A Day in the life of Julian of Norwich; fortnightly story series

One of our regular offerings for the Caravan of Unity bridging events is this story series based on the theme of ‘Awakening’;

A Day in the life of Julian of Norwich; fortnightly story series hosted by ISISIALLTHINGS

Julian of Norwich was a 14th Century mystic and visionary who understood the power of mindfulness and contemplation on our higher nature and sense of gratitude for life itself.  She became fully awakened when she had an NDE (near death experience) at 30 and was shown the totally unconditional love of the Source of all that is. The 16 visions she received sustained her spiritual inner world for over 40 years in self- isolation through many plagues, during which time she was inspired to write a book, “Divine Revelations of Love”.

Part 2 “The Power of Gratitude”

What was there to be grateful for after spending over 40 years in a tiny ante-room of the church and surviving several outbreaks of the bubonic plague called The Black Death in the 14th/15th Century?  Find out about the first book written by a woman in England, after her NDE (near death experience), in A Day in the Life of Julian of Norwich.

Follow the blog to keep updated on this story series, Part 3 will be shared on 9th June.

 

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James learned to love himself through sight loss, and now lives a full life of no regrets

Do you have an ‘Eye Inspire’ story of #Emerging Proud through Eye Sight Loss like James you’d like to share?

Please GET IN TOUCH HERE

Or contact: yvette@syncinspire.org

James didn’t need perfect sight to see a world philosophy that would set him up for life.

As his vision diminished, James’ love for himself grew, and holding the wise perspective that our own perception of ourselves can sometimes be the biggest hurdle to overcome has left him determined to live life to the full…

James Laird (1)

To those who read this, my name is James Laird, and this is my tale. Across my lifetime I have combated and thrived through a sight loss condition known as Retinitus Pigmentosa (RP). This condition means that my sight slowly deteriorates across my lifetime to an unknown end point. Despite this, I’ve endeavoured to live my life to its fullest capacity. If I had to have a life motto it would be that I aim to live a life without regrets. I have often found – in literature, pop culture and from the voices of others – that it isn’t the choices we make we regret, it’s the choices we don’t. Thus, I have taken every opportunity, seized upon every chance and tried to make the most from whatever has been put in front of me.

At an early age I was told that my sight would be temporary. At the time I was unable to fully grasp what this meant; though I do remember one event that brought some sobriety to my pre-teen mind. It was the moment I asked my mother if this meant my dream to become a racing driver was over. While she hid it well, the emotional backlash from my words was not lost upon me. I knew things were going to change, I just didn’t realise in what way. Over the coming years I thought deeply on my feelings, and I concluded I had a choice. I could succumb to the situation, allow my impairment to dictate to me what I would and wouldn’t do, how I would and wouldn’t live and what I would and wouldn’t experience – or I could make the most of the time I had.

When put in such a fashion the choice was easy to make, and from then until now I have never looked back. So, what are my experiences with sight loss? That is harder to answer than first thought. My life is a life experienced through the lens of sight loss. My perceptions, opinions and attitudes have all formed around this diminishing sense. It then becomes a matter of which experiences in a life full of adventure I wish to share – a ‘top moments’ if you will.

I could talk about my experiences travelling the world; visiting places like China, California, Thailand and Egypt. I could mention my time swimming at the sixth best beach in the world, scuba-diving with dolphins and whale sharks or even riding – crashing – a quad bike in the desert. I could even enlighten you all to my plight of surviving homelessness, persecution, starvation and being hunted by the authorities while attempting to live in one of the twenty-three nations I was lucky enough to travel too… but I think I will be saving those stories for another time. Instead I want to talk about my experiences coming to terms with the notion that I am worthy of love.

I am the first to admit that for a long time I struggled reconciling the idea that someone wouldn’t be ‘settling’ for me. I saw my impairment as something hideous, as a horrible deterrent that would push others away so only those who were willing to settle would accept me. I felt pitiable, that I was somehow… lesser than those around me. I combatted against this for a long time, even so far as refusing to accept a date with a woman I had ‘taken a fancy to’ out of the belief that I was unworthy of her. Self-sacrificial male that I was, I had somehow convinced myself this was a noble act. By the time I was sixteen I had yet to realise that I was more than a single aspect, that if someone else were to refuse me for who I am then I was better off without them. As I pondered the meaning of the universe – which if you ask any teenager is centred around themselves – I steadily concluded that I had more to offer a partner than my ‘lack of vision.’ I was smart, funny, stubborn – though I prefer to say determined or tenacious – and if given the right assistance from a rather talented family member, handsome in my own right.

