But I felt called, so I went.
I found myself walking slower than normal, which means more mindfully – which to me is a good thing.
Despite having had months and even years here in Latin America to simply sit and be, and even though I have done a lot of that, I still tend to be in my head, racing along both mentally and physically, thus missing out on experiencing the moment directly and consciously.
So, walking slower and seeing more on this morning, was a wonder.
The path was clear, the foliage in its full greenness. I felt, as I have almost every time I’ve gone walking out on the mountain trails these past 13 years in Mexico, that I was on a new path, one I had never been on before, although that was far from the truth.
Now I have a life history with glasses and my vision. It is with tenderness and sadness that I sometimes touch the tiny pink glasses I wore when I was a tiny girl. I grieve her wayward eye and lack of three-dimensional vision – the balls she couldn’t catch in gym class, the flat world she perceived, the constant hard work of navigating through space, the patch she wore on one eye, prescribed to strengthen the weaker one.
I’ve gone on and off with glasses my whole life. There have been years when I wore them all the time, and then periods where I went without, naturally and happily.
Since discovering Visual Therapy when I was 17, though, I’ve worn glasses virtually all the time, denying my natural vision.
I had a lot of trauma when I was small and so being “here” in my body, present with others, felt too scary and unsafe most of the time. I developed a great need and comfort in time alone – when I could just about, almost, sometimes, feel okay and safe just being me with myself.
I am a HSP (highly sensitive person). I often experience the energy of others as penetrating and ungrounding. I’m only just learning to really distinguish what is not my energy and believe in my right and ability to set boundaries and either not take on energies that aren’t mine, or discharge them as part of self-care.
I wear special glasses that have prism lenses in them to help me see perspective and feel myself in relation to space and whatever’s around me, thanks to the field of Posturology. I rely on my glasses. They help me feel safer, in my body, and more grounded. I also think better with them. So whenever I have to think or want to feel in my body, present and physical, I am sure to wear my glasses.
Lately, though, I find I want to go without them, often. For the first time in my life I misplace my glasses often – less due to midlife than to me removing them at random moments and placing them wherever I happen to be at the time. In other words, they’re not always on my nightstand when I’m not wearing them, because night time and first thing in the morning have ceased to be the only place I remove my glasses or put them on.
As it hadn’t rained the previous night, the river was lower on this particular morning and I was able to cross by stepping from rock to rock.
Stepping on small rocks surrounded by water has always been scary for me, as every step is a guess regarding the placement of each stepping stone relative to the next. I’m literally guessing and hoping that my foot will land well on the rock, that it won’t be too sloped or angled for my foot to rest on it for a moment, before I dare to lift the other foot into the air, aiming it toward another rock. As I describe this I can feel how I hold my breath in these instances.
Then there is the dilemma of technique: Do I scope out the whole route from this side of the river to the other before starting on the journey? Or do I make a general starting plan and then take it step at a time? I’ve never been able to accomplish either approach completely, but today I was aware of each option and chose both.
And I made it just fine. I had scoped out a feasible route and once I’d begun, I was literally focused solely on the rock in front of me. Having landed, I’d glance up, spot the next one and take the step. Luckily the rocks were all solidly placed and I crossed successfully.
“I’ve crossed over to the other side,” I thought. The sense of accomplishment and metaphor not lost on me.
Suddenly, I wanted to remove my glasses. I folded and slipped them in my jacket pocket, and guess what?
I continued feeling grounded and safe and able to see and be part of the passing branches, leaves and ancient rock formations.
Even better, I experienced a sensation I hadn’t felt in decades: pleasure in my natural vision. I was enjoying and feeling relief even, in seeing the world just how I saw it with my own eyes.
My particular and special way of seeing. I felt a sense of home with my unique perceptions. I welcomed and embraced them consciously, for the first time.
You see, I had always felt shame about my crooked eyes. I felt fear of being seen as different and therefore judged and rejected. And I thought my way of seeing was wrong or less than.
Because, I see figures in the rocks. Faces in the leaves. As a girl I saw whole stories in my bedroom curtains, and they were my secret. I’d never even consider giving voice to and sharing them.
And now, I live in a village in Mexico where most everyone sees figures and faces in the mountains. This type of vision is so commonplace and accepted that the various peaks, faces and parts of the mountains have their own Nahuatl names that correspond with the animals or people represented, along with their stories.
I’ve learned that what I had considered a visual handicap can also be understood as shamanic vision and not only valid, but true. Not only true, but important – providing and sustaining myth, teachings and relationship with the living natural beings in our midst.
I loved my walk without my glasses and am grateful to have come to a place of feeling comfortable with and loving how I visually receive the world. I have gone from disparaging my handicap to accepting and transforming it.
Loving Your Handicaps
So who knows? Maybe a handicap you’ve been judging negatively is actually connected to your gifts. What would it be like to:
- Look at it from a distance and breathe deeply, seeing it for what it is
- Consider what it gives you, how it might be an ally
- Soften, warm and rest in it, even for 30 seconds and see what happens or doesn’t happen.
You might just have a special friend there in your handicap: a part of you hungering for your acceptance, waiting for you to take its hand and walk forward into your life with greater wholeness, peace, and empowerment.
And the world needs this.