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The eyes (might) have it

Over five years ago, I kept a “secret” blog, very, very briefly. It was written from the standpoint of a stuffed toy: a sleeping, dreamy, already “antique” sheep that used to belong to me and which I then passed on to my daughter. The strategy of writing as a stuffie was inspired by Maria Benet – I found her idea so good, I stole it for my own purposes.

The “author” of the secret blog was my old stuffed lamb, which (briefly) chronicled the goings-on between TM (“the mother”) and TD (“the daughter”).

This particular post was about eyesight – its failings, and what they mean, according to alternative practitioners. Over the past five years my eyesight hasn’t improved in the least. I never did follow up on any of the new-agey suggestions offered by the sources cited below, and would (aside from doing absolutely nothing) probably prefer to cast my lot with medical advances of the more …um, spectacular kind (see Geoff Arnold‘s amazing post about having his eye’s lens replaced with a synthetic one) – aside from doing absolutely nothing, of course.

But then again this 2006 post, then written in secret, was about so much more than just looking. It was about feeling, too. Who knew stuffies could feel? 😉


Eyes, windows, souls, health (Aug.22, 2006):

TM told me that the other day, our local paper ran an interesting article about a psychotherapist in Vancouver who uses yoga in her therapy sessions. The article is called Yoga stretches stressed psyche, releases emotions, and it profiles Danielle McDermott. I don’t need yoga, of course, because after all the love I’ve gotten, I’m so squished and bendy I can touch my toes twice over! But in this article we’re told how Danielle helps humans to get in touch with their bodies, which, she says, hold emotion in. I had to laugh pretty hard when I read that she gets her clients to relax by going limp as a …ragdoll! The journalist wrote:

Think ragdoll. It’s difficult. We humans like to be in control. Yet, once we do let go, there is a feeling of surrender.

Baaaaaah, that’s a hoot — I never think ragdoll, I AM ragdoll! But humans like to be in control, eh? Oh well, to each his or her own!

TM thinks it would be a great idea if someone like this Danielle person were available here, because she is trained not just in yoga but as a psychotherapist, and she thinks that TD might enjoy talking to someone like Danielle. She certainly looks very nice and kind in the photo on her site.

TM has always had a bunch of whacky ideas — believe me, I know: I have been around her since she was practically an infant! (If you ask me, she’s still an infant in some respects, but maybe I shouldn’t say that, otherwise she’ll cut off my blog account!)

Turns out she spent great huge chunks of time surfing around on the web, looking for inspirational psychotherapists in Victoria. Nothing really came up, but she did find a reference to an Anne (or Anna) Hannah — yup, that’s the full name: Anna Hannah. Baaaah-nana. Sorry, couldn’t resist! It’s just my inner sheep coming through…
Anna Banana, er, Hannah, is a member of the Association of Vision Educators, and she practices here in Victoria. TM got all interested reading this since their work is based on “the Bates method.” He’s the guy who wrote “Better Eyesight Without Glasses,” which TM got hold of many decades ago and which convinced her to lay off her glasses (periodically, anyway) when she was a teenager.

We stuffies, with buttons or thread for eyes, don’t worry our empty heads about this sort of thing, but it turns out that some groovy people think that you humans get near- or far-sighted for the strangest reasons. TM is near-sighted, and so is TD. In fact, TM got all spooked when she read on the Association‘s library page about the various theories these folks hold for why people develop vision problems. Boy, if they’re even half right, I can see how being a human is a job-and-a-half! Scroll your emotion-warped eyeballs over these choice snippets:

When we suppress our feelings or any part of our self the energy of our emotions gets locked in our bodies. Our bodies stiffen and our eyes harden. Hard eyes indicate a deadness of expression. Hard eyes do not focus easily. From my experience as a natural vision improvement practitioner I have learned that unexpressed fear may manifest as myopia or nearsightedness. The myope is often afraid of making a mistake, he is a perfectionist, a thinker who is centrally focused, and shutting out the periphery. Unexpressed anger, on the other hand, can emerge as hyperopia or farsightedness. The hyperope may tend to look away from self or space out. In either case the person is restricting his vision to a comfort zone. Is it more comfortable to sweep our feelings under the carpet?

So a near-sighted person is a perfectionist, full of fear of failure? Hey, TM, does that sound right? (She says, “maybe.” She’s looking kinda peeved, if you ask me.) And then there’s this:

If you are nearsighted: You were probably told that it’s because you read too much or in not good enough light. These actually don’t in themselves make your eyes get worse; there’s nothing wrong with reading a lot. However, chances are, you are a hider and indulging a bit of an escapist tendency in those books. You blur the world around you because you feel so overwhelmed and pressured that you can no longer see the “big picture.” You tend to be afraid of the future, and can only deal with the here and now before you. (…)

If you are farsighted: You were probably told that it’s because the eyes change as you get older. Actually, it’s more so that your attitude changes as you age. Farsightedness has to do with a sense of a loss of time—that there are too many details, too many things you need to get done; thus—you are overwhelmed with what’s in front of you, and you blur it. You tend to be afraid of the present, because your attention is in the future and the past. As people age, this perspective tends to become more dominant.

Ouch! I can tell you that TM didn’t like reading that her voracious reading habits (as a child and still now, although she reads too much drivel online, if you ask me, instead of serious literature in books) also spoke to being a hider or escapist, in addition to being a perfectionist, the curse of the gifted child — and she nearly blew a gasket when she read that bit about far-sightedness, because for at least 2 or 3 years, she has had to toy with the notion of investing in a pair of bifocals since she can’t see things up close anymore when she is wearing the glasses that are supposed to “correct” for her near-sightedness!

But most of all, she had to think about the other “hider” in the family, the one who keeps mum and minimises computer screens lickety-split and doesn’t talk about her feelings …and has trouble seeing clearly past her nose!

“Yeah, yeah,” TM said to me, “so maybe a lot of this is just new age drivel.” But sometimes the drivel hits its target anyway…

So, inquiring sheep want to know: is there yoga for eyeballs…?



  1. Fascinating… those “stuffies” are very smart, I find. 🙂 Old Bear was certainly more appraised of the “big” and “small” picture than was the mother of the child for whom he kept that blog.

    The thing about the eyes hardening: when I used to go regularly to Iyengar yoga classes, savasana always included a reminded of letting the corners of the eye soften first, then letting the eyes sink gently. That’s the closest answer that I can give to that “inquiring sheep.”

    Comment by maria — September 26, 2011 #

  2. Thanks, Maria – I will have to try that next time I go into that pose – or before going to sleep, perhaps.

    Comment by Yule — September 28, 2011 #

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