While I perhaps couldn’t offer to drive my potential date to the movies after getting a bite to eat, I could still provide them with happiness. The world now, in my own opinion, is fantastic at sapping the joy from experiences. The youthful ignorance fades away to reveal a world that if given half a chance would take away your stolen moments of happiness. I learned that I had to ‘make’ my own happiness. That in the same way I would regret letting choices, chances and opportunities slip by; I could not rely on happiness finding me. I would go out and find it, and it was up to me to make of it what I could.

I realised that I was a person with faults, with merits and that my opinion mattered as much as anyone else’s – simply because it was my opinion. I had equal standing in the world, I had a more visceral ‘imperfection’ than others – but at least mine was on the outside. Others may have theirs hidden away, but we all have them; just so happens that mine is more – rather ironically if you think about it – visible.

Love came to me in many shapes, styles and formats. I have a family that love me, faults and all. Friends who would stand at my back in a fight, pick me up when I’m down, ask for my advice and who would trust me with their infant child. I am loved. I just needed to look beyond my own prejudice to see it. I may be blind, but I have a world view I would never change. I am who I am because I have lived my life through my experiences with sight loss. My attitudes, opinions, thoughts, behaviours are sculpted by the life that I’ve lived. I am sight loss. I am me.

Follow James on facebook here

And on Instagram: @jclaird94

Do you have an ‘Eye Inspire’ story of #Emerging Proud through Eye Sight Loss like James you’d like to share?

Please GET IN TOUCH HERE

Or contact: yvette@syncinspire.org

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2nd Meditations of Light offering to bridge #EmergingProud and the Caravan of Unity

This offering is a fortnightly meditation to celebrate #EmergingProud bridging with Co-Creating Europe’s #CaravanofUnity  

To follow the progress of the Caravan of Unity for World Peace day follow Co-Creating Europe on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/CoCreatingEurope/

Meditations of Light Series 

Hosted by Denise (ISISI ALL THINGS) and Sandy Veneziani.

Denise+Sandy

The 2nd offering in this meditation series

“Releasing Barriers” meditation

This meditation is the second in a series called Meditations of Light, which have been created for you by Sandy Veneziani from Peaceful Minds and hosted by Isisi Allthings, from All is Well healing. It is specially designed to bring a state of clarity and honesty during this time of the COVID19 pandemic.  It will help you to release any unspoken words and blocks in your communications caused by self-judgement and judgement of others and which are causing barriers in your home, friends or family relationships during the lock-down.

Sign up to Denise and Sandy’s channel Peaceful Minds, HERE 

Peaceful minds logo

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12th June; GROOVE again with us for inner and outer peace!

OUR 2nd LIVE GROOVE SESSION, HOSTED BY AMY 

A live online Groove session with the intention of dancing and connecting for inner & outer peace.

See what fun we had on our first session on #Emerging Proud day! 

This will be a monthly online Groove to celebrate #EmergingProud merging with Co-Creating Europe’s #CaravanofUnity  

To follow the progress of the Caravan of Unity for World Peace day follow Co-Creating Europe on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/CoCreatingEurope/

Friday 12th June at 8am PT, 4pm UK, 5pm CET

No booking needed! Just Join us in the Zoom room by clicking on this link at the time of the session;

Meeting ID: 956 1205 9389

Password: groove

If you enjoy the session and can, please consider supporting Amy’s efforts with a DONATION HERE, thank you ❤

 

Groove is a dynamically interactive and creative group dance experience. With great music your facilitator will Unite everyone in a simple movement or rhythm but you get to dance it in your own Unique way, while exploring a variety of different styles and genres. You will experience everything from slow, delicious meditative grooves to heart thumping and strength building cardio beats. The perfect recipe to nurture your mind, body, heart and soul.
No fancy equipment, coordination or dance experience is required. Just come as you are! You really can’t get it wrong 🙂
What to expect:
Groove truths
The session will consist of;
A gentle warm up
Full on groove session
cool down and stillness/ meditation at the end
What to bring: Your laptop or phone with camera to connect via Zoom! (Feel free to have your camera off if you prefer to dance in private) Comfy clothes, water and a yoga mat if you want lay down for stillness.
This is such a fun way to move your body, tap into your creativity and express who you are on the dance floor. To find out more about Groove please go to:

If you enjoy the session and can, please consider supporting Amy’s efforts with a DONATION HERE, thank you ❤

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Bridging event offerings taking us towards the Caravan of Unity Sept event series

A huge thank you to all of you who supported our final #EmergingProud annual celebration events, either by hosting an event, showing up and taking part, or even sharing on social media; any input was, and is, most gratefully received.

As most of you are now aware, from now on we will be hosting regular online bridging events until September to mark our merging with Co-Creating Europe’s #CaravanofUnity 

To follow the progress of the Caravan of Unity please follow Co-Creating Europe’s Facebook page HERE and BLOG HERE. Please ensure you do this as the blog posts on this page will not feature the Caravan activities from September this year.

