Sunday, October 26, 2008

Botox for the Soul

Maybe your mother did this too: every time I wrinkled my forehead in worry, or frowned in irritation, she’d say to me “You better be careful or your face is going to get stuck like that.” Of course I told her she was being ridiculous.

But I’ve noticed recently that she wasn’t being ridiculous at all – only it’s my soul that gets stuck there, not my face.

A couple of weeks ago, during the discussion period, Jimmy re-translated something Peterson had translated as “tunnel vision” to “squinty-eyed.” At the time, I wasn’t quite sure why he made that change, but I have begun to notice in the weeks since that the things that used to happen to my face when I was nine still happen, and I do occasionally feel myself get literally squinty-eyed.

Now, I have to tell you that I think this is not an entirely bad thing. I have also noticed when I get “wide-eyed” with wonder or amazement or amusement, my eyes do, literally, open wide. Although some probably dismiss that habit as a not-entirely-appropriate adult characteristic, it’s mostly fine by me.

But even better is how these two things can work together: When I can slow down enough to feel myself get squinty-eyed, I have noticed that I can also make my eyes open wide. And the change that happens to the rest of me is pretty miraculous:

Physically, worry slips toward wonder. . . .

Of course, it doesn’t happen if I don’t stop and pay attention.

So I’ve decided this a great time to listen, finally, to another of my mother’s annoying adages. “Stop; take ten deep breaths; and then decide.”

It’s probably too late to cure the crow’s feet on my face; but I bet it’ll do a lot to smooth and soothe my soul!

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