What I Miss Today

Image of Ivan rock climbing

Being Blind is hard, I hate it. I hate the continual visual darkness. There I said it. Not something you would expect from a motivational speaker…. but I find that a dose of honesty is always a good place to start.

I wanted to start a small blog dedicated to accepting where I am today. I need to acknowledge the past to move forward.

Today, I woke up missing the usual things, but for some reason today I missed writing. I mean the old fashion kind of writing…. pen to paper. There is something about that art of writing, the art of your own signature, putting that signature to paper and having it mean something. There is no art to my signature anymore. If I must sign something, I no longer focus on the craftsmanship. I focus on making sure whoever is guiding me that day can help put my hand on the dotted line as I make some squibble and hope it is acceptable for whatever legal document.

I miss looking at the signatures of others and getting a glimpse of who they are. I miss the reading of a card and seeing signatures; of watching how my children’s’ handwriting change over time as they develop their sense of self in the world.

I could sit here for hours and dwell on this perceived loss, or I could acknowledge it as something that is missed and accept where I am on this journey today.

Adaptability is paramount. We humans are amazingly adaptable, it is how we survive. I have lost a lot through blindness, but when I take the time to move pass the loss and look at my gains, I realize that my other senses have developed, and I can quickly tune into signals given to me by my surrounding environment (signals that have always been there) as I find ways to adjust and move forward.

People ask me why I take on so many challenges, for me it is way to further understand my surroundings, develop a deeper sense so I can better adapt. I feel we create and live in small bubbles. There are so many things in life we are clueless about. We need to find ways to make the bubble bigger. Every time I take on a new challenge, I learn something about myself and most importantly I learn about others. I try to expand that bubble by learning something from someone else and I try to reach out and teach, I try to share some of that light in my darkness. What I realized is my light gets brighter every time I share. I hope I can provide a little encouragement along the way about pushing through perceived limitations and obstacles.
Instead of putting pen to paper and developing my thoughts….These challenges allow me to put foot to pavement. I feel the ground underneath me…it is always a sound truth, for as long as I am upright, there is always ground beneath me. The sounds of the pavement echo upwards, I can feel the challenge, the beauty, and the depth of the terrain/people surrounding me.

The sound of the South Pole at 42 degrees below zero…I knew I was standing in beauty…I didn’t need to see that reflection of the snow and ice to know that.  I could feel the awe, the isolation. The environment, which has no smell, seemed to exacerbate your own body odor… a product of your hard work and effort.

While I was hiking the PCT this past summer, I met amazing people along the way. I could hear the slough of their shoes against the dusty terrain, from this I knew they were weary. I could tell the difference between the new hikers, daily hikers, or the well-known PCT thru hikers; distinguished only by their body odor… their sweat and effort worn like a true badge of honor. I could hear the dryness in their voices, enough to know that they were dehydrated and sensed that water was my key for a successful climb that day. Because I was not focused on these travelers faces, nor the images of the beauty in front of me…I could focus on their voices, their words. I could hear those who spoke with determination, the ones I knew would finish. I could hear hikers as their courage began to waiver. It got me thinking, that words matter, how we talk to ourselves matter.

It is doubtful, we would ever put pen to paper about the worst versions of ourselves (remember, writing is an art).  I don’t know of anyone who would write down that they were a quitter…that they weren’t strong enough… or list all of their self-doubts. We usually write about our hopes and dreams, our goals, our visions. So why can’t we talk to ourselves in the same manner.  To speak to ourselves with acceptance…Yes, this journey is difficult (acknowledge it).  We can get as far as we can get on this journey today, with the ground firmly underneath us, and with one foot planted directly in front of the other…always moving forward…. we can choose to adapt to what is around us….so we can live to fight another day.