How I See Things

How I See Things
Cartoon-like drawing in shades of dark to medium purple. Eyes with beautiful eyelashes, looking through a pair of glasses.

Monday, December 30, 2019

What is tunneling?

I had a guest vision therapist today at Dr. Magic's office. He taught me many things today. I will share them one blog post at a time. He told me that our bodies can only heal when they are in a safe space, a safe environment. If we are full of tension or are being subjected to unsafe conditions, we cannot heal. 

When I go to vision therapy, I love how supportive these folks are. They tell me to breathe. They constantly pay attention to my breathing. And my stress level. They tell me when to palm (to slow down my (trachea?)) to calm my breathing and help my body know it's in a safe place. Today, my vision therapist had me working with blocks. 

[The photo has disappeared. I will need to photograph it again at some point & replace the photo that was here in the original blog post.]

It was my task to line these up in a certain way, on this cork board. He was checking out my cross-body coordination, manual dexterity and some other things. When he had me stacking on the white blocks, he told me to "go faster." (I was doing a specific task, arranging the blocks.) 

 My breathing got faster and I felt pressured to perform well. He told me that my vision narrowed when I was searching for the correct "next block." This, he said, was tunneling. I was feeling frantic in my body and my vision narrowed as if I was looking through a cardboard tube. 

For the next half of the test, he had me doing the same thing. This time he told me I didn't have to rush at all. He told me to take my time. After I did one or two, he told me to try to take in the whole board instead of just scanning 1 block at a time. I gave myself permission to put the blocks on and straighten them as I did the exercise. 

After it was over, he asked me how it felt. "What was different?" He asked. I had felt more calm. He had kept pointing out for me to breathe (I love when they do that), and had helped me stay calm and focussed as I did the exercise. 

He then pointed out that my arms had been in constant motion pretty much. Whereas before, when I was tunneling and stressed, I kept stopping and starting. When I was calm and breathing and just trying to do a good job, but take my time at it, I was actually much more efficient. My body kept moving. 

The way he described it felt like a Thai Chi exercise - fluid movement from the center of our body. I don't know if that is how Thai Chi is spelled. If someone lets me know, I will fix it. I don't even know if that is the definition of it. But, it's how I understood what he was saying when he was talking about my constant, calm motion, as opposed to my frantic "start and stop" motion. 

As I remember to stay calm and teach my body that it's safe, I will be able to tunnel less, and be able to teach my brain how to sort things better. I will gain larger pictures instead of narrow pictures. And so many things should become a lot more clear and easier to understand. 

Thank you for following along on this journey with me. If you would like to order these blocks on Amazon dot com, this is what they look like. I will post a link when I find them on Amazon. I feel like these blocks would be a wonderful tool for a wide variety of people. They are versatile and can be used to do many kinds of tasks. I bet they would be great in a preschool or Kindergarten situation too.


Monday, December 23, 2019

Dasher and Dancer and Prancer...

So, yesterday I was thinking about a moment I had with my current therapist, early on. I was telling her about a bully incident I had at work. My coworker who pretended she was my all-knowing boss used to bully me like crazy. And it drove me crazy. Everyone else there at the job liked me or loved me or was genuinely friendly with me at least.

And this co-worker was so cruel, I had to leave the job. I couldn't handle it. I could never understand what I did to get on her bad side. I did my job. I showed up on time. I took care of things when issues came up. My managers all liked me. But this co-worker was constantly criticizing every little thing I did.

My therapist told me, "Well, Jodi, you're different."

Um, ok? (For purposes of this blog, which I hadn't started when she told me this, I see things differently. I just do. As I am typing this, I literally see the words double and also a shadow and a highlight of the words, surrounding the words. I'm probably just not focusing on the words like I am being taught to in vision therapy; but that's for another blog post in the future.)

She told me that in the wild, if an animal is "different," like a hen in a hen house, the other hens will come around and pick on the hen that is different. She told me some people absolutely cannot tolerate people who are different, so they pick on them incessantly. My therapist basically told me that this person (and others before her) just pick pick pick pick, because they see something different and it bothers them. They don't know how to step back and be okay with something out of the typical.

I was thinking about this in relation to something else yesterday (I can't remember what now), and then all of a sudden, that song from the Claymation version of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer came in to my head - "we're a couple of mis-fits, not a couple of nit wits. What's the matter with mis-fits? Why don't we fit in?"

It's sung by Rudolf and an elf who wants to be a dentist instead of a toy maker. Come to think of it, the modern Christmas movie called "Elf" has a misfit too - Will Farrell doesn't fit in as an Elf (he is too tall and makes toys too slowly), and he doesn't fit in as a human (that is, until he finds his niche. by telling his story to children).

I think there are a lot of children's stories about misfits. Like the Ugly Duckling story; the baby "not a duck" turned out to be a swan.

