Articles Tagged with: positive psychology
The Feel Bad Bandit vs. Dr. Stacy

My 8 year old son, who I have always considered my happy “Buddha baby”, stunned and surprised me with this story that he shared with me one night as we  were walking home from dinner.

In  “The Feel Bad Bandit vs. Dr. Stacy”,  Dr. Stacy uses her super powers, developed through the practice of meditation, to swiftly dodge the jabs directed at her by the Feel Bad Bandit.  Once her opponent started to get tired with his several missed attempts to defeat her, she counters with “You know..you really can be a great person”. The Feel Bad Bandit is stopped in his tracks and replies ” Oh! I haven’t heard anyone say something like that to me in so long”. Overcome by the good vibes, his entire body surrenders and he falls slowly to the floor.

How did this child come up with this? But there is more…That night as I lay beside him as he was falling asleep, he offered up some other gems…. Dr. Stacy’s Sidekicks:   Able Todoit, Grace Grateful and Joy Jolly.

I. Was. Floored.

Not only by the genius of his creativity, but because Dr. Stacy’s sidekicks perfectly represent the three resiliency practices I integrated into each day of The Growing Forward Journal I authored: competence, gratitude, and joy.

How he thought to include them in the story is unbelievable to me. I am going to chalk it up to a combination of our otherworldly psychic connection and his pure Buddha spirit which has touched mine from the moment I knew of his existence in the womb.

Connecting with the magic our children bring into our lives is the biggest gift a parent can receive. This is why I am so excited about the upcoming Mindful World Parenting Summit.

After having absorbed all of the wisdom shared through the 56 interviews I conducted over the past 3 months,  I am far more attuned to the connection with my children and the shifts are translating into such joyful energy that is pervading our home.

Have you registered yet? What are you waiting for? Click here to register today and get instant access to preview talks so you can check out the quality of the more than 30 hours of content contributed by leading experts in the areas of parenting, mental health, brain science, nutrition, education, and mindfulness.  You will also gain access to free gifts, including The Growing Forward Journal.

Curious about what other epic battles might occur between The Feel Bad Bandit and Dr. Stacy? Stay tuned.  I have officially offered my son the opportunity to be a guest blogger. :))

With Deep Respect,

Always

Dr. Stacy

 


Growing Forward on the Path to Parenthood: A women’s group for building resilience while trying to conceive

The need for resilience in order to navigate the ups and downs of the infertility journey is an understatement.  This year, my work in the area of infertility had me engaging in thought provoking conversations with some very inspiring women.  Jennifer Vanier  is one of them.

I was e-introduced to Jennifer, after she put out the call for a psychologist to contribute to a retreat she was organizing for women who have experienced infertility and/or pregnancy loss.  It was Jennifer’s compelling story that made participating and supporting her event a no-brainer for me.  As you can read on her website, Jennifer and her partner know too well the grief and turmoil that come with pregnancy loss.  She also knows what it is like to be dealing with such life changing events with few to no professional resources to assist her and her partner in their small community outside of Peterborough.  Rather than accepting the status quo, Jennifer decided to do something about it, and has been working to bring infertility services to her community.  The retreat was just one of the things that Jennifer started in order to do just that.

Nikki Bergen is another woman who some of you might know as a result of her work in the Toronto wellness and fitness community as well as her decision to share her story regarding the challenges she and her partner face as they too turn to infertility treatments to try to conceive.  Nikki was kind enough to grant me an interview soon after she “came out” on social media, and I am telling you, she drops some serious wisdom in both parts, particularly in Part 2.

When we did the shoot, I wanted to make sure that Nikki was clear that the only way we would do this is if the process was good for her.  Well, I am happy to say, that in the months that have followed since this interview, Nikki has watched it in order to help herself benefit from the wisdom that came through in her own voice.  Click here to see what I am talking about.

