The way I see it

Ever since I was little, I thought I had beautiful eyes but the issue is that I don’t actually remember ever being able to see through them with clarity. I recall a feverish desire to learn the letters which resulted in me being able to read by the age of four. The next two years until starting school in my memory seem inseparably intertwined with hundreds of fairy tales that I immersed my imagination into. By the time I started school, I already had a membership card for a library where I used to go at least weekly, and a log of books I had read. The obvious plan was to eventually read all the books in the extensive collection of my parents’ bookshelves and then the entire library.

Starting school was strange, and I am sure it added pressure to my already intensely sensitive personality. If I had to describe the mood or the feeling of it all, it would be somewhere between boredom and suppressed frustration with the nagging of the teacher in the background. I remember hating to be still or sit in a particular way, and the teacher mocking me in front of all students for sticking my leg out of the desk (girls shouldn’t sit like that!). It wasn’t much later that I started to see what was on the blackboard with a blur.

All sorts of appointments began with kids’ ophthalmologists and more staring at blurry letters. I remember vague fear and tension about not being able to see them well. There was also a sense of guilt and being somehow inadequate. I am certain that sometimes I lied about seeing or not seeing things and would squint when the doctor would turn around, this way unknowingly adding to the tension already present in my eyes. During the summer holidays I remember intensely staring at the blades of grass because my grandparents had told me that green colour was good for the eyes. Adults around me were puzzled and unsure about where this was going and my parents did what they thought was best – agree to doctors’ suggestion to prescribe me glasses. (Now I side with those natural vision proponents who say that putting glasses on children (bar very exceptional cases) should be against the law. With various relaxation techniques and games kids can learn very quickly to release the tension and reverse bad eye-straining habits which are unfortunately maintained and made worse with glasses.)

From then on my eyesight story can just be presented as a sped-up timeline with years ticking by and my glasses prescription getting stronger while various parallel events of physical and emotional stress beautifully correlate with the increase in prescription.

So what I have now is 27 years of eye-strain and bad habits, lots of rigid beliefs about eyesight, and a mild but ever-present hum of a frustration that ‘I can’t see’. But the thing is that bodies are beautifully designed to accommodate and compensate for any shortcomings as well as to protect us from real or perceived physical, emotional or psychological trauma. Therefore, there is a choice between continuing to ignore this or doing something self-loving about it.

Last week I chose the latter and started a course to become a natural vision educator. They say that we teach best what we need to learn ourselves, and I am really excited about the journey ahead. There are so many questions that I look forward to investigating and exploring in more detail over the months to come. What did/do I not want to see in my life? How does it benefit me to continue having blurry vision (or phrased differently – what would be the disadvantages of seeing with clarity)? If short-sightedness is often associated with fear of the future and feeling unsafe – where does this stem from and how is it still true in my world today? What are the prevailing beliefs that I have about vision and are they still true and valid? Let’s see what happens!

“I’ve found, however, that real change only comes when we let go of the struggle, when we stop trying, and that the greatest key to healing our vision is also the simplest one: expanding our awareness.”
Jacob Liberman, O.D., Ph.D.

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