As I sang that song and heard the lyrics over and over in my head "we're a couple of misfits, not a couple of nitwits...." I suddenly realized that I am a misfit. I have always been a misfit. It's part of who I am. I'm okay with that, until I get bullied for it. I see things differently. Vincent Van Gogh saw things differently. I need to gather my thoughts and words to explain why I look at all of Vincent Van Gogh's work and think: "of COURSE he painted it that way! That's what it looks like!" Mind you, I don't see the Pablo Picasso did. Not the cubism. But I definitely see the Impressionist way that Van Gogh saw.

I got to thinking about how members of my family are also misfits or have been misfits in their lifetime. I think there are so many of us! And then, I realized that the entire story of Rudolf. it's a story of a misfit. I mean, duh. It's obvious now that I have realized it. But I didn't realize it until I was singing that song over and over in my head yesterday, pondering the word "misfit."

The cool thing about a misfit is that IF their specific talent can be found, they can actually bring about a LOT of good, that people couldn't have expected. Like Vincent Van Gogh. Rudolf's nose "shone so bright" that he was able to lead Santa's sleigh.

Pondering all of this, and I was suddenly grateful for the story of Rudolf. I wonder how many kids and adults and humans it has helped over the years, to be ok with being a misfit. I know it brought me a kind of comfort and joy yesterday, to realize that there are famous, well-known stories about misfits who figure out how they can fit in & do miraculous things.

If you haven't seen the video of the two singing "we're a couple of misfits," here is the link to watch it on YouTube:

I hope everyone has had a nice holiday season, and I wish you all a wonderful New Year in 2020.

Follow me:


Jodi Arts on Facebook:

Monday, December 16, 2019


[A photo of me on my back deck. I have short blonde hair and dark blue glasses on. I am wearing my sunflower dress. My hair has remnants of lavender dye I put in it. You can see my Virginia Pine Tree in the background.]

At vision therapy, my vision therapist told me that an important part of our journey is forgiveness.

With my own journey, I have had many different viewpoints on forgiveness. I have blogged them and written about it in journals and my books.

I bristled because of where I am on my current journey in my personal life. I am not ready to forgive someone significant in my life right now.

I listened to what my vision therapist had to say, though, and I came away with a new definition of forgiveness that I want to share.

He said that forgiveness means to let go of something that was taking up significant space inside us. And then, we will have room for the next thing to come in there to take up the space.

He said it much more eloquently. But that was the general idea.

Essentially - let go of the thing that is bothering you, so that there is room for something good to come in and fill that space.

Isn't that a beautiful definition of forgiveness? I love this idea. It's a definition of forgiveness that I can easily embrace.


Monday, December 9, 2019

Another Concussion


I am a dog walker now. The company I work for has a nice app where you tap "arrive," it tracks your walk via GPS, you can take pix of the dogs you walk and upload them, and then you tap "finish."

I have meant to do a blog post of the concussions I have had over the years. There have been many. I can't remember if I wrote that yet or not. But last week I got another one. It is because of the multiple concussions I have had, that I am now in vision therapy.

Last week, I had just finished walking a dog. I tapped "finish," and I was glancing at a photo of the dog I had just taken, to see if it was cute enough. And I walked straight into this staircase.

The wooden staircase that I walked into last week, head first.

I was stunned for a moment. I was angry at myself. And then I realized I might fall over, so I went and leaned on the wall to the right and just stood there, crying.

I eventually drove myself to a local doc-in-the-box. They asked me a bunch of questions. I don't remember them all, but one was, "do you have double vision?" I said, "I always have double vision." She said, "is it worse?"

I looked at her, examined her face and realized: "yes, it's worse."

She sent me to the Emergency Room. I drove to a place that said, "Emergency Room" on the outside but they didn't have a CT-scan machine, so I had to drive to a 3rd location - a different Emergency Room that had a CT-scan machine.

Of all the concussions I have had, this was the smallest one by far. Having said that, it's a week later as I type this, and my head still hurts.

At the third location they gave me a CT-scan. They determined that my brain looked ok and it wasn't bleeding. So that's very good.

Then they told me:

"Don't drive until all the symptoms are gone."

Yeah. Like I have a choice about that. I will just have my chauffeur drive me places until I feel better. ... That's a joke. Hopefully it's an obvious one. I most definitely do NOT have a chauffeur.

There is so much I want to say about this, but the thoughts in my head are so jumbled. So, I will write more in future blog posts.



Monday, December 2, 2019

The Dragon

One thing I want to do with this blog is to share the way I see things. Not just with my eyes - but life in general. This post is such a post.

[This is an unfinished painting I did many years ago, of a purple dragon on a misty - impressionistic looking background of smoky gray and mostly shades of green.]

I feel like there is a classic story somewhere - probably a Grimm's Fairy Tale story - that goes like this:

Once upon a time...