Both of these women exemplify what it means to Grow Forward in the face of life challenges.  There was nothing they did to deserve the challenge that life gave them.  And this challenge did not happen in order to teach them the lessons they have learned and continue to learn.  Life dealt them what it dealt, and at some point they made a decision to engage with the process, and to make use of the experience to serve themselves AND others.  As a result, they have evolved into an even better version of themselves.

These women,  the others I had the pleasure to meet at the retreat, the clients I have seen one on one, and others I have met personally have inspired me to do more.  And so, starting this fall I have put together a very special group, to support women on this journey so they too can benefit from the growth that this life challenge has for them.  And I am bringing a kick ass lineup of some serious women’s health warriors with me who are just as passionate as I am.

The group is called Growing Forward on the Path to Parenthood. Click here to learn more. If this is not your particular struggle, I encourage you to share the information about this group with anyone you believe will benefit.

This group for women challenged to conceive is just the beginning.  For those of you who have learned about the group and have told me that you wish you could participate in a similar group to help you deal with the challenges of rebuilding your life after divorce, or are struggling to find the balance as a busy career woman, or are dealing with the challenges of another serious illness like cancer, or the loss of a loved one, I want you to know that I am thinking about you too.

My vision is to make Growing Forward a community..dare I say a movement.  My vision is to create a place, on line and in person, where people who are similarly focused on Growing Forward through whatever life might bring, can come together to learn and share tools that work.  A place with good information as well as inspiration, so that you, we, can support each other to Grow Forward through anything.

If this sounds like something that you believe would be of value to yourself or others you know, please reach out and tell me the issues you would like to see as a focus of this offering.

I am here to listen and ready to serve.

Dr. Stacy


YEARNING

The spot, my spot, my refuge in the city.
The place I have gone on the same day, at the same time for the past year
Is now fenced off due to “Hazardous Conditions”.

The waters have risen so high that it has almost become completely submerged
The landing becoming visible only briefly as the waves recede.

On other days it was an island with rocks spaced in a way that tempted me to try to
take a leap to try to traverse the gap.
I laugh at how my mind tries to find ways to go back
In spite of the natural and man made barriers that prevent my return.

I need to find a new place.

So I start my search.
I choose a day other than the one when I typically do this run to begin my exploration. When doing an exercise to be present, I don’t want to feel like I am floundering to find my place.

The first option seemed like a good idea; another look out point among the trees. Until four legged friends and the balls they were chasing proved to be too incongruous to the sanctuary I was seeking.

The next week I went a little further to the boat house. A look out point away from the boardwalk that juts out into the lake. It was rocky but there were some flat rocks should I choose to sit. There were even kindred spirits doing yoga on the beach close by and amazing pebbles and polished glass on my mindful walk back to the path that I collected in my back pocket.

It was a great option and yet…

Today I didn’t go there. I had to check on my spot, my place, my refuge in the city. The waters seemed to be receding elsewhere. Maybe it will be OK.

I stopped there today. The barricades were still there. But I know I could have made it onto the landing with just a little skip from the closest rock. I laugh again at how attached I have become.

Today I don’t run to the other good option just a few minutes away. Instead, I find a way to sit cross legged on the large log that found its way to the beach right beside the now hazardous site.

I focus on being present there and its good.

As I run back to where I started, I laugh again at how attached I have become to the spot, my spot, my refuge in the city.

I know that I need to let go of my attachment to allow myself the ability to fully enjoy other options that are magnificent in their own way. But to be honest, part of me doesn’t want to. And so I yearn. And I am comfortable with that. Because that place meant something to me. It was special. And I am not ready to let it go.

This was not my home. I was not born there. I did not have family there. I didn’t find my purpose there. I did not create a lifetime of memories there.

It was just the spot, my spot, my refuge in the city.

As I get ready to go on with my day, my heart has grown a bit bigger, my empathy more profound for all those in this world, who have been displaced by natural or man made barriers, making their spot, their refuge, their home a hazardous place.

