[Ohio-talk] inspirational article

meandthedog at oberlin.net meandthedog at oberlin.net
Mon Mar 2 16:17:07 UTC 2015

> Could we bering this up at our affiliate? The community serviced project
is right up my

alley. I have always been involved with community projects.
Founder of CATSS. in which blindness was not an issue,
and INH. No one ever asked me about working for IHN, ABOUT MY
blindness, even though they were very aware that I am bling.
The only place i was held
back in my life was by the agencies. that so called served
the blind. I'll have to talk to you about that.
I have been quite ill, and am coming along fine. Megan

 edited it for the Braille Monitor. I don’t know that is where she got
> it. This was some years ago.
> Barbara
> Barbara Pierce
> President Emerita
> National Federation of the Blind of Ohio
> Barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com
> 440-774-8077
> The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the
> characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the
> expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles
> between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you zwant;
> blindness is not what holds you back.
>> On Mar 1, 2015, at 9:45 PM, Deborah Kendrick via Ohio-talk
>> <ohio-talk at nfbnet.org> wrote:
>> Cathy,
>> Nice article.  But you cut off all attribution.  Where was it published?
>> Publication name and date would be much appreciated.
>> Thanks for sharing!
>> Deborah
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Ohio-talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Cathy
>> via
>> Ohio-talk
>> Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2015 8:14 PM
>> To: Ohio-talk at nfbnet.org
>> Subject: [Ohio-talk] inspirational article
>> I read this article and the NFB is mentioned so thought I would pass it
>> along for others to enjoy.
>> Breaking Out of My Comfort Zone
>> By Marcus Schmidt
>> Have you ever tried to break boards with your bare hands? I have heard
>> several times that some people can, but always thought they must be
>> really
>> tough or somehow be able to focus all their energy into a point. However
>> they did it, I never envisioned myself doing it, until recently. My
>> perspective changed at a youth leadership academy for the blind last
>> May,
>> where I was a counselor. A few adults demonstrated a technique to the
>> youth,
>> and it was not long until I heard of some youth even busting through 3
>> or 4
>> boards at a time. The National Federation of the Blind believes that
>> pushing
>> people out of their comfort zone is a very important part of training
>> blind
>> individuals to be more independent and successful, as it builds their
>> confidence to try other things, thus enabling them to break through
>> attitudinal barriers and grow personally.
>> As I sat there, unwilling to risk hurting my hands, I thought about what
>> message I might be sending to the youth, for whom I was supposed to be a
>> role model. Not wanting to show any fear of trying something new, but
>> rather
>> wanting to demonstrate a, can do attitude, I stepped out of my comfort
>> zone
>> by stepping forward to try breaking some boards. I reviewed the
>> technique in
>> person, took a step back, and took a good swing at the two boards being
>> held
>> in front of me. To my amazement, both broke completely through, and that
>> without hurting my hand. The youth around me thought it was great, but I
>> fell into introspection for a while. I wondered how many other things I
>> had
>> never tried in my life, simply because I believed what others told me
>> was
>> impossible for a blind person. I am so grateful to people who have
>> pushed me
>> to try new things, like my parents and my wife.
>> Shortly before that weekend with the blind youth, my wife Kim really
>> pushed
>> me out of my comfort zone, inciting me to do something I had always been
>> afraid of. It was the last day of our two week vacation in Peru. We had
>> visited several museums, fascinating ruins (like Machu Picchu) and had
>> even
>> spent half a week in the jungle. Now, we were ready to unwind a little,
>> before returning home. We thought that spending some time relaxing on
>> the
>> beach would accomplish that, but found the water to be rather chilly,
>> the
>> surf unusually strong and the plentiful jellyfish to be rather large, a
>> foot
>> or so in diameter. As we bummed around a nearby outdoor mall, Kim
>> marveled
>> at a number of people paragliding, sailing on the updrafts on the steep
>> coast, suspended from large parachutes. Though it sounded like fun, it
>> was
>> definitely something I had always said I would never do, as it seemed
>> foolish to put my life in the hands of something as uncertain as the
>> wind.
>> Nevertheless, as we were packing up our room on the last day of our
>> trip,
>> Kim announced: quote, I know what you are doing today. quote. I figured
>> that
>> it probably was something I really like, since she knows me quite well
>> by
>> now. But, when I learned that it was paragliding she was planning out, I
>> thought she must have lost her mind. She tried to arrest my concerns by
>> explaining that I would be accompanied by an experienced instructor;
>> but, I
>> did not gain much comfort from knowing that at least I would not be
>> dying
>> alone. Then my risk management logic kicked into gear in a somewhat
>> unusual
>> way. I figured, if the instructor is assuming this risk day in and day
>> out,
>> and has managed to survive it for several years, then I could possibly
>> risk
>> paragliding for 15 minutes. So, off we went to the coastal cliff.
>> When we got there and paid for my paragliding session, no one seemed too
>> concerned about my blindness, since I would be flying in tandem with a
>> sighted instructor anyway. I felt excited but not that nervous; however,
>> when they hooked the harness around me and then ordered me to run
>> towards
>> the cliff, I was glad I could not see the 150 foot drop off in front of
>> me.
>> When my feet all of a sudden lost touch with the ground, I did feel
>> rather
>> uneasy for the first 10 seconds of being airborne. But, as we started
>> gaining altitude and I felt the cool ocean breeze rush by my face, my
>> fear
>> gave way to bliss. Though it did feel rather odd to hear the foaming
>> ocean
>> so far beneath me, I was enjoying the freedom of a bird too much to
>> really
>> care. As the instructor was taking us through gentle swoops and loops,
>> he
>> remarked, quote, If I could only give you my eyes right now. quote. I
>> replied, quote, But why? There is so much for me to enjoy with all my
>> other
>> senses. quote. So, he closed his eyes, and liked it so much that he kept
>> them shut for a while. Of course, he did open his eyes again to bring us
>> in
>> for a safe landing. As we parted, I thanked him for a wonderful time,
>> and he
>> thanked me for opening his understanding to what it is like to be blind.
>> As each of us stepped out of our comfort zone that day, each of our
>> lives
>> was enriched. Once again, my understanding of what blind people can and
>> cannot do was altered, thus boosting my confidence to try something else
>> that is traditionally held to be impossible for someone who is blind.
>> Cathy F
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