At any moment, what we see is most influenced by who we decided to be.
– Margaret Wheatley
As the latest unwanted marketing flyer left my hand and arced into the recycle bin during an early-morning cleaning surge, I caught the tagline:
Suffer from eyestrain?
This stopped me cold. Not because the question seemed unusual. Not because I don’t, from time to time. But because the very next line was:
“Get relief with [brand deleted]”
My reflex response: for heavens’ sake, if you experience eyestrain, take a break! This remedy even has a name you can pronounce: common sense; or perhaps self-care. Reaching for the pamphlet so I could be sure to get the name correct, I chanced to open to the second panel:
EYESTRAIN, THE MOST COMMON SYMPTOM
of Computer Vision Syndrome.
Followed by this helpful explanation: “The human eye is not suited for viewing a computer screen for long hours.” How much time, money and human brainpower did it take to create a ‘remedy’ for such a common problem – for which the basic solution is free, available to all, and a matter of awareness, of simple listening to the body???
It came to me that this is but one example of a prevailing view – that the human body needs to be ‘fixed’ when something we do to it causes pain or damage. What ever happened to taking responsibility for how we treat ourselves? I started to ponder the many ways in which we have abdicated our personal responsibility to our bodies. . . But I neither need nor want some mega-industry capitalizing on my loss of touch with reality. Nor creating my loss of reality by trying to convince me that I’m broken when in fact, I just need to readjust my personal lens.
Of course, we all have times when we feel out of sorts or logey and want to feel better. No one can feel ‘up’ and energetic endlessly; all bodies have their cycles. It’s more than OK to pay attention, get to know your own body, learn how to care for it when it speaks of its needs.
Ignoring – or at least distancing ourselves from – our bodies seems part of how we in Western society are socialized. As a young professional, I went into health education believing that preventive maintenance was a far more effective path to health than trying to repair what a life of bad habits might create. The notion of the complete person was part and parcel of this training.
So when I read an article about someone dedicated to bringing Eastern practices into Western medicine, I feel as if finally the tide might be turning. [That, after shaking my head: all these centuries to reinvent what ancient cultures have known all along!!!] We might be able, after all, to begin to see with new eyes; to decide to be more conscious, starting with our own bodies and how we listen to and treat them. We don’t need high-tech solutions for that. We don’t even need high-tech solutions for world peace. We just need to slow down and truly listen for our commonalities as humans in a shrinking world. We all have the same basic needs; we all face shrinking resources. Isn’t there a way to get corporate and political clout on the side of this type of careful conscious change? I hope so. My belief in people’s ability to learn from their lives and to adjust their vision is what sustains and nurtures me. May it sustain and nurture us all into a more balanced tomorrow.