I can only imagine. Can you?

Dr. Stacy


The MUSE Headband: The One Piece of Tech I Let My Son “Play” with As Much As He Wants

A few months ago, while immersed in creating curricula to assist families incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives, I realized that I was becoming the caricature of the acclaimed architect who leaves her own house unfinished.  The fact is, that while I was focused on guiding and encouraging others to find ways of integrating meditation as a mindful practice, I was not doing the same for the people nearest and dearest to me – my own family.

And so one day during dinner, I decided to announce my hope that we would all start a regular meditation practice.  The reason I gave my audience, made up of my husband, my 2 year old daughter and 6 year old son, was that it is a practice that essentially gives us super powers.

Meditation is like doing push ups for your brain.  It literally makes the part of your brain that is in charge of controlling your emotions, your behaviour and your creativity, bigger.  The stronger it becomes, the better you are at focusing your attention, which is important for performing your best at whatever you want to do.  It also feels good to do it and it is a tool that you can use to calm down when needed. Dealing with challenges without feeling overwhelmed, leads to better decisions, and ultimately allows us to lead happier lives.

I am telling you, I sold it well.  Everyone was on board. The sell was easy.  As for the implementation…?  Well, that did not go as smoothly.

To be clear, it’s not that my children are completely new to meditation.  I have incorporated some kind of guided meditation in their bedtime routines for years.  However, I felt it was time to up the ante a bit and make it a more conscious process, so that it could become a go-to strategy they could use in their waking lives.

My initial idea was for all of us to get in the habit of doing a breath meditation for 2 minutes when we got home as a way of transitioning from the activity of the day to time together at home.  Sounds good in theory, doesn’t it?  But the reality was that, for my son, 2 minutes of quiet focus was up against the lure of LEGO, toys, TV or whatever it was he had his heart set on doing.

Soon, the enthusiasm he had for the idea in the abstract, quickly became the barrier to fun in reality.  It was something that had to be done in order to get to the good stuff of being home; something that had to be done to appease Mom. This was definitely not the vibe I had intended nor was it conducive to the practice itself.

And so I retreated and recognized that the answer to getting my family to buy into adopting a meditation practice lay within the core of the resistance I faced.  I had to find a way to make it fun.

As if in direct response to my quest, the Universe answered in the form of an Instagram post by my colleagues at the Integrative Health Institute featuring the MUSE Headband. Bingo!  I had my answer.

The Muse Brain Sensing Headband essentially reads your brain waves as you engage in a meditation session and gives you feedback in the form of a change in the sounds you are hearing to let you know when you have drifted away from focusing on your breath to reviewing the to do list, replaying a scene from the day, or the million other random things that pop up when the monkey mind is in full swing.  When you are in a calm meditative state, you hear soft rippling waves on the beach. When you maintain that calm state for a while, birds start chirping.  When you drift, you hear the low rumbling of thunder, like a storm approaching from the distance.  This is the cue to just come back and refocus on the breath. Brilliant!

me-with-muse-headband

Even cooler, is that once your session is done, you get to see your own data:  the percentage of time your brain was actually in a calm vs. neutral or active state, and a graph of exactly when those different brain states happened over the course of the meditation.

muse-interface

 

And for those with a healthy sense of competition, there are extra points you can earn based on the amount of time spent in the calm zone, recognition for high levels of performance and the ability to advance to a higher level once you have demonstrated mastery.

Whoever developed this device clearly knew their stuff when it comes to both brain science and how to foster motivation.  Not surprisingly, a quick perusal of the team behind the product confirmed that none other than Dr. Norman Doidge, Toronto psychiatrist, and bestselling author of The Brain’s Way of Healing and The Brain That Changes Itself is on the advisory board among other top researchers and tech developers.  Enough said.

So now, with the help of the MUSE, we are playing “the meditation game”.  My son not only loves it, but like many children, he is a natural Zen Master.  And he is curious to see how he will do as he advances to the next level and meets new challenges.  Mission accomplished.

