I loved going to the eye doctor when I was a little girl. I really wanted to wear glasses. There seemed something interesting about a girl who wore glasses. Sometimes I would purposely read out the wrong letters during the chart test hoping that would be enough to fail the exam. The doctor’s office had a special room for the frames. They were beautifully displayed in cases tall and wide. Laying on glass shelves with their matching cases. The models wearing the glasses in the pictures on the wall looked cooly back to me through their transition lenses. Oh what I wouldn’t give to be a part of their world.
My most favorite part of the exam was the optical refractor. The doctor would pull the ultimate pair of glasses down in front of my face and the magic would begin. A flip and a click, then, can you see better with the left eye or the right eye? Flip, click. Better or worse? I loved it. Sometimes the letters ahead of me were fuzzy, and then in an instant, a little better, then better still.
Of course, it always ended the same way. The glass that had improved my vision for the better would always turn out to be my actual vision. Curses, foiled again. Then I would wait in the frame room while my mother squared up with the front desk, promising the frames I’d be back again for them next year.
I don’t know what got me thinking about the optical refractor the other day. Refractology (I’m not sure this is a word, but I’m going with it for these purposes) may be a very effective strategy for dealing with life. Let me play this out as an example. The holidays are coming. As I look out to that reality, I feel anxious.
- There isn’t enough money to buy the gifts I really want to buy for all the members of my family.
- I ALWAYS get some type of flu the week before, the week of, or the week after Christmas.
- I have gotten a 24-hour stomach virus every night of the Fallon’s Christmas party for the last 3 years.
- I’m not sure it’s fiscally responsible to close the business during the week between Christmas and the New Year even though the break is good for me
I could go own, but that’s gives a sense of the issues at hand. Now I will approach it through my optical refractor,
- There isn’t enough money to buy the gifts I really want to buy for all my family members.
- FLIP, CLICK: Maybe I shouldn’t assume that all my family members actually want more things. CAN I SEE BETTER, OR WORSE?
- FLIP, CLICK: I’m really enjoying knitting. I could knit something for sister-in-law and my brother which I know they would really like. CAN I SEE BETTER, OR WORSE?
- FLIP, CLICK: My father doesn’t care about things, but my mom really enjoys a thoughtful and creative gift. This will give me some wiggle room in the budget and gift ideas for them. CAN I SEE BETTER, OR WORSE?
Practicing refractology can be a meditative process. It can be a mindful process. It can pull me back to center and reconnect me to what is authentically true for me. Flip, click. I’m seeing more clearly by the moment.