Friday, July 3, 2009
I Can See Clearly Now!
Martina, above, proudly showing off her new glasses!
So my very adorable three and a half year old daughter Martina got her first pair of glasses yesterday. They are purple with green and sparkles on the side and very cute! When she had her pre-junior kindergarten screening it showed astigmatism and off we went to the eye doctor to get that checked and she confirmed the diagnosis. Another appointment gave us a prescription and a very excited little girl got fitted for her first pair yesterday and I'm not sure what she was more excited about, the glasses or the little pink purse she gets to store them in.
When she first put on the glasses, her already big eyes grew enormous with the sudden ability to see everything more clearly. She was asked to walk around a bit and I observed that she was walking with a slow deliberate march, staring at the floor. I asked the optician why she was doing that and she said it was either that the floor appeared closer because of the magnification in them or it was because suddenly there was more detail, maybe she could see the flecks of gold in the grey carpet.
So I asked her what she saw and she said "the floor is BIGGER!" and upon further questioning, in her three year old way she said she could see a bit better but it "hurt" a bit. The optician said it would take a while for her to adjust but that she had to wear them all the time.
Throughout the day I observed that she spent a lot of time peeking over the top of them, then back through the lenses, back and forth, comparing the before and after. By the end of the day there were longer and longer periods of her looking and being aware of them and she spent most of the evening with them on, forgetting that she now saw things more clearly and differently, she had adjusted to this new way of seeing the world and just carried on. How resilient and flexible children are!
Now isn't that just a perfect analogy for making the transition in life from one that is an ego based, desire filled existence to one that is satisfied with life and filled with joy?
We walk along, believing the messages we've been taught by our parents, churches, society, the media. We spend time in want, wanting a car, a house, a family, a partner, a diploma, money, money, money, for isn't money the secret to all of the other things we want? We feel that if we can have more of these things that we will finally be happy. We struggle, we get frustrated, we don't have that, we have this instead but our neighbours have that and we want it too! It's not fair, they seem to be able to buy what they want and do what they want, why can't we?
This is how many of us live our lives. Then, a change occurs. For some it's when they lose what they have. For others, they get sick and tired of working so hard for a happiness that seems so far away, so out of reach. Some burn out on the rat race, the constant seeking and never quite finding, the living for a moment that hasn't and may not ever come to them. Some experience great loss and the pain forces a shift in attitude. And the thing is, while we are living in this place, with our blurred vision and our skewed attitudes we don't know that we aren't seeing things clearly, we don't know we are impaired in our thinking, it simply is what it is. A time to want and need and desire some "thing" to make us happy.
But then suddenly things become clearer. We are unsure if what we are seeing is real. We didn't know things could be this clear. We're almost afraid of it and like a three year old with brand new glasses we take tentative steps towards a new way, a new life. We play with it a bit first. We try it on. How do we look in these new glasses that make our life look so different. What will people think of us if we live this way? We take them off sometimes when we are in the company of people who know us from the old way. Sometimes, at the beginning, things seem a little "too much" and our head may hurt a little, as change often does, but the pain we have to go through to adjust to a better way of life is well worth it, and most of the time it's our own ego fighting for survival.
As time goes on we find we can't do without them. We put on our new lenses, the ones that make life clearer, and wear them in public more and more. We look over the top a lot, comparing the old way to the new, but always we return to the new because to see more clearly, that life is about living it now, in the moment, that it's about truth and relationships and nature and love, particularly with oneself, this is the way we see life now and it's much more clearer and crisper than the way we used to see.
So we leave them on more and more. We don't desire, we allow. We don't struggle against life, we live in the flow of it. We take things more slowly, we look all around us at everything in our lives and we rid ourselves of the excesses and only keep the things that are truly necessary. We don't worry and we don't feel guilty anymore because we see that that isn't productive and conducive to our ultimate happiness.
Occasionally we lose our glasses or break them and occasionally we try to see how we'd make it through without them, but somehow, once you've seen things clearer, it becomes necessary to go forward, and invariably we put them back on, maybe with a little tweak to the prescription because we've learned something new while they were in the shop. Once we see well, it's hard to live with a blurred view of life ever again.
The new way of seeing, the clear and crisp view of life, that shuns the ego and adopts a positive, happy, free attitude is always there.
Those gold flecks in the carpet were always there, my little daughter just couldn't see them without assistance. The truth is always there for us in life, like those little gold flecks, and when we look at things differently, when we look at them through the spectacles of optimism and joy, and take tentative steps forward, we see that not only is the floor bigger and closer to us, it's a softer place to land should we fall.
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