Just as going to exercise classes with me from the age of 3 months to 3 years helped to imprint exercise as a fun game he loves to play vs. something he “should do”, my hope is that playing the meditation game as a family and cheering each other on as we progress to higher levels using the MUSE will help ingrain this practice as part of a healthy lifestyle that will be maintained for years to come.

In the meantime, I am curious to know what you might have tried to integrate meditation into your family life?  What has worked?  What have been the challenges?  I’d love to hear about your experience, so please share your thoughts and experiences.  We can all benefit from learning from each other.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Stacy

Order the Muse Headband on the D.Y.L. Shop!

 

 


DYL Video Series: Part 2 of Coping with Infertility with Nikki Bergen

Here it is: The long awaited Part 2 of my interview with the amazing Nikki Bergen on her process of navigating the challenges of infertility.

In Part 1 Nikki gets real about what this journey has been like for her, what led to her choice to share it with the world, and the benefits she has experienced as a result.

In Part 2, she goes even deeper and shares insights that are relevant to all of us, no matter what challenge life might bring. Watch. Absorb. Learn. Share. Discuss. This is only the beginning of the conversation.

Thank you again to Nikki Bergen for being so generous and open with sharing your experience and wisdom with all of us. My hope is that participating in this conversation, has been as beneficial to you as it will undoubtedly be for others.

Have you been challenged with infertility and/or pregnancy loss?  Would you like to participate in a moderated group designed to help you move through the inevitable feelings of grief and reengage with living fully again?  Please email me.  I would love to hear from you to gauge interest as well as obtain your input as to how this group can be tailored to best suit your needs.

Best,

Dr. Stacy

 


New Year, New Location: The Chi Junky Yoga & Wellness Studio

How I came to work in this chic, Zen oasis in the heart of Leslieville is a story onto itself.  I was literally sitting in the Dark Horse Espresso Bar, thinking about the need for a new location when Rachelle Wintzen, owner of the Chi junky Yoga and Wellness Studio walked in and gave me the opportunity to work in the office of my dreams.

I recognized Rachelle from a wellness networking event I attended in the summer that was organized by my former high school.  Rachelle was one of 5 panelists who spoke about her journey to finding her passion for wellness and how she turned that passion into a business.  The honesty with which she shared her story of going from party girl to a wellness professional and owner of a boutique studio was both engaging and inspiring.  The fact that she created a studio where class sizes were limited to ensure that each participant received individual attention really stood out to me as something special.  That it also happened to be located just a few blocks from where I worked at Magenta Health prompted me to make a mental note to reach out to her to see what and how we might join forces.

Even though it was several months later, I instantly recognized her when she walked in wearing the chi junky logo and waited for an opportunity to introduce myself.  Thirty minutes later, after talking to her about my practice and my aspirations for it, she invited me to take a look at her studio to see if I would be interested in renting space there.  It was as easy as that.

Those of you more mystically inclined might say that I manifest this opportunity. I am a bit on the fence when it comes to that theory.  What I do believe is that having a clear vision of what you want,  and being willing to put your self out there by sharing your vision and acting on your gut instinct to go towards those people/places/things that you feel pulled towards vs. giving into the excuses that keep us in the same place is how dreams become reality.  And when the process that follows unfolds easily, and is such a good fit, well there is your confirmation that you are on the right path, and that maybe it was meant to be.

chi-junky-hallway

 

And when I say good fit, I am not just talking about the aesthetics of the space.  For the bulk of my career I have collaborated with other health professionals as part of various multidisciplinary teams to help clients achieve their goals.  This kind of team approach is, hands down, the most powerful way to provide any kind of treatment and is why I chose to situate myself within a family medicine practice.   As much as my access to the family doctors has been invaluable, there was more that I felt was possible that I had yet to see offered when it comes to the concept of helping people Design Their Lives.  What I was yearning for was the ability to collaborate with professionals with a range of expertise who were all about helping people take their lives to the next level.  Professionals focused, like I am on helping people move past surviving life’s challenges and to a place where they are truly thriving.  I knew instantly, that this was the place where I could make this happen.  And I did.

