Originally appeared in
Earth Star Magazine August/September 2007
By Rosemary Gaddum Gordon, D.B.O., M.A.
If we have the tendency to hold stress in the visual system, it will often appear there even when the stressor is non-visual. By deeply listening while palming, that stress can be released.
A student I hadn’t seen in a while returned recently. The previous month a family member had had major surgery and she was the chief caregiver. When we last met she was no longer wearing glasses and happy with the way she saw. But now, though the use of her eyes had not changed, she noticed her vision had deteriorated. Not only had her distance vision reduced, but her near vision too. This surprised her, because in the past it was her far vision that usually caused her concern.
We explored how stressful the whole process had been for her. There was the emotional roller-coaster that had traveled through love and fear, anxiety and relief, laughter and tears many times each day both in the hospital and when she brought the patient home. Plus, at home there was all the physical work of caring, cooking, cleaning and gofering. Even though she was happy to do the job, she began to realize how much work it had been.
As my student allowed herself to tune in to her body and relax, she felt how tired she actually was. She palmed her eyes. (She sat in a supportive chair with enough pillows on her lap so she could rest her arms as she covered her closed eyes with the palms of her hands. As she relaxed into this support she centered at her Core and imagined she was surrounded by soothing, black spaciousness.) As she palmed, she felt an even deeper fatigue. She allowed herself to imagine resting in her bed at home, remembering feeling really comfortable and cozy. While she rested, different feelings arose and passed through her, sometimes with a deep breath, sometimes with a little shudder or a few tears.
It is natural during a stressful period to be less aware of what is happening in the body – the shortening of breath, tightening of shoulders, reduction of blinking, etc. We are in “survival mode”. It is later, when we can stop, that we realize what has happened.
After about ten minutes, she felt refreshed and complete. When she opened her eyes the room looked brighter and clearer. We did more resting interspersed with more stimulating techniques until her eyes felt energized. My student’s vision was already much better when she left my office. She called a couple of weeks later to tell me she was seeing well again. It is not just eye-related strain that causes weakened vision; it may be some stress that seems completely unrelated.
Palming, sensing into the body, as the eyes relax in the black quiet, is a wonderful way to come home and focus at a deeper level. (In fact, some people use it as a form of meditation.) It allows space for unprocessed emotions to arise and pass through, so that the eyes can once more move freely and see clearly.