Well, yesterday I went into a little office in downtown Kingston and they sliced the corneas off my eyes temporarily and burnt what was left down with a laser beam for about 5 seconds per eye and sent me off with some sunglasses and eye drops.
Today I woke up with full 20/20 panoramic vision (they actually measured this) and essentially no discomfort. I feel like I’ve experienced the greatest miracle in my life. Having worn glasses since I was ten, I have never seen the world like this in my memory and only wish I’d done this sooner.
You hear about Laser eye surgery and any number of things about it: it’s scary (it is!), it’s expensive (mine came to $2,400 total), it only works on some people (I don’t have astigmatism and have a stable prescription, but it worked for someone as blind as me), and that your eyes eventually revert (I don’t know anyone personally that’s happened to). So, I feel like a real heel having not taken advantage of this technology twenty years ago. What was stopping me?
What it really makes me wonder though, is what else am I missing??? What other magic is hiding under our noses, that could dramatically improve our lives, but for which some otherwise minor stumbling blocks hold us back.
One thing that comes to mind in my own experience is deep tissue massage: it really is just like the movies… You get absolutely hammered: screaming and yelling, the whole nine yards… but it does amazing things that you can’t even achieve with drugs or surgery. I went by accident the first time I got one, and came away from it pondering how many people suffer from chronic pain, opiate addiction, unnecessary surgeries etc. which could safely and readily be relieved by this?
These sorts of miracles probably fall into three categories: 1) novel use of cutting edge technology (laser eye surgery), 2) ancient esoteric wisdom (deep tissue massage), and 3) common sense traditions that we’ve let ourselves completely forget somehow over the past century.
The best example of that I can think of this third form from personal experience is preparing meals from scratch with whole foods. Of course this is what everyone did pre-industrialization, but for many individuals and families it has become a foreign, almost impenetrable mystery. I grew up this way to a large extent: while my mom was adept at roasting meat and boiling potatoes, we also ate a lot of fish sticks, frozen food and mac and cheese. Cooking was considered a chore, and one to be dispensed with as little effort as possible. Food was something to fill up on, not necessarily enjoy or appreciate.
So, when I moved out on my own at 18 and had to feed myself, I was astounded, with the help of a few good cookbooks and GARLIC, how much pleasure and interest one can take in the preparation of food. Not only that, but that the routine can become a grounding place of relaxation, and a focal point for family; that the preparation of food is not only a complex, subtle artform and mastery of the physical realm, but also a way to show others that you love them.
If you’re bothering to go out of your way to shop with a local farm, you’re probably already well aware of this magic of the hearth, and I mention it as a reminder to myself as much as an encouragement for others. So, as we embark on another year, I hope that we all can find, discover, remember and cultivate as many of these minor miracles as we can.