I have come to refer to them as The Design Your Life Dream Team.  They are focused, they are at the top of their game, and they are dedicated to bringing you a level of service typically out of reach for most people.  You deserve nothing less and I am so excited to be able to bring this to you.

I have assembled the team.  My question to you is, are you ready to get serious about Designing Your Life?

What are you waiting for?

Let’s get to work.

Dr. Stacy


Meet Kaytranada

I don’t know much about him, but from the moment I heard his music I have been hooked.  Actually, it’s more than hooked…I am obsessed.

My first introduction to this amazing Montreal based artist was courtesy of CBC radio during a discussion about his win of this year’s Polaris Music Prize.  Kaytranada is the first black artist and the first hip hop/electronic music artist to win the esteemed prize, which has served to launch several previously unknown artists into the spotlight.

As stated by Del Cowie, one of this year’s jurors who voted for Kaytranada’s debut album 99.9%, “It moves the head, the heart and the feet. It recalls the past, articulates the present and it suggests the future.”

I couldn’t agree more.  The only thing I would add is that within the mash up of 90’s house, hip hop, and pop, influences is a hint of his Haitian/African roots.  Where else but in Canada could this incredible mix come together?

Kaytranada is the most exciting and interesting musician/producer I have heard in ages, and is the reason for the perpetual beat in my head these days.   I hope his video for Lite Spots puts a groove in your step and a smile in your heart.

Enjoy.

Dr. Stacy


Milton’s Secret: Bringing the Message of Mindfulness to Movie Goers Far and Wide

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to see this project finally come to fruition.  Milton’s Secret, the movie is finally out in theaters and is a must see.

Based on the children’s book of the same name by Ekhart Tolle and Robert Friedman, Milton’s Secret the movie brings Tolle’s teachings to a wide audience with a story to which most children and families can relate.  Milton is a pre-teen with loving parents who is overwhelmed not only by the bully at school, but also the stresses to which he is exposed in the family as a result of hard economic times.  As each member of the family copes in their own way, we see that the disconnection between them adds to Milton’s state of anxiety.  Then grandpa comes to visit.  It is through grandpa, played with amazing finesse by Donald Sutherland, that we see Tolle’s teachings of mindful presence and compassion in action.  The result is a shift that appears to naturally occur in others as they learn from his example and awaken to living more consciously.

As you can tell by this brief description, this is not your typical Hollywood Movie.  In fact, the producers of the film knew that if they took this script to Hollywood it would have never been made.  The only reason this film is here today is because of the kick start it received by conscious people around the world.  Crowd funding helped bring this film to life.   I was one of those contributors and this story, which was so lovingly crafted and directed by Mr. Barnet Bain, has far more value than the money I contributed to the cause.

 

Here I am with producers, Ryan Lockwood (left) and Stephen Huszar (right)

With producers, Ryan Lockwood (left) and Stephen Huszar (right)

Listening intently as Barnet Bain , the director, shares his insights during a moderated discussion on bullying as part of the Creator Talks at VIFF. The cast members in attendance pictured here from left to right were William Ainscough (Milton), Hays Welford (Tim) , and Mia Kirshner (Jane, Milton’s mom)

Talking to CTV's Norma Reid about my involvement with the film

Talking to CTV’s Norma Reid about my involvement with the film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The movie is just the beginning.  The really exciting part is what’s coming next:  materials that will help people learn how to put Ekhart’s teachings into practice to benefit their ability to navigate life’s challenges, relate better with each other, and get more out of life.

