After 33 years with my illness (MS), here are my handicaps and the lessons
they taught me.
1. I am legally blind
2. Poor balance; My legs are often weak and give out, resulting in a
3. I have short term memory problems
4. Pain, primarily following brain surgery for trigeminal neuralgia
Now let me share the lessons these handicaps showed me.
In this blog, I will discuss my blindness.
1. I am legally blind
Blindness is something that can affect every aspect of our life. It
seemed to take me out of what was happening around me and separated me from
normal social interaction. Those situations made it easy to start my life as
a blind person based on a strong inner connection to my inner wisdom. I
often say that when you cannot see outside of yourself very well, it is
natural to look within. Blindness began a journey of inner discovery; it
opened a door for me that my thinking mind often passed.
Once, a friend of mine was giving me a ride to a doctor’s
appointment. She asked me, “How is it to be legally blind?” I said
“Everything is blurry, but I feel connected to my heart.” Then I asked her
what she saw and she said, “I see kids on bikes, cars, trees and houses,”
but she said nothing about her heart. I think there is blindness to the
outside world and there is blindness to the inner world. If I was able to
choose what blindness is worse, it would be hard to do that. Outer
blindness separates me from the world around me, where inner blindness
separates me from my heart. In an ideal moment, we would have both and many
people do. But when it is hard to see around you, inner blindness cannot be
an option; it becomes a necessity.
For 33 years, I have lived with an intense inner focus. Though it
separated me from my outer world, I discovered an inner reality that was
incredible. I share this with the reader, not to encourage you to have
poor vision, but to not limit yourself to only an outer focus. When we
limit our focus to the outer world, we limit our inner focus to thinking.
Because blindness made it so I could not see the object of my thoughts, I
broke the habit, which almost everyone has, to focus only on our thoughts.
Although society prepares us to live in a world of “right thinking,”
to a handicapped person this can seem like living in a room with low
ceilings. When I learned to go beyond thoughts that did not serve me, I
felt it was like going outside and being able to jump and feel incredibly
free. It is hard to jump in a room with low ceilings, just as it is hard to
go beyond the way we were taught to think. When I became disabled, I was
like an adult in a children’s clothing store. I knew that nothing would fit,
so I just had to shop somewhere else. I was forced to discover a new
reality, a reality in harmony with my inner wisdom.
When my awareness focuses beyond thinking, I feel as though I am in
a new reality. But the primary focus in that reality is not my ego; it is
my heart. The love I can share is freed from my ego. It is selfless and
allows me to love without reasons. Then, because I need to be active, I
still have plenty of interactions with other people. I see that many of the
problems we face today in our society are the results of being separated
from ourselves. We seem to have adapted to a life where we feel
disconnected from our hearts and the life we tend to lead is compromised.
That is not the case for everyone, but unfortunately that is the norm.
Blindness has taught me that focusing only on my thoughts is
incredibly limiting, no matter what thoughts I focus on. In the world
beyond thinking, which I feel almost everyone has experienced, there is a
reality of profound wisdom, found in silence. It was because of my handicaps
that I found silence. Blindness, one of the most feared handicaps, enabled
me to experience an inner reality that is not the norm in society.
Blindness did not give me anything. All it did was to allow me to explore
what I already had. In silence, I feel connected to my heart and to the
wisdom of my body.
Recently, I was in Hospice for three months. In the previous year, I
had written a book, The End: A Creative Approach to Death, (Amazon/Kindle),
where I included poetry as a way to include my right brain and creativity.
While in Hospice, I wrote a book of poems, A Poetic View of Hospice,
(Amazon/Kindle), trying to capture the predicament I was in.