Today I went to my visual therapist with whom I’ve been working for several years. He is a functional opthamologist with a focus on Posturology. Visual therapy is usually used with children who have learning or behavior difficulties including Attention Deficit Disorder and Dyslexia. I began visual therapy over 35 years ago in Chicago with Dr. Harry Sirota (read a bit about him here - scroll down to page 27) with the intense desire to learn to use both eyes at once, to straighten them and to see 3-dimensionally. Physically, I was born cross-eyed and at the age of eightteen months had corrective surgery which cut an eye muscle, over-correcting it so that that eye goes out. I knew there was a deep emotional connection with my eyes though, and that the confusion I felt between my eyes, brain, body and emotions was due to much early trauma.
When I began working with my current Visual Therapist I had to deal with my ego’s preoccupation with vanity, as he put transluscent tape covering parts of my glasses to encourage my eyes to learn a new way to see. As a dedicated Shambala Buddhist meditator, I was familiar with the tricks and stories of the mind, so accepted the challenge and survived people’s comments.
Today, my doctor spent three hours with me testing my posture, foot rotation and how I felt when I had different colored lenses in front of my eyes. He showed me photos of a young girl whose posture and handwriting changed in an instant with the foot, mouth and eye “remedies” (the three main nerve centers as understood in Posturology) he provided. I went along with the thorough and repetitive experiments he did with me today until we arrived at a place where when I walked I felt emotionally well and relatively balanced on my feet. At the end the reality began to settle: I was going to have glasses with one lens light blue and the other lens a medium blue. A new level of unsticking myself from my ego-mind’s lament. Still, I find myself imagining all the comments I’ll receive from the many people I know including my clients at the organic market. It’s not my preference, to be sure. My doctor joked “You can put a sign on your forehead that says ‘I do visual therapy.’ “
I am considering putting that across my sombrero.
But here’s the self-care piece: I love myself. With light and dark blue lenses, I see myself as appearing handicapped. I’ve always seen myself that way, but cursed myself for it, hating to be different and viewed as abnormal – though I felt that was the truth. Today when I view me in my mind’s eye with my different shades of lenses I do see a girl with a handicap, but instead of rejecting or denying what I see, I feel love and tenderness toward her.
On the “combi,” the converted VW bus that is the public transportation between the nearby town and the village where I live, there is a woman who I used to often see with her 10 year old daughter. They looked alike, except the girl had one ear that had never separated from the head; it lay flat and merged. I imagine she is at least partially deaf, but I’m not sure. On the combi they would sit very close, the little girl in her school uniform would lay her head on her mother’s lap and I would watch as her finger traced her daughter’s ear with love and adoration. This handicapped girl was so loved, her handicap was acknowledged, touched, cherished. Watching this demonstration of profound acceptance I reflect on the positive impact this must have on the daughter’s sense of self. My parents never talked about my eyes. It was as if the problem didn’t exist. I grew up feeling alone and horribly marred as a person and have lived with self-disdain. But no more. Now I cuddle and hold my little girl with her different colored lenses and love her. Not intellectually or falsely, but really.
So begins my public journey of self-care. I believe in the beauty of truth, always, and it is my experiences, reflections and learnings around self-care that I promise to share with you, with the highest hope that they resonate in some way and that you may benefit from them.