Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lessons in Perspective from a Visit with the Eye Doc

I bet you didn’t think you could learn how to see things differently, or change your perspective, just by taking a trip to the eye doctor. Well, you can. Here’s my story, and below it, I’ll tell you how: 
“Z, P, no F, maybe a P, O, N, or an H.”
That’s what sputters out of my mouth when I go to the optometrist and they ask me to read aloud the smallest line I can see. The second I think a “P” might be an “F” and an “N” could be an “H” I know I’m in for a new prescription. 
“A, R or P, T, definitely, Z, and maybe E.”

I never sound so uncertain and convincing in one statement than I do when trying to read that very last line. No one likes fail a test, and these eye exams are crucially important. 
Then, they ask me to take my glasses off. Staring straight ahead, I just blink. I blink twice. All I see is this bright light of a box shape on the wall. 
“Don’t ask me to say what I see, because I don’t see anything,” I say, kind of defeated, whimpering almost, with disappointment that I can’t see what’s in front of me. 
Half an hour later, they’ve put eye drops in my eyes to dilate them so the doctor can see if I’m at risk for diabetes or macular degeneration. (Turns out, retinal detachment might be in my future.)
Less than an hour after that, I am home and trying to send a text message when suddenly I can’t see the words in front of me. I’m holding out the phone as far away from my eyes as I can, but it’s hardly working! I’m just guessing. The dilation is lopsided! My left eye is trying to get back to normal, but my right eye is all pupil. 
I suck it up, and wear my sunglasses to work, inside, all day, while tilting my head sideways, squinting, blinking, closing one eye and then another, battling a headache and nausea, when finally, nine hours later, I can see again.
It dawned on me, it’s just like faith. I spent the whole day unable to really see what was in front of me, working, communicating, writing, and living without a clear picture of the result of my efforts. 
If faith is believing in what we can’t see, then worrying is praying for what we don’t want to happen. 
How to Change Your Perspective Without Really Trying
STAND BACK: When we’re too close to something, we can’t see the whole picture. What we’re focusing on becomes blurry, because our mind and heart need other stimuli to understand something completely. This is especially true if there’s a decision to make or someone else’s concerns in our care. Remember, standing back doesn’t mean walking away, it just means seeing more.
LOOK CLOSER: If we’ve become removed from a situation, circumstance, or person, we may be missing something important and real. Often, removing ourselves can make what (or who) we’re considering seem removed. Looking a little more carefully at the situation, person, or circumstance might clear up the importance and meaning of the consideration.  
BLINK: Always, it’s important to blink. Take a breather. Treat yourself to a 30 minute walk when the circumstances, decisions, and people you’re thinking about won’t withdraw from you. Thirty-seconds is enough. Close your eyes, breathe in and out, and consider your perspective one more time. 
Clarity often comes in the blink of an eye. 


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