She suggests a minimum of one hour of sustained gaze (Right! Errata, 1 min?)

“Try not to blink,” says the performance artist Marina Abramovic. “The more you blink, the more you think.” In the spring of 2010, Abramovic spent over 700 hours looking into the eyes of more than 1,500 visitors to the Museum of Modern Art. Many wept openly. Sometimes Abramovic cried, too. To really experience the power of eye contact, she suggests a minimum of one hour of sustained gaze.

Place two chairs three and a half feet apart, and sit facing someone. Do not talk or touch. Focus your eyes between that person’s brows, so that you can see both pupils simultaneously. Don’t look away. Eye contact elicits avoidance behavior in many species, but humans are exquisitely attuned to it. Even newborns will look longer at people staring straight at them than they will at those with averted eyes…

To really see — and feel connected to — someone, you need to be still in mind and body. Start by slowing your breath until it is “almost unnoticeable,” Abramovic says. You’ll undergo all manner of discomfort during your encounter, including sore muscles, dry eyes and niggling thoughts. Don’t dwell on them.

Abramovic thinks a scarcity of eye contact is crippling modern culture. While we need to look at our loved ones more, she says that gazing into the eyes of strangers is potentially more transformative, what she calls “one of the most powerful experiences you can have.”…

Prepare for a rush of emotion. Abramovic felt surges of profound tenderness during the months she spent locking eyes with anyone who wanted to sit across from her. “I felt their loneliness and pain,” she says. “My heart was bursting.”

~ Malia Wollan, from How to Make Soulful Eye Contact (NY Times, April 28, 2017)


Notes:

It’s beyond belief to step outside and see so little, just a milky haze

edward-hoagland

Blindness is enveloping. It’s beyond belief to step outside and see so little, just a milky haze. Indoors, a smothering dark. It means that you can’t shed a mood of loneliness with a brisk walk down the street because you might trip, fall and break something. Nor will you see a passing friend, the sight of whom could be as cheery as an actual conversation. Sights, like sounds, randomly evoke a surge of memories ordinarily inaccessible that lighten and brighten the day. “Who are you?” I may already have asked 10 people who have spoken to me. Their body language as well as their smiles are lost to me. Human nature is striped with ambiguities, and you need to see them, but like a prisoner, I am hooded.

I lost my sight once before, to cataracts, a quarter-century ago, but it was restored miraculously by surgery. It then went seriously bad again, until, reaching 80, I needed a cane. Tap, tap. Ambulatory vision is the technical term.

Everything becomes impromptu, hour by hour improvised. Pouring coffee so it doesn’t spill, feeling for the john so you won’t pee on the floor, calling information for a phone number because you can’t read the computer, or the book. Eating takes considerable time since you can’t see your food. Feeling for the scrambled eggs with your fingers, you fret about whether you appear disgusting. Shopping for necessities requires help. So does traveling on a bus. […]

How many of us have watched a possum “play possum” or a goshawk swoop after a blue jay? We feed pigeons and hummingbirds, then have done with it. Nature has become a suburb. Of course I can’t see the cardinal at the feeder out the window, though tidal forces still operate. The leaves natter even if you can’t see them. Your ears report their bustle, ceaseless until dormant for a span of moments. The pulse in your throat signals that in your torso all is well; it will beat till it quits. That concordance of organs lives within us like sea creatures throbbing on a coral reef, strung there as on our skeleton as long as conditions allow.

Novelty is the spice of life and salts our daily round even when we lose our sight. Your eyes don’t steer you as you saunter, yet your lungs, legs, arms feel as fit as ever. For simple exercise, I hoist myself out of each chair, or bicycle in bed, though then unfortunately may pick up two completely different shoes and try to squeeze them on. My socks don’t match either. But why am I not crankier? a friend asks. I’m helpless; I can’t be cranky. Blindness is enforced passivity. I have become a second-class citizen, an object of concern. Crankiness won’t persuade people to treat me thoughtfully. Disabled, that dry term once applied to so many others over my lifetime, now applies to me. As best I can, I’ll make my peace with it.

~ Edward Hoagland, excerpts from Feeling My Way Into Blindness (NY Times, 11/20/2016)


Notes:

Muro 128

rodney-smith-book-ready-upside-down

I’m freakish about putting anything near my eyes (and anything touching my Adam’s Apple like a turtle neck – I tug and tug and tug at it to Free Willy. Get it off! Get it off!  Or the mouth guards dentists use to take impressions of my teeth and the chalky putty sliding down my throat, the eyes tearing, the gagging reflex, the choking, God, help me…Jesus that escalated quickly.)

It has become a necessary ritual to solve the eye-thing: Recurrent Corneal Erosion triggered by the back story here: I need to read.

The right hand grabs the 2.5 inch tube of Muro 128 5% Sodium Chloride Ophthalmic Ointment. I’ve made the switch from the cheaper generic. Raisin Bran maybe, but generics with eye lube? Saving a few bucks on chemicals you’re pouring into your eye balls, really? Are you nuts?

I think about why it’s Muro 128 and not 130 or 100 as I squeeze the salve in the lower lid. The hands tremble like an addict. I need this. I really need this. What I need is, to pay attention to the trembling hands inadvertently driving the aluminum tip of the tube through the eyeball into my brain.

One dab in each eye before bed time.