Go to miltonssecret.com to find out how you can see the film and for updates about accompanying learning materials as they are released.  I encourage you to share the film with friends, family, classmates, schools, coworkers…and get talking.  And please send me your thoughts and comments about the movie.  They might just inspire some of the content of teachings that are to come 😉 .

Stay tuned…

Dr. Stacy


ABSURD BEAUTIFUL WORLD

 

The alarm goes off at 5:20 am
Some would say that is absurd
But legs strong, brain alert
I choose the most fluorescent shirt
Safety first
It’s still dark outside
And I realize that summer has already started its departure, in spite of its humid heat

Ankles creak at first, but loosen with the rhythm of each step
Thankful for their ability to carry me forward
I know it will get easier as I keep going

I am encouraged by the Briar Rabbit on the path
Long brown ears and white cotton tail
I stop to admire his beauty
Not wanting to scare him by lumbering by
As he is in the middle, back turned,
Far from the safe refuge of the bushes behind him and beside me

Feeling my gaze, he turns around and looks
I smile and wave and say “hello” in the sweetest voice I can muster
To let him know that I am a friend

We have a moment.
He makes the first move and hops towards the bushes.
He stops before entering and looks at me one more time before taking off out of view into the green.
I delight in the exchange, as I know he is watching and wishes me well on my journey.

It’s brighter now
Pastel pink all around
The air is think and heavy, but fails to oppress

What’s this unusual sight up ahead?
A baby grand piano, close to the water’s edge?
One man at the keys
Two others holding long sticks like trees
Likely recording the marvellously absurd scene

How lucky am I?
And as I run on by
I am reminded that you need to rise early to catch the shine.

Further inspired, I run along and thoughts of a client enter the fore
A young woman, so gifted but fearful of sharing her talents
I know she is talented in spite of never having seen her perform
I know this because she is a creative, her talent oozes out of her pores
Her talent is so strong that it has been a constant in her life
In spite of the turmoil, challenge and strife

Yet she is afraid
She comes by this honestly as life has exposed her to tremendous cruelty
But interestingly, as she gets stronger, and starts to share her own voice,
No longer satisfied with playing roles crafted by others
She is being pulled to express herself through her stories and songs,
But knows that expression without sharing is not where she belongs
She is a communicator, she needs to be heard
And to know that others understand her message

Yet she is afraid
She is afraid of being bullied
Of being diminished by sharing her voice
Of being told in so many ways that she does not have a right to exist
With the internet providing the vehicle that can be used too easily to dismiss
All that she has to give

And yet, what she cannot fully see
Is that she is still here
In spite of all she has been through, the ways others have tried to silence her
That light, her light, continues to burn

She is acting to protect that light, as she is afraid that exposure to the darkness will snuff it out
What she cannot see is that light always trumps darkness
And that light attracts light
What she is not seeing is that the other diminished souls include the bullies in our midst
And that the bully needs her light because he and she were bullied too.

If she can connect with the compassion contained within her light
She can rise above any hate that might try to slight
She can see those who spew it as lost in the darkness
And maybe, if she can become strong enough to see that the hate has nothing to do with her,
If she is strong enough to see past it, and stay the course, maybe, just maybe she is able to inspire the light to grow within the haters too,
because they need it most.

I need to help her get stronger, to fulfill her mission
Because her journey is about more than she or me
It’s about honouring her gifts that have the power to unite us
Through her courage to share her humanity

I arrive at my spot, an outpost jutting into the water
This morning’s meditation definitely calls for eyes open
Pastel skies continue as backdrop to barely rippling waves, the light cutting
through them in the most interesting geometric patterns.
I breathe it all in making mental notes for later
Because no camera can capture this quiet splendor

Time to rise and run back
An extra spring in my step I notice the echo of approaching feet
And realize it’s the sound of my own making reverberating off the trees

High fives and “Hellos” are shared between me and other runners
I marvel at the most unusual of tree huggers
Hanging by knees and one hand on a branch that looks too forgiving for this old man
I pray its flexibility is strong enough to carry his weight

