christine alexis virgins of the screen.

It takes a certain vision and commitment to see and be more compassionate in the world. This is especially true when vision is so different from one person to another.

Use Secret Compassion Goggles - There's something beyond rose-colored glasses...

The other night I woke up, my chest constricting. I couldn’t figure out why, because there was nothing specific I could point to as causing this feeling. There wasn’t a single piece that screamed out, “Yes! THIS!”

It could have been from any number of causes, none of which really matter. What does matter, is I felt bad.

I decided I didn’t want to feel that way any more so I imagined a beam of love, in the form of white light, beaming directly at that anxious feeling.

Instantly it was gone. I smiled, letting out a deep breath. Relaxed, I went back to sleep.

Imagine the Possibilities

When I was 7 years old, I remember squinting at the chalkboard, the lines blending together with the background. I remember the teacher moving my seat to the front of the class. My first pair of glasses debuted the summer before third grade. I remember choosing frames to make them less noticeable – as though there was some way to avoid the huge plastic corrective lens choices of the early 1990s.

For decades I felt like I would wake up one morning and be able to see. Sometimes I would go 30 minutes straight, not realizing the world was blurry. Then I’d try to read a sign, or the time on the microwave, and the illusion would fall away.

The thought makes me smile. How could a person like me, with eyes that have decidedly grown away from clear vision, be able to go 30 minutes without recognizing the need for corrective lenses?

It’s because it feels counterintuitive for someone like me to be myopic.

I’m a very visual person. I’ve always been attracted to color, texture, and shape. I respond intensely to the way things form themselves – how colors interplay, and textures draw something forward while throwing others back.

Like all people at some point in life, I thought everyone saw the world as I did – as one gorgeous visual playground. I thought they responded to color, texture, and shape as I did.

Then I discovered no one sees the world quite like another person, and it goes beyond the physical eye.

My current glasses are a far cry from my earliest frames.

Is that blue or purple?

There are certain shades that perspective changes the color. Some people don’t have all four cones in their eyes – they physically cannot see the same things I see when it comes to color. But that’s not the only difference between our vision.

It’s not just about the eyes, which mine are decidedly different (all four cones, astigmatism, and myopia). It’s also the mind’s eye.

I close my eyes and worlds reveal themselves to me. This is why my dreams are so complex and powerful (I’ve talked about that in detail here.) but I don’t have to be asleep to experience these things. When I think, I don’t think in words, but in pictures – especially my stream of consciousness. On rare occasions, I’ll have an audio thought, but mostly things are visual.

I don’t know how many times I’ve talked about this rich inner world to others to have their jaws drop as they stare.

“You dreamt that?”

“You saw that?”

“How do you know that?!”

Shining a light is more than attention.

Sometimes I visualize things that are not pretty. I have always seen the dark and light parts of life in their entirety. However, I choose to focus on light because I want more of it.

Part of how I do that is I shine light in the dark. I do that in my visualizations, as well as metaphorically in other ways. But what does that mean? What does shining light on something mean?

When I was younger I thought it meant bringing something to the attention of people, like the journalists in the movie Spotlight (note: I haven’t seen it, but I’m aware of the true story on which it’s based.). If we just shine a light on things, then people will recognize they’re a problem. Then people will do something about them.

That’s not necessarily true. Bringing attention to something is not the same as shining a light in the dark. Attention is not enough. Attention just shows us the things we didn’t see before. It broadens our awareness, but it is just as likely to cause harm as it is good. Seeing the things that live in the dark can make us afraid, and many people do stupid things when they’re afraid.

Impossible Love

Recently I stumbled across life-coach Preston Smiles who says, “Love on it.” He argues if someone is having a difficult time, love them more. If a situation is bad, throw some love on it.

I cannot state it more plainly – love is the solution to all problems. Really. Unconditional love resolves all things – heals all wounds, builds all bridges, tears down all walls. Unconditional love soothes all anger, dissolves all hate, and restores body, mind, and spirit.

There is no one who does not respond to this kind of love.

Is it possible for a human being to love in this way? Without condition? Yes. It is possible. It has been done. It is being done. It will be done again.

You will do it.

Having the right kind of vision makes a difference – this is something that can be learned. Knowing how to express love while using this sight is another skill that can be learned and honed.

August 1 will mark the beginning of an exciting new chapter – for the first time, The Heart Unboxed (How to Love the Unloveable) ecourse will be available. This class is going to have practices, tools, and resources for anyone who wants to increase empathy and compassion (as well as increase personal happiness, resilience, enjoyment, and life satisfaction!).

I’ll explain more about it in the following weeks, but for now, I want you to visualize yourself as a beacon, shining light on everyone and everything you encounter. You have that power.

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter here to get all the latest information about The Heart Unboxed class!

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