed. My goal is to maintain this New Normal, as I look forward to more visual improvements too. I am so grateful to be right where I am, with my current challenges and gifts.