I pause, the chemicals coat the eye balls, the world goes blurry, I feel my way to bed. [Read more…]

I want to stick around till I can’t see straight


…spending many hours — sometimes all day…while sitting in front of the screen, she told me, “I developed burning in my eyes that made it very difficult to work.” After resting her eyes for a while, the discomfort abates, but it quickly returns when she goes back to the computer. “…I’d turn off the computer, but I need it to work the frustrated professor…has a condition called computer vision syndrome. She is hardly alone. It can affect anyone who spends three or more hours a day in front of computer monitors, and the population at risk is potentially huge. Worldwide, up to 70 million workers are at risk…and those numbers are only likely to grow. In a report about the condition the authors detail an expanding list of professionals at risk … all of whom “cannot work without the help of computer.”…Studies have indicated 70 percent to 90 percent of people who use computers extensively…have one or more symptoms…The effects of prolonged computer use are not just vision-related. Complaints include neurological symptoms like chronic headaches and musculoskeletal problems like neck and back pain…the use of a computer for even three hours a day is likely to result in eye symptoms, low back pain, tension headache and psychosocial stress.  Still, the most common computer-related complaint involves the eyes, which can develop blurred or double vision as well as burning, itching, dryness and redness, all of which can interfere with work performance.

~ Jane E. Brody, Computer Vision Syndrome Affects Millions


Notes: Portrait: Nadia (via Newthom). Post title taken from Foreigner’s Double Vision lyrics:

Tonight’s the night, I’m gonna push it to the limit
I live all of my years in a single minute
Fill my eyes with that double vision, no disguise for that double vision
Ooh, when it gets through to me, it’s always new to me
My double vision always seems to get the best of me, the best of me, yeah


Perspective (noun): An Anvil Dropped On Your Head.

painting,art,

It was 11:30 am this morning.
A bruising day and still on the wrong side of noon.
A meeting. A call. Another call. Another Call. A meeting. Another meeting.
And triple tasking, banging out emails during calls and reorganizing tomorrow’s calendar.
Then, a break in the storm.
Get off your a**.  Now!  Take a walk. Sitting is killing you. And if not that, the urine backup may get you first.

I grab my smartphone and scan the subject headings of my personal emails.
Half way down my in-box, my eye catches text in the subject line: “live and learn suggestion.
All in lower case.
The antennae clicks up a notch.  High probability of spam soliciting SEO help or telling me my blog sucks and I need professional help.

My thumb slides up to the DELETE key. [Read more…]

Color


I was watching this video (3:15 am, in the dark) and seeing florescent orange in my peripheral vision from the digital clock on the dresser – and feeling gratitude wash over me.  I marvel at what technology is doing for people like Neil Harbisson (and so happy that I can see more than gray-scale.) Bottom line: Moved.

“The life of Neil Harbisson is like something out of a sci-fi novel. Neil was born with achromatopsia, a rare condition that leaves 1 in 30,000 people completely colorblind. But Neil isn’t colorblind, far from it. After convincing his doctors to implant an antenna onto him, Neil now possesses a new sense – the ability to hear colors. Neil takes you through a day in his life and you into an entirely new world.”


Source: Sho & Tell

Mondays, Miracles & Musings

Boy-That-Escalated-Quickly-Anchorman

You wake up and body parts are functioning.
Turn the key in the ignition and all systems are go.
Until they don’t.
Two eyes on Sunday.
1.5 on Monday.
Painfully nagging recurring eye disorder. Detailed here.
Blurred vision. Tear ducts flowing.
Nasal passages oozing goop.
Nausea rolling tummy.
Hip bone connected to the thigh bone.
Thigh bone connected to every bloody thing.

And as for Helen Fielding in Bridget Jones’s Diary and for me:

Once get on tack of thinking about aging there is no escape. Life suddenly seems like a holiday where, halfway through, everything starts accelerating to the end.

“Boy, that accelerated quickly.”

Which led me to thinking about Einstein and miracles.
I’m driving from the office to the Ophthalmologist.
And those of you scolding me about driving with impaired vision, one of my working eyes is better than most of the maniacs with two working eyes on the road today. So relax… [Read more…]

No more tears. Here’s to good outcomes.

tear-drop

It’s a ritual before bedtime.
Nightly.
Now running for 14 months.

I stand in front of the bathroom mirror.
Take a deep breath.
Raise my left hand to pull down the lower left lid,
Raise my right hand to apply a thin stream of the prophylactic.
And if I had a third hand (and was a Believer),
I would make the sign of the cross, look to the heavens, and whisper:
Work your magic. Please.

Sodium Chloride Ophthalmic Ointment.
Generic Brand.
40% cheaper than the Name brand.
Found and bought on Amazon.
Produced in Lake Forest, Illinois by some unknown bucket shop.
You are one strange dude. You don’t think twice about the risk of a no-name eyeball lube bought on the web but refuse to buy generic Raisin Bran cereal at your local Stop ‘n Shop.

Apply every 3 to 4 hours, or as directed by Doctor.
Ophthalmologist’s instructions were nightly. And nightly it is.
For temporary relief of corneal edema.
edema: the collection of excess of watery fluid.

But that’s not the real pain point.
Which is… [Read more…]

Sunday Morning: “Oh, well. At least I’m here.”


Hang in there until the finish…

 

Opia


opia – n. the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable–their pupils glittering, bottomless and opaque–as if you were peering through a hole in the door of a house, able to tell that there’s someone standing there, but unable to tell if you’re looking in or looking out.


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