Monday, February 9, 2009

Lessons from Lenses

Over the past, ahem, 30 years, I have learned some critical lessons in the care of my contact lenses – yes, my tiny gas permeable pieces of plastic that help me see and that also enhance the blue of my eyes – every day. Did I know that I could learn such profound lessons from something so small, transparent, and voiceless? Hardly.

The first experience happened about the time I was dealing with my failed marriage: my soul was dying, I thought, and we had a daughter, age 4, to consider here – it wasn’t just about me. One day I remember being especially distraught on the houseboat where we lived on Lake Union in Seattle. Yes, for a time I was “sleepless in Seattle,” and, yes, we happened to live across the lake from the houseboat in the movie.

That day my husband was at his dental office, as usual, and Rachel was at her day care center – and with all of the turmoil inside me, I started to cry – a lot. After a while, my left contact lens was bothering me, so, in my upset, I went to the sink in the bathroom and hurriedly leaned over the sink and popped the lens out of my eye. Unfortunately, I had not put the plug in and – you guessed it – down the drain it went. I could have easily replaced the lens, but just in case it could be retrieved, I grabbed a flashlight and through my tear-drenched eyes, looked down the drain. To my astonishment, there was the contact, stuck convex against the side of the pipe. I wet the tip of a finger, gently and slowly reached down toward this little piece of plastic doing an incredible acrobatic trick, and brought it back up to safety. Whew! That was close!

Lesson 1: Even though everything seems to be going down the drain, always look for the seemingly impossible possibilities.

The second profound incident happened when I was waiting in my car after dropping a friend off at an appointment. For anyone who wears hard lenses, you know that the way we get one off its place on the iris is to basically “pop” it off by stretching the eyelid and closing the eye. Well, somehow, as I was waiting for the friend to return, I guess I looked to my right and back out the back right window, hitting the headrest in the process – and guess what? As I quickly turned my head to the right, the headrest was in the perfect place to pop the contact out of my right eye!! Oh no, I thought, no, I can’t have lost my contact! This time, I would not have liked the idea of paying for another one. Oh, no!!

Frantically, I looked everywhere before disturbing anything, in case it had just flipped out on top of something. Nada. So I started going through everything in my purse that was open on the seat beside me. I looked on the seat, on the floor, all the time saying, Oh, no, it’s gone.

Then I decided to change my thoughts, to change what I was so freaked out about, to change the possibility. I settled down a little, decided to start saying, “I’m now finding my contact.” I said it over and over, in my mind and out loud. And of course I called on Saint Anthony, the one who helps us locate lost objects.

After that ten minutes of frantically tearing things apart, I started saying the new momentary mantra, being conscious of the emotional energy I would need to put behind my new sentence to make it happen. Within just a minute or two, I had the thought, hmm, maybe it went down between the seats. I found my little flashlight in my makeup bag and threw some light down the crack right beside me. Bingo! There it was, as in the first incident, somehow stuck on its convex side about an inch down. Below it, just a dark slit into oblivion. And this time there wasn’t enough room for me to put my hand down to get it, nor could I do the body torqueing that would be required to a) put something below it to stop it from going into the dark hole and b) to actually retrieve it with some kind of tool; I would have to wait until my friend came back.

With his help, holding a plastic knife with some fabric wrapped around it below the lens (in case it fell as I was retrieving it), I gently inserted a piece of fabric that I had moistened, contacted the contact, and again had the thrill of pulling a little acrobatic piece of plastic back to safety. Unbelievable.

The turning point seemed to be my changing my thoughts that I had lost it to, instead, that I was finding it, with an enthusiasm over the top.

Lesson 2: Our thoughts create our reality; change your thoughts, change your life – and be sure to put e-motion (energy in motion) into the mix.

Now, if you think the previous two accounts are somewhat miraculous, wait ‘til you read this one. I was dog-sitting for friends while they blissed out on a cruise to Mexico. For me, it was a wonderful week away from my rented space, a retreat of sorts, a time to rejuvenate and meditate. Midweek, I designated two days for contemplation and quiet – no TV, no radio, just me looking inward and enjoying the place I was in.

One of those mornings I did the usual – walked the dogs, had my coffee, put on my makeup, including the – yes – installation of the contact lenses. (Incidentally, I am still wearing the same pieces of plastic I purchased 20 years ago – yes – 20 years ago. Explains why I’m so attached, yes?)

After completing the contact regimen (as you can imagine, I am now very careful to stop up the sink before I do the drill), I unstopped the drain, put my things away, turned off the light, and walked out into the living room. Oh, no, where’s my right lens?!? Panicked I ran back through the bedroom, hoping I wasn’t destroying the lens that might have simply fallen to the carpet, and charged into the bathroom. I turned on the light. The lens was nowhere to be seen.

Almost automatically, I reached down to the stopper, which I slowly unscrewed off its support. I gently lifted it, and there, balancing on one of the cross-struts, its concave side looking up at me, was the contact. I held my breath as I moistened my finger (without turning on the water, of course) and very slowly and methodically moved toward the lens. I made contact with the contact, simply moved my hand away from the drain, and felt more gratitude than I think I’ve ever felt. Truly a miracle. If this little piece of plastic had been half a hair’s breadth to the left or right….well, you get the picture.

After I replaced it into my most grateful right eye, I, in my meditative mode, asked Spirit if this was the intensity of gratitude that one must feel in order to magnetize love/money/opportunities/whatever; I have to say I saw a huge nod, a definite “YES!!”

Okay, I think I get it.

Lesson 3: Meditate a lot and take action that is inspired; follow your intuition. The result is the gratitude, and that can only bring us more joy.

So, with Lesson 1 of expecting seemingly impossible possibilities, Lesson 2 of minding – and changing – my thoughts, and Lesson 3 of taking inspired action, I can be grateful for the power this gives me to focus – pun intended, I might add – to focus on the very best for all and to complete the task.