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Defining Moments Show Us Our Mettle

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Overwhelming Failure Provides Supreme Motivation to Achieve Success in Bates Method Practice

It was September 21 when I experienced the defining moment of my Bates Method journey. I have been practicing the Bates Method, an exercise and relaxation program designed to restore and enhance eyesight, on and off for a year. You see, I found myself hunched in front of my computer screen on this late-summer night—a mere 4 inches separating my pupils from pixels. This picture is in stark contrast with one from the last two weeks of July, in which I gave myself an opportunity to finally go lenses free (outside driving at night) and made serious strides in my practice.

I can’t work like this!

I can’t live like this!

These were the thoughts that went off in my head like firecrackers.

Man reads with mouth agape from a computer screen
This isn’t me, and I wasn’t wearing glasses, but my eyes were about as far from the monitor as this man’s. This defining moment has propelled me to resume and advance in my Bates Method practice to improve my eyesight—all the way to 20/20 and possibly beyond.

I had stretched out my vision just weeks earlier after having waited patiently for that two-week break to arrive, and here I was, eyes practically glued to my screen. I thought my vision had never been never worse and recoiled when I considered I had lost all the progress I had made in July. I let my progress slip away day by day, boxed in by a schedule that offered little breathing room—and missing an extra hour for me to practice my Bates Method chart exercises in addition to my morning drills.

The next day, I revamped my schedule, marking off three hours, from 7 to 10 a.m., for my practices of the Bates Method and Posture Exercises Method, the latter of which has enabled me to reverse a decade of chronic physical pain and get into the best shape of my life. This schedule change means I have almost no other free time to speak of and means I’m in bed early to ensure I rest enough to rise for exercise time. In just a week, I stretched out my vision in reading off one eye letter chart from 4 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 4 inches. As of this writing, I’m at 7 feet, 8 inches, representing the best progress I’ve made yet! Oh, the body’s remarkable memory system!

I’m also picking up things I’ve not seen in a very long time without wearing glasses or contact lenses, which have been crutches for me for three decades. While driving, I sometimes catch the names of street signs from 50 or more feet away. I even glimpsed the small silver “Jeep” lettering atop a grille from about 20 feet away. Earlier this week, I spied my cat’s eyes from across my room in the morning when I woke up. I’m nearsighted—and very nearsighted. Ordinarily, I could see the digits on a wristwatch if it were, at most, 10 to 12 inches from my face. These remarkable instances of clarity that I’ve experienced are called flashes. My vision coach, Nathan Oxenfeld of, tells me that they’re glimpses of my future vision in which I will see clearly. Trust me, they are pretty cool to have—and I’m having them frequently nowadays.

Illustration of computer alert for eye strain
I have my sights set on eliminating eyestrain and achieving crystal-clear vision.

Sometimes, I think we need to hit “rock bottom” before we’re completely compelled to spring to action—and, the key is, to remain committed to action. Just as Rocky Balboa sometimes needed to take some hard punches near the end of a bout before he turned it on en route to a knockout throw, I sometimes need a pivotal point in time for me to always remember why I’m pushing forward. I need this sharp and vivid picture.

After all, I experienced these defining moments in my journeys in posture correction exercises and raw food. With posture exercises, I had compromised use of my right hand after it collapsed in 2006 and 2008 because of a few days of ultraintensive computer mouse use that magnified all the damage that had been done with overly regular use over the years. I also began suffering from vertigo, leaving me feeling as if I might topple over when walking or even standing. I was up against a wall in April 2010 and had to roll back all the dysfunction that had set in my then-32-year-old body—or face continued pain and evermore limited body ability.

A tiger stalking
Read Brian Rossiter’s article “Eye of the Tiger Needed to Manifest Your Vision.”

With my raw food diet, I felt as if the lights went out on me after eating what turned out to be my last burrito. I documented this experience in an e-mail to a few friends and wrote about it in an article titled “Eye of the Tiger Needed to Manifest Your Vision.” After just more than a year on an all-vegan, 90-percent raw food diet, I couldn’t handle the yo-yoing effects of a Raw Till 4 lifestyle anymore. I was saddled with brain fog, which hampered my whole being—physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states. I had to make a choice in February 2012: dial back the amount of raw food I was eating so as not to be so sensitive or go wholly raw. It was all raw for me—and I’ve not looked back.

If you find yourself in a tight spot when transitioning to a raw food diet or in any other kind of situation, have faith. You have to believe in yourself to see you through to your destination. You might have to be mired in a very real, very challenging moment in time for you to summon the courage and will to move forward with an everything-else-out-of-the-way attitude.

Best wishes in achieving your goals!

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