18 Feb 2015

Seeing a Brighter Future

“As we rise to meet the challenges that are a natural part of living

we awaken to our many undiscovered gifts, to our inner power and our purpose.”

Susan L. Taylor

My journey as a writer and inspirational speaker has brought me to a wonderful NEW opportunity! To give more presentations this year.

To give some of you more of an introduction to my life’s journey, this post is an excerpt of an interview I was invited to do with the editor of Exceptions Journal | The Art & Literary Journal for Students with Visual Disabilities in the USA.

How did you get to where you are today?

In a nutshell – with a determined heart, a resourceful way of thinking and with tenacity of spirit. My father likes to say I’m stubborn but I don’t agree and won’t hear of it!

My aspiration to become an artist emerged around the age of tenand my parents encouraged me to pursue my deep appreciation of drawing, especially my Spanish mother who had many talents in the creative arts.

My English father was a lecturer and researcher in ‘Romance Languages’ at University and on some Sunday afternoons, I pestered him until he agreed to take me to the empty university as my heart was fixed on one mission: to draw in the private classroom with coloured chalk on the wide blackboard.

But a few years later, I was struggling to see anything on the blackboard at all. An alarming inability to see my school work at fifteen, led to a serious investigation and countless tedious tests. It took the skill of fifteen Opthalmologists and other specialists to deliver the definitive diagnosis. I had an incurable eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and was pensioned off as legally blind.

How do you think this has affected your experience of life ?

I do remember a defiant spirit rise within my young heart that I would take the obstacle of vision loss as a challenge, and not view my life as limited.

I have learned through this experience that often it is my attitude that will bring me victory or defeat in what I am trying to attain. Instead of saying what I can’t do, I look for realistic ways to reach my goals. Sometimes this might be on my own and at other times it involves seeking assistance from others.

I have learned a beautiful truth that to ask for help when you really could use a sighted person’s eyes is not a sign of weakness but actually gives both of you a wonderful opportunity to interact and to achieve together – the classic win-win situation.

What have been the most important resources for you in adapting to vision loss?

My personal philosophy is that there is an ART in being blind.

Life is about developing our skills in whatever career or hobby we choose to master. The only difference with losing sight, is that we didn’t choose this ‘vocation’.

Obviously, as the organ of sight weakens, we are forced to rely on our other senses. Apart from these sensitivities, three personal qualities that have proven to be powerful resources in my life are attitude, intuition and memory.

I have found trusting my intuition to guide me when sight cannot, and improving my ability to remember the smallest of detail, to be the two best friends of attitude.

What do you write about? 

My writing is mainly nonfiction, memoir type stories where I reflect on many aspects as a person facing the gateway to blindness.

Ideas jostle to be written and, like children, I have to ask them to kindly wait their turn.

On good writing days, inspiration flows and often situations that occur as I travel or the funny things people say end up being my published stories.

But on those very difficult days, I can feel like I’m stuck in a sand bunker slogging out words that won’t lift out of the sandpit of this writer’s despair.

I have learned, as in life in general, to let it go, take a break and come back later.

“The first draft reveals the art, revision reveals the artist.” Michael Lee

 What role do you think storytelling plays in our human experience?

When we open to the sharing of our personal stories, we feel the connectedness with others. Every single person has a challenge in their lives and they will be confronted to face it at some point.

It may be a health issue, the diagnosis of pending blindness, a mental illness, a relationship incompatibility, a financial concern, a family crisis – we have been enrolled in the school of life, and when we find others in our similar situation, it is like opening a window to a heart-warming realisation: we are not alone.
Cradled at Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

To read the in depth interview please visit Exceptions Journal:

Over to you now, please share how you have met your own challenges along the journey to a brighter future, we’d love to hear YOUR story…

You might also like to read…

Benefit #1 Being Blind: you are the rose among the thorns

8-Threads to weave into the garment of change

3 Easy Ways to hopscotch into your dreams

© 2015 Maribel Steel

1 comment:

Giovanni Tavakolli said...

Madam Maribel Steel,

Life is about developing our skills in whatever career or hobby’s we choose to master. Actually no difference between career and losing sight, we choose also again this ‘vocation’. Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a mistake diagnose in the level of international Ophthalmologist. Today, it is like opening a window to every blindness, the cane is also the past. You can’t change the past, but you can change today and tomorrow. You can also recover of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).

You are welcome,

Giovanni Tavakolli,