Nov 29

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It’s okay, you’re not gonna die

I’ve been having trouble with my contact lenses for the last couple of months.  So much so that I’ve taken to wearing my glasses to work a few times a week, which is extremely unusual. A while back I called my eye doctor for an appointment and today was the big day. And with it came a most fascinating experience.

Although I really like my eye doctor, I’ve always been nervous about eye exams.  When he shines a bright light into the back of my eye and tells me not to blink, or when he puts a blue light right up to the surface of my eye, I start to feel kind of panicky.  I have a hard time breathing and get a bit claustrophobic.  The worst is when he uses a little paddle to flip my eyelid over and examine the inside – that makes me just about crawl out of my skin.

In the past, I’ve white-knuckled it through the appointment, repeating in my head some form of, “It’s okay, you’re not going to die.”

Except today was different.  As he began shining the ultra bright light into my eye, I had that panicky feeling for just a moment until I thought – wait a minute!  This is what I asked for!

This isn’t an appointment that I’m suffering through so that I can get my contact lens prescription updated.  I requested this appointment for the express purpose of making my life a bit easier and more pleasant.

With that realization – I’m here because I asked to be, in order to get something that I want – all of the panic disappeared.  I was able to breathe normally.  I didn’t feel like lasers were shooting through my head.

I had to remind myself several times – especially when he put that little blue light up to the surface of my eye.  But even then, a quick reminder, “It’s okay, this is what I asked for,” calmed my nerves right down.

I have to admit that as much as I believe in the power of our thoughts to create our experience, this one came as a complete shock to me.  I didn’t expect my eye appointment experience to ever change.

It also reminds me of something that happened on Facebook the other day.  I shared an image that a friend had put up (I don’t know who created it, so I apologize for not giving proper attribution):

"Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grow you, or makes you happy"

A friend who I deeply respect left a comment saying that this is too glib because there are many people who struggle in unhappy marriages for the sake of their children and that “life is harder” than just walking away.

I’ve been thinking for the last day about how to respond.  I recognize and honor the hurt behind this comment, but I haven’t come up with a good way to explain how and why I see it differently.  My experience today gives me a clue.

It’s about perspective.  Whether or not a couple is making a good choice by staying in an unhappy marriage is not mine to judge (who’s to say what a “good choice” is anyway?)  If that hypothetical couple chooses to stay, the most important thing for them to recognize is that they’ve made a CHOICE.  That choice is to honor the children’s needs.  They are not victims of an unhappy marriage, they are participants in the raising of healthy, whole children.

Until today, I’ve always felt like I was a victim of the unpleasant parts of an eye exam.  Today I realized that I’ve CHOSEN this experience in order to get something I want – healthy, happy eyes.  The long-term desired outcome was WAY more important than the temporary discomfort.  When I focused on the desired outcome, the discomfort faded.

Likewise, in the hypothetical unhappy marriage, perhaps what’s being walked away from isn’t the marriage, but rather the view of oneself as a victim of circumstance.  In the moments when the unhappy marriage comes to the forefront, focusing on the desired outcome – healthy, happy children – may help in navigating the rough spots.

And I’ll freely admit that, never having been married, I am speaking in a conceptual way, not with “boots on the ground” experience.  But it got me thinking, and I’m grateful for that.

Today’s miracle: Another opportunity to realize that I am the sum of my experiences, not a victim of them. (Click to tweet)

About the author

Leah Carey

Leah Carey is the Chief Miracle Officer of The Miracle Journal, where she writes about the large and small miracles that happen in her life every day. She is a life coach, speaker, journalist, freelance writer, and lover of life. In all of those pursuits, she works with people to identify what’s already right in your life so you can build an even more joyful and fulfilling daily experience from that foundation. You can find her on Facebook, , Twitter, and YouTube.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.leahcarey.com/themiraclejournal/2012/11/29/its-okay-youre-not-gonna-die/


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  1. Stratton

    I’m sorry if I pounded on you a little. Many marriages are in reality difficult. They do not survive, even though people try hard in all good faith. Especially when children are involved, a couple may choose to keep toiling, even long after they know they need not to be together any more. It’s a tactical decision based mostly on love. Love for what they were seeking in the first place, love for what’s still part of the person they committed to that they still feel for, love (SO MUCH) for the feelings that the children hold and are striving to believe in. When the marriage is broken, you try really hard to not burden the kids with it… you keep them in the dark. It hurts them mightily to be brought into the light. You stay after you know it’s done. That posting made it sound like in every instance, walking away, right away must obviously always be the correct choice. I deny that. That’s not always true at all.

    1. Leah Carey

      Dearest Stratton,
      I didn’t feel like you pounded on me at all. 🙂
      You have my undying gratitude and respect for all that you have taught me – you have been a very important teacher in my life.
      With all my love,

  2. Denise Wolf

    It is so wonderful that you change in perspective could so quickly change how you felt. It shows how much your mind and heart are in coherence.
    I had a similar experience with a visit from a family member. There was some old stuff left from a previous visit (that I am still physically healing from ) and I could not let that go during the last visit. With this one I decided to not be the victim and to claim who I was, what I wanted the experience to be and it turned out quite nice.
    Being able to shift energy is amazing.
    And it is not easy.
    Those who are in difficult places and are struggling sometimes can’t see around the corner or think of the possibility that there is a corner to turn.
    Thanks for showing that possibilities exist.

    1. Leah Carey

      Wow, Denise – that sounds intense. Thank you for your comment.

      You’re right, it’s not always easy – I think moments of clarity like the one I had the other day are the result of a lot of little building blocks having already been put into place. Then the moment comes and it suddenly all clicks into place. Sort of like when they say “It takes 10 years to become an overnight success.” 🙂

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