Keep watching this blog for news on more events coming very soon; there’ll be more embodied movement with Amy’s GROOVE, Yoga with Jordana and even a live hypnosis session, poetry event, Kirtan and a live stream for Summer Solstice!

One of our regular bridging offerings is a;

Meditations of Light Series 

Here we offer you the 2nd meditation in the series… “Releasing Barriers” meditation

This meditation is the second in a series called Meditations of Light, which have been created for you by Sandy Veneziani from Peaceful Minds and hosted by Isisi Allthings, from All is Well healing. It is specially designed to bring a state of clarity and honesty during this time of the COVID19 pandemic.  It will help you to release any unspoken words and blocks in your communications caused by self-judgement and judgement of others and which are causing barriers in your home, friends or family relationships during the lock-down.

Sign up to Denise and Sandy’s channel Peaceful Minds, HERE 

Thank you ❤

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Declan is Kinda Proud that he achieved what he set his sights on, and urges that you can too!

Do you have an ‘Eye Inspire’ story of #Emerging Proud through Eye Sight Loss like Declan you’d like to share?

Please GET IN TOUCH HERE

Or contact: yvette@syncinspire.org

Declan Ryan doesn’t give up easily. Sometimes being told you can’t do something makes us even more determined, and Declan is no stranger to determination. Once told he wouldn’t even be able to graduate from senior school due to his visual disability, Declan is now racing towards new goals he’d never dreamed possible. As he says; if you set your mind to something, then any obstacle can be overcome…

Declan (1)

I was born with LCA (Lebers Congenital Amaurosis). Despite being told I would be totally blind by the age of 10 and also being misdiagnosed, I had a normal childhood and education up until it came time for high school. Both the school’s principal and my mother thought it would be a good idea if I attended a public high school instead of a private school so I would get the proper vision services I was entitled to through New York State Commission for the Blind.  Little did we know that it would be the beginning of an extensive battle with New York lawmakers and Board of Education officials. I was told to choose 12 schools that I wanted to attend and based on that list I would be placed in one of them. When the decision day came, I was only given one out of the 12 options I chose, and it just so happened to be the last choice on the list.

For lack of a better term the school was not ideal for someone with a visual impairment or any other handicap for that matter. Upon advice of school officials, I went anyway just to give it a test run during a normal school day. It was made clear that within an hour of me being there it was not going to be a safe fit for a blind student. After talking with that high schools administration, they informed me that I should take my concerns along with their recommendations to the New York department of education and have them assign me to one of the other schools I had chosen that would be best accommodating for someone who was visually impaired. This would only lead to a lengthy drawn out battle that involved lawyers and confronting the school’s chancellor and former mayor of New York face to face.
Once again I went around to schools I felt best fit me and all of them pretty much turned a deaf ear to a blind child. One of which even went as far as to tell me directly they were not equipped to handle someone who is handicapped whilst a student in a wheelchair passed by in front of me.  It was at that point that home school became the only viable option for my freshman year of high school.
By some miracle one day my mother ran into the mom of a former classmate of mine and they started discussing my issue. It was only then my former classmates mom recommended the school that her child was in. Going based on her recommendation we figured it couldn’t hurt for me to interview at that school. The next morning, I walked in and was greeted by the high school principal who asked me one simple question, what do I want out of my high school career? To which I replied I only want a chance at a fair education. At that moment the principal said, OK fine you start first thing tomorrow and we will assist you with whatever services you need. At that time, it became clear the nightmare of dealing with New York politicians and the board of education would finally come to an end. Dealing with lawyers and politicians at an early age is never easy but it prepared me for life‘s adventures that lay ahead.

The remainder of my high school education was mostly uneventful up until it came time for the dreaded SAT in my senior year. Like some students I didn’t want to take the test and had to deal with teachers and guidance counsellors wanting to know why I did not want to go to college. Every time I was asked the question I would always respond with; college is not for me I want to pursue my dream of becoming a New York City firefighter. This is a dream of mine that I still hold to this day. Despite not wanting to take the SAT exam I listened to the advice of my mom and took it anyway just as a fallback. Upon graduating high school which was something those in the New York Department of Education thought I could never do, I ended up attending college after all since the exam to become a firefighter was not being given yet. Needless to say, I still found a way to pursue firefighting by getting my associates degree in fire science. Most would think that a blind person cannot become a firefighter and to a certain extent they are correct. However back in 2018 my dream became partial reality when the exam finally opened, and I passed! That’s correct I once again did something most thought could not be accomplished; I successfully passed the written exam to become a New York City firefighter. Whilst that would be the furthest I could pursue my dream for now, the fact still remains that I graduated college with the knowledge of firefighting and passed the exam to become one of New York’s bravest.

