Archive | June, 2015

Love Is Blind-The Tale of Two Horses

26 Jun

by Maribel Steel

My love for these beautiful creatures goes back to my teenage years when my father would take me to a local riding school to hire a horse for an hour (while he sat in the car reading the Saturday newspaper).

Eddie, the 14 year old Palomino, was a popular horse in the stables as he was such a gentle giant. If I was lucky enough to find him available on the days when I went to ride, every moment with him was sheer joy.

His calm and intelligent personality increased my love for these animals and I still seek any opportunity to get close and friendly. Whenever we are travelling by car, and my partner happens to mention he has seen a horse over yonder paddock, I grab his arm: “Stop! I’ve got to say hello.”

In admiration of two special friends, and as a reminder of the bond between the blind and the sighted, I share a heart-warming story with you.

“Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing. Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him.

If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to the horse’s halter is a small bell. It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.

As you stand and watch these two friends, you’ll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting that he will not be led astray.

When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, it stops occasionally and looks back, making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.

Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way.

Good friends are like that. You may not always see them, but you know they are always there. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.”

Maribel Steel is an author, speaker, online content writer, mother and peer advisor for VisionAware (AFB). She lives in Melbourne, Australia and has Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). She has been published in several print journals and has contributed over forty guest posts for overseas blogs. To read more about her philosophy in ‘The ART of Being Blind’ you can visit her website: maribelsteel.com Blog: http://www.gatewaytoblindness.blogspot.com

Talking to Myself

14 Jun

Check out Jeff Flodin’s latest blog post. Thanks, Jeff!

Jalapeños in the Oatmeal

Simple lessons last longest.  This one I learned from a childhood storybook.  The Little Engine That Could pulls the train up the steep mountain, all the while repeating, “I think I can.”  The lesson is that telling myself I am capable and making an honest effort are the best I can bring to a challenge.

What the Little Engine told itself is, in modern parlance, “self-talk.”  Self-talk is what I tell myself about myself.  The raw material for self-talk is my experience interacting with the environment.  Where self-talk veers toward the danger zone is when, “I made a mistake” becomes “I am an idiot.”  I constantly make assumptions and draw conclusions about myself.  And the tendency is that negative self-talk is my default, whereas positive self-talk requires the extra effort to name it, own it and change it.

It’s a long time since I met the Little Engine.  I am…

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The Blind Football Player

3 Jun

by David Flament

After I bumped into the car stopped in the crosswalk having been distracted by a good intentioned passerby, I had a thought.  Losing your vision is a lot like playing football.  Now I am sure some of you are saying “What?  That is crazy.”  Let me explain.

In the game of football every player will make a bad play at some point during the game.  The good players realize that everyone can make a mistake and they continue to play as they had been doing before the bad play.  However, after making a bad play the bad player begins to doubt his skills and technique and the next thing you know, he’s making more mistakes.  Having confidence in your skills is just like being a good football player.  Do not let one mistake cause you to abandon your training.

You notice I used the word training.  Here is another way football is like losing your vision.  Football players do not just walk out on the field and play.  There is tons of training and preparation that goes on before they walk out on the field.  Coaches have probably been working with them all their lives, teaching them about how to play the game.

When you are losing your vision you do not just pick up a cane and know how to use it.  Just like the football player you need training before you are ready to hit the streets.  Getting training from a certified O&M (Orientation and Mobility) instructor is a must for safe travel and will help you to develop those good skills I mentioned earlier.  Getting ILS (Independent Living Skills) training is also important.  It will help you continue to work in your kitchen, around the house and even in the workplace.  Also, you can get AT (Adaptive Technology) training which will let you continue to use technology to do all the things you did with technology before your vision loss.

Finally, those good football players do not start out having tons of confidence in their skills.  That comes with getting the training.  So too will your confidence grow as you get the right training.  Good luck and have a good game!

David Flament is the lead instructor for all training classes and workshops on adaptive technology at Second Sense blind service organization.  “I love technology and want to share my passion — working with our clients is the most rewarding part of my job.”  David’s teaching philosophy follows an old Chinese proverb: “Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.” He will do his best to help students understand the materials and he expects them to do their best to learn.  David has a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Northeastern Illinois University.