Sunday, January 31, 2010

31. Tears & Resources

I've been playing catch-up, filling in the blanks on this blog that I'd vowed to do every day for a month, and getting a bit teary-eyed in the process. Tears are a great ally to the vision: they lubricate the eyes with water and minerals, as well as provide emotional release that might be blocking the brain from seeing certain things (see the "See What You Want" posting from a few entries back). Today's tears weren't spurned by any sort of sentimentality—blogs and the internet and my process relating to them don't do that for me. Rather, these tears were jostled by the people who have found victory through their own path of self-healing, often through struggles within their own personal health and the deterrent forces of America's busted capitalist healthcare system. I live in the richest country on Earth, and yet the quality of healthcare that a person receives here is proportional to the money that they have. Couple this with the stranglehold that certain kinds of medicine have usurped in the past century—pharmaceutical, surgical, and slap-the-glasses-on-the-kids-and-send-them-to-school optometrical—and it is a wonder that I've found anyone out there making a decent go at providing affordable acupuncture, massage, yoga and other such treatments at rates that folks can actually afford. Luckily I have found them, and this blog is an attempt to share their resources with you, as well as to add my own experiences in natural vision therapy to the wealth of resources in my community.

Below is a list of resources that I've used to put this blog together. It's divided into two parts, the first being "media" resources that you can order by mail or maybe find in a bookshop, and the second being a collection of local resources from my own community. If you cannot access these resources directly you can at least be inspired by them:

Media Resources:
  • Meir Schneider has made a number of audiobooks and videos of eye exercises, some of which were the first to really get me inspired to pursue this stuff. my favorite is the Miracle Eyesight Method because Schneider gives such clear explanation of the exercises and why they work, as well as sharing incredible and inspiring stories from his own life. Scheider also had the smarts to do what many other authors on natural vision seemed to miss the boat on: his books are totally audio—no reading required for the visually impaired!
  • Marc Grossman regularly teaches workshops at Kripalu Yoga Center in Western Mass and run a functional optemetry/acupuncture practice in upstate New York. He's a nice guy, full of knowledge and creativity, some of which comes through in Greater Vision and other books.
  • Tom Quackenbush's textbook Relearning to See is a fascinating melange of basic biology with total devotion to Dr. William Bates and his methods. Quackenbush spends dozens and dozens of pages quoting entire passages from Bates' books and periodicals. I take issue with Quackenbush's fanboy fervor towards Bates' teachings-as-doctrine (and unlike the skeptics on Wikipedia, he does sweep some of Bates' mistakes under the rug), but this book is full of beautiful science and clear diagrams of how many of the exercises can be performed—a really great reference.
  • Aldous Huxley's The Art of Seeing has a great beginning where the author details his own journey in and out of blindness and then goes on to quote some guy who worked for General Electric's Lighting Research Laboratory: "Suppose that crippled eyes could be transformed into crippled legs. What a heart-rending parade we would witness on a busy street! Nearly every other person would go limping by. Many would be on crutches and some on wheel chairs." Beyond that, Huxley's book is disappointingly clinical coming from one the 20th century's great authors. The Art of Seeing mostly serves as a testimonial by someone that people have actually heard of.
  • This list cannot be written with the inclusion of better Eyesight Without Glasses by William H. Bates, M.D., a book for which Bates was barred from practice by the American Optometry Association, for if the nation took Bates' advice (got rid of their glasses and followed his regimen) every optometrist would be out of a job. An important piece of history and the inspiration for much of what you see on this blog.
Local Resources:
  • Philadelphia Community Acupuncture provides sliding scale acupuncture treatments from $15 to $35. They are part of a growing global network of similarly structured acupuncture clinics.
  • Studio 34 is a yoga, healing and arts space that I work at in West Philadelphia. Drop in class are no more than $10, and many are $5 or pay-what-you-can. Studio 34's mission is driven by community rather than profit.
  • Mill Creek Farm is a chemical free farm operating in the heart of the city. They strive to provide city dwellers with the autonomy to access healthy food that's grown right in their own neighborhoods.
I could make these lists continue indefinitely, though I'd rather just offer a few examples of the people and projects that inspire me to do this work. If there are others that you know of, leave them here.

Thanks for reading. See you soon.

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