As I get close I notice he is outfitted with protective black gloves
I wonder, is this the latest exercise craze? Tree climbing to become nimble and limber?
Or maybe a pursuit just for fun, as it is for my son
Who will climb anything he can
Because it’s a challenge he is driven to overcome

That sight of a grown man playfully climbing a tree
Seems to ignite the little child in me
Up in front of me once again is the man at the piano by the water’s edge
No men with sticks this time, this time apparently alone
And I think, about my creative client and all with great gifts
Who deserve an audience to receive them and honour their talents
So I run down to the lake for a morning serenade

For a split second I reconsider my imposition
But the curious child in me puts all thoughts of politeness aside
This opportunity is just too rare to let slip by

I arrive and meekly ask if I can listen
Without even a glance in my direction, he says “Why not?”
I silently sit in the sand, aware now that his performance is indeed being recorded
As his fingers hit the keys, I take in the heavenly sound
Made even more heavenly by the setting that surrounds
Pink pastel skies, quiet waves and seagulls chirping,
I take a deep breath and take it all in
I have walked into a live version of the countless recordings I’ve prescribed
To help guide those seeking a moment of peace.
This moment I chose to shamelessly take for myself,
Will forever be catalogued among other amazing experiences
That I can call upon when needed to get to my happy place

As the piece comes to an end, I thank him with a deep Namaste bow, and I take off for home
Completely inspired, I fly
I have none of the fatigue or heaviness that typically visits at this point in the run
I am filled with light
And I can’t wait to get home to write
As the magic feels so fleeting
I must get to my pen, I must get to my book,
So that I can share this great morning
With those who were not early to rise
Who too often overlook the shine
So that they too can be inspired to look for and find
The beauty in the absurdity of this world.

Dr. Stacy

PS: Click here to learn more about the mysterious piano man by the water and hear some of his musical offerings:

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/09/25/solar_piano_man_takes_to_the_beach_at_sunrise.html

PPS: Any interest in joining me on a run? Check out My EVENTS page for details about my weekly SOUL Powered Run or go straight to my Eventbrite page to learn more and reserve your spot:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/soul-powered-run-with-dr-stacy-tickets-28195447342

I look forward to running with you soon!


LIVING IN GRACE

I am terribly near sighted, and from the age of 12 I have lived with the awareness that I may one day lose my sight entirely.

Several years ago, I went for a consult to see if I qualified for laser eye surgery.  I dreamed of being able to wake up and see perfectly.  But, as luck would have it, my corneas were too thin.  Unbelievable! It is probably the only time that the word “thin” will ever be used to describe any part of my body, and it’s the wrong part!

I understand that the technology has progressed a fair bit since that initial consult and that I might now be able to get laser surgery in spite of thin corneas.  However, as much as I like the idea of seeing perfectly all the time, part of me appreciates being forced to not take my sight for granted.

Living with the knowledge that I may one day lose my sight literally changes the way I navigate the world.  When I see something that moves me, it’s as if time stands still and I need to catalogue it in the special file I have in my brain which holds all of my “OMG! Isn’t this world amazing???!!!” memories.

The sheer beauty of my daughter’s face as she looks at me from under a sun lit sheet with pure joy and love in her eyes is one of my all time favourites.  Technicolour lightning storms on the beach in Jamaica, or finally getting a chance to see the seductive green dance of the Northern lights in Saskatchewan are a few others.  And I could go on.

As I write this today, I realize that the gift of my condition is the understanding of impermanence.  Because I know that there may be a time that I will not be able to see, I tune in that much more.  I notice that much more.  I am that much more connected and alive.

If we accept the truth of this world, that nothing lasts, you can’t help but live in grace and to appreciate the moment, the experience right now.

So today, as I lay in bed without the benefit of my glasses, I look out my window and delight in the movements of the fuzzy forms I know are trees dancing in the wind.   And I am thankful.

 

Dr. Stacy