Some would say that when one door closes another one opens; I like to think this is true with my dream of becoming a firefighter and to what has now become my running career. I first got into running back in 2009 while training to run a 5K race put on by the Tunnel to Towers foundation. Ironically enough this race and its foundation were created in honour of a fallen New York City firefighter. Once again society would think that someone who is visually impaired, or blind, can’t participate in mainstream running events, but anything is possible if you put your mind to it and learn to adapt and overcome. When I first started training, I would run in New York’s iconic central park or at a local soccer field on days when weather was not favourable for recreational teams or Little League.  Yes, my vision was getting worse, but I was still able to see someone in front of me and detect an obstacle that might be in the way. When it came time to actually run the 5K race my sister reluctantly volunteered, she is not a runner! However, running alongside me the entire way we finished the 3.1 mile race with a time of just over 40 minutes. Since then it has become an annual tradition that we run this race every year and in doing so it led me to want to push my body further and run longer distances.
So, what better way to push yourself then get the idea that one day you can run the New York marathon which is 26.2 miles. Not being crazy like myself my sister did not want to partake in this adventure, so it was up to me to figure out a way to make this happen. For a couple of years, the idea of running New York’s marathon was just a bucket list item until October 2018. After graduating college and not working full-time sitting around got boring really quick and wanting to get out and be active running seemed like a good idea. After making posts on social media to see if anyone wanted to run with a blind guy, I was put in contact with the Achilles international organization. This organization partners able body athletes with those who have disabilities it wants to get back into mainstream sports. It just so happened that one of the volunteers to answer my posting was training another visually impaired runner to partake in the New York marathon. They offered to have me come run with them to see if it was something I was interested in doing. On our first training run I was lucky to make it 4 miles without having to stop and take a break. On that training run in October the trainer asked me what I wanted to do in terms of running races. I answered with one day I would like to run the New York marathon, to which he replied OK you will run it next year in 2019 with me. Even with only being able to make it 4 miles the fact somebody was willing to train me to run 26.2 miles shows us all the kindness that people have towards those with disabilities despite the negativity we can face at times.
I often get the question of, how do you run a race if you cannot see? The answer is simple the visually impaired athlete and a sighted guide hold onto a tether and simply go running. It is up to both the athlete and guide to be aware of what is going on at all times. The guide has to make sure they are giving the correct signals to the blind athlete as to avoid injury and it is up to the athlete to pay attention to every verbal and felt sense signal given through the tether to make sure there are no accidents. Having to trust someone with your safety whilst running is scary to some at times and accidents can happen, I’ve had enough of my fair share of bumps and bruises that  I’d be able to write my own book on them but the main thing is if you have fun doing something it’s not about how hard you fall but how you get back up and go again. The reality of participating in one of the worlds largest races did not sink in fully until I received the registration confirmation, I would actually be participating in one of the worlds largest running events.

In January 2019 it was time to put training as a priority running 4 miles quickly turned into a 6-mile training run and thanks to my trainer, members of his family and other volunteers with Achilles international 6 miles rapidly became running a 10 and 15 K. By the end of the summer in 2019 I had completed my longest race to date of 18 miles in Central Park.  Three weeks later it was time for the marathon, Super Bowl Sunday for those in the running community if you will.  Time to put a year’s worth of training and exercise to the test. My guide, another volunteer and I got to the start line and before the smoke from the Start cannon cleared, we were off to the finish line. Being born and raised in New York you don’t realize just how long the city can be until you are running through the streets of it. Whilst running through the streets my trainer reiterated the three promises he made back when we were training. You will not be the last person to cross the finish line, you will not be the first to cross the finish line, but you will cross it safely in one piece. Slightly over six hours later he was correct we had finished my first ever full length marathon.
My next adventure is going to be running the New York 60 K which is a nearly 40 mile race and just like training for the marathon and achieving A proper high school education and passing the fire fighter exam, I’m ready and willing to meet the challenges that come with training for it.

Despite what others may tell you anything is definitely possible if you put your mind to it, remember you will just have to adapt and overcome.  If I can do it then so can you!!

Follow Declan’s progress on social media here;

Instagram; NYNJrunner556

Facebook; Declan Ryan

Do you have an ‘Eye Inspire’ story of #Emerging Proud through Eye Sight Loss like Declan you’d like to share?

Please GET IN TOUCH HERE

Or contact: yvette@syncinspire.org

 

 

 

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Dave, The Blind Poet, is KindaProud that his tunnel of darkness has inspired him to provide the light of hope to others all over the world

Do you have an ‘Eye Inspire’ story of #Emerging Proud through Eye Sight Loss you’d like to share?

Please GET IN TOUCH HERE

Or contact: yvette@syncinspire.org

Sometimes it’s going through our darkest times that directs us towards our inner light which we can then use to shine bright and lead the way for others out of their own darkness. This is exactly the journey Dave found himself travelling… 

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