A few years ago I took a week-long workshop with Peter Grunwald, the developer of the Eyebody Method of vision improvement. He made the point repeatedly that folks with a near-sighted pattern often don’t let their visual energy extend all the way out to something in the distance. So they fall short of the target they’re supposedly looking at (really, they’re looking in front of it), and it appears blurry. He emphasized the importance of letting one’s visual energy extend all the way to the target, even if it’s blurry at first. It’s not blurry “out there”, it’s only the image in our brain that’s blurred.
In exploring this for myself, I’ve connected this behavior of not looking all the way to the target to my childhood fearfulness. The world out there is scary! I thought this back then — only my books which I can hold close to me are truly safe. Recently I’ve worked with a few students who also had a similar pattern of being afraid as children, and getting minus glasses then for myopia, which like mine kept getting stronger. I’ve even thought that the stronger the glasses, and mine were -10 eventually, the more fear they might be holding in place.
The work I continue to do for myself to expand my visual reach is as much about relieving anxiety and helping myself feel safe, using practices like meditation and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or “tapping”), as it is about eye exercises like tromboning or the Long Swing. I’ve also focused on wanting to see — if a parent or teacher is screaming at me of course I’m not going to want to look at her face!
Even if the person is not angry, making full eye contact with another human is difficult for many of my students. They remember those old experiences of being criticized, feeling that to be seen (the eyes can feel like a 2-way window) is to be vulnerable. I encourage my students to know they have choices now of what and whom to look at and of how to use their eyes, which they may not have had as children. I can remember my mother disciplining me and screaming “Look at me!” which I certainly didn’t want to do right then. Still, I faced her with my little eyes wide open and tried not to see!
One of my regular mantras now is “I enjoy the images my eyes bring me, in every moment”. And I maximize the situations in my life where that is truly and completely the case as much as I can.
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