There was a prince. He had a lot of gold. He loved his gold so much. He sat on top of the gold pile and would guard it all the time, day and night. He would admire how shiny and beautiful it was. He would look at his reflection in the gold pile and admire how well it mirrored his face back.

He would snarl and yell at people who came near his gold pile. He didn't want to lose any of it. He counted his gold day and night and was obsessed with it, more than anything else, he loved his gold.

One morning, he woke up. A noise behind him startled him and he startled awake and tried to run away. He saw huge monster feet surrounding him! He thought, "oh my gosh, I have a monster behind me! I need to run faster!" As he ran faster, the monster feet kept pace with him. The prince was so scared.

Finally, he thought, "I can't run any more, I am so worn out." So he thought "this is it, I'm going to be eaten." He stopped to rest and turned to face the monster. And, then he realized: it was HE who was the monster. Those monster feet that had been following him were his own feet.

The prince had turned into a dragon. This is the legend of why dragons guard gold. They were once handsome and kind. But they value their money and gold more than anything else. More than people, more than music, more than the world, more than anything. And they turn old and scaly and breathe fire to keep people away from stealing their gold.

Their heart turns as cold as stone, their body cold. Their breath - hot and fiery.

The End.

Maybe at some point I will find that story and share the link to the actual fairy tale. I have retold it as I remember it, from reading it as a child.

I see people (and in this case, I not only mean "people," I also mean "corporations" and even "banks," and more than that, too) these days doing the same thing - guarding their money to the extent of excluding all else.

The cruelty that happens because someone is guarding their money can be exceedingly hurtful.

Think of rich people exploiting their workers. It's an age-old tale. I remember the story of the Serfs in Russia being exploited by their masters. Or the slaves in the United States of America being exploited by their masters. Or the modern day prisoners who are stuck making plastic utensils (forks, knives, spoons, sporks) all day for probably 10 cents per day so we can get it when we order cheap Chinese takeout, rather than have to bother washing our own utensils.

I see these kinds of examples so often, and it breaks my heart. I don't know what to do about it. I guess, with this blog post, this is my one step forward - letting people know about the story and how it can apply to today.

I have just felt compelled to share this on my blog, because it's How I See Things.

I would like to encourage you to wake up. Perhaps many of my blog readers already have. But we are coming up on the holiday season. So many people think the holiday season is about buying each other gifts, or giving money to their family. Or what-have-you.

I would like to encourage everyone to step back and think about Cindy Lou Who from the Dr. Seuss story "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Cindy Lou Who has the idea that Christmas doesn't come from a store. Christmas is more about being together. Let's spend time enjoying each other. Let's listen when. someone is talking. Let's listen to that relative at the table who holds the opposite opinion of you and is boldly loud about it. Let's kindly encourage them to also open their ears to listen to you, too.

And now, for a small tangent ... because my brain works like this.

I believe we have all been taught, growing up: "Don't discuss religion, or politics." Where has that gotten us as a country? It's gotten us arguing and yelling at each other. And yet, it's the greed of corporations that is hurting us. Vote with your dollars. Industries are changing already because people are changing their spending habits. The one I saw changing the day before I wrote this post is about the dairy industry having to start figuring out something else, because more people are buying non-cow milk. (Yes, I call it "cow milk.") I haven't been able to drink cow-milk since 1988 when I finally figured out that it was the cow milk that hurt my stomach so badly. Soy was the only option back then. But now there is almond, cashew, cashew with banana, soy, coconut, hemp, and even the new thing I don't want to try - oat milk :::shudder:::.

People are voting for non-cow-milk with their dollars.

I may or may not have mentioned it yet, but I want to let you know that I am a Quaker. Yep. I am a modern day Quaker. No, it has nothing to do with the oatmeal. The modern day Quakers that I have met, do a lot of research to figure out which companies are the most responsible with the way they do things. Do they use child labor to produce their products? Do they ship from the other side of the world, rather than produce close to where they sell from? How sustainable - long term - are their practices? How much water is consumed to make such a product? Is the price reasonable, too? Quakers often vote with their dollars.

I could go on and on about how the Quakers think and are socially responsible. I probably will, over time, on this blog. But it is the Quaker inside me that is starting to put 2 and 2 together, and realize that the corporations and individuals who hoard their gold turn in to something that resembles Gollum from "The Lord of the Rings." I don't want to resemble that. I don't want to cherish a material object more than anything else. The very idea disgusts me. As I thought about this more and more, I remembered the allegory of the prince who guarded his gold and eventually became a dragon.

Anyway, food for thought here on my blog - it's How I See Things.

~*~ I wish you a good holiday season. ~*~ 

Flickering Eyesight

So, I have known for a long time that my eyes don’t work together. It has taken me almost 50 years to be able to describe what I see to peop...