A Day in the life of Julian of Norwich; fortnightly story series, Part 7

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 7 “Julian & Margery Discuss Life” from A Day in the Life of Julian of Norwich.

Margery Kempe asks Julian of Norwich some very interesting questions about life, pain and suffering, after their lunch of pease pottage. These are things Lady Julian has been pondering on for the last 40 years in her cell as an anchorite and she feels well qualified to give her opinion on them.

 

Follow the blog to keep updated on this story series, Part 8 will be shared on 18th August. 

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Christopher never says never to seeing new possibilities on his horizon

Life can be all about perception and what we choose to focus on. After a loss, we can choose to focus only on that loss moving forwards or, like Christopher, learn to use our story for our purpose and set new goals to accomplish. Christopher knows that this can make life not only meaningful, but even fun!

My name is Christopher Warner and I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I was born with a condition called hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. To relieve the pressure from the fluid build up around my brain, a shunt consisting of two catheters and a small back-flow reservoir valve was installed in my body when I was three-months old. The shunt drains fluid from the ventricles of my brain to another part of my body where it can be better absorbed.

Despite having to go in for annual revisions to the shunt as I grew, I had a pretty normal childhood. I went to regular public schools, got good grades, and participated in everything my classmates did, with the exception of some physical education classes. There was always a risk of damage to the shunt, so any activity where the teachers believed I might get hurt, I had to either sit out or wear a hockey helmet, and I was never allowed to play any contact sports.

The shunt revisions stopped at age 10 because the surgeon told me he put in some extra catheter for me to “grow into” as he put it. His plan worked really well for the next 21 years.

Fast forward to 2005. I was living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, had been married for nine years, and had a great job working in my chosen career at a television station. One day in October of that year, I wasn’t feeling well and needed to be taken to hospital. I had emergency surgery to replace my shunt because it had failed. In fact, there were two surgeries within a 24-hour period because the first one didn’t work.

When I woke up from that second surgery, all I could see was light and shadow.

Upon investigation, it was discovered I had experienced a stroke sometime between the two surgeries. The part of my brain that processes eyesight had been starved for blood due to the pressure put on it by the fluid around my brain.  My eyes were fine, but my brain was not processing the signals from my eyes. The neurosurgeon told me I would likely recover some of my sight, but he couldn’t tell me how much. He said to give it a year and see what happened.

Seven months later, on a return visit to the neurosurgeon, he said I had likely recovered as much as I was going to, a sentiment that was echoed by the neuro-ophthalmologist at the hospital. By that point, I had recovered some sight, but was still considered legally blind.

In the two to three years that followed the stroke, I went through all five stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance while I grieved the person I had been before my sight loss. Family and friends, along with the doctors and staff from CNIB, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, were very helpful in my recovery. I was provided with helpful tools and assistance in regaining my abilities and self confidence.

In the time after the stroke, while I was recovering at home, my wife suggested I keep a journal of my experiences, thoughts, and feelings while I recovered. Some friends and family members said they would like to read the journal some day, which inspired me to write my first book, a memoir called ‘Life’s not Over, It Just Looks Different.’

I self-published the book, meaning I was in charge of everything from hiring someone to edit it, to marketing and promoting it. Since its release in 2016, the book has sold in five countries, including Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The book was released in print and e-book, which is my preferred way to read now, because my smart phone reads the book to me.

I thought the memoir would be my one and only book release, but I really liked the process of writing, editing, and everything involved in the marketing and promoting of it, so I decided that if another book idea came along, I would love to do it again.

In 2018, I was doing a presentation on behalf of CNIB for a class of Grade one students, and during the presentation I was asked about guide dogs. Another child raised her hand and asked why there aren’t any guide cats, and we had some fun talking about the behaviour of cats and why they would not make a good guide.

Back at the CNIB office, I was talking to a colleague about the presentation and the conversation about guide cats. He thought it was funny and asked if I had ever thought of writing a children’s book. That gave me an idea, and I set to work thinking of other animals a person would have misadventures with if they were used as guides.

With the help of a friend who is a very talented artist, we created Tommy Wants a Guide Dog, the story of a young boy with sight loss and a big imagination. Since its release in April, 2020, it has sold in three countries.

Prior to losing my sight, I had adopted the philosophy that I am on this planet for fun, and although my sight loss definitely tested that thinking, it did not break me. Over the past 15 years I have travelled more places, met amazing people, and accomplished things I had never imagined when I was fully sighted.

These days, I’m still doing presentations on behalf of CNIB, as well as speaking about my books. There are many ideas on the go in my computer, so I don’t know what my next book will be about or when it will be released, but I’ve learned to never say never and just keep having fun.

 

Follow Christopher on Instagram @lifesnotover_ca and @nakokitabooks

His book websites are www.lifesnotover.ca and www.nakokitabooks.com

Due for publication later this year, our next inspirational pocket book of hope;

Eye Inspire; #Emerging Proud through Eye Sight Loss

LIVE online launch on WORLD SIGHT DAY 8th October 2020; CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP 

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Alice is Kinda Proud that she has been able to succeed as a V.I.P. (Visually Impaired Person)

Alice now encourages others with a sight impairment to utilise the things that helped her succeed in realising her dreams; not being afraid to ask for support, finding a community which can act as your rock, and practicing positive self- talk. Now Alice sings her own song…

My name is Alice Cadman and I have a rare eye condition called Stargardt’s Disease. I am a professional singer and run a primary school music organisation, Sing Education.

I grew up with completely ‘normal’ vision, although when I look back, there were hints at some strange things going on with my vision right back to always wanting the light on as a child, even on a bright summer’s day. I attended regular eye tests, I was an avid reader, could sight-read music fluently as a singer, oboist and pianist and I learnt to drive. It wasn’t until I was aged twenty-two and beginning my first year of a music degree at a conservatoire that I started to notice changes in my vision. My friends had to jump around so that I could find them. I became a nervous driver – lanes suddenly seemed to disappear, and I once only noticed a parked lorry just in time.

I went for an optician’s appointment, expecting to come out with a lovely pair of glasses. But the optician spotted something strange and gave me a referral. Fast forward a few months and I received a letter for an appointment at a genetic clinic. I was confused – no one in my family has a major problem with their eyes, I thought – ‘it must be a mistake!’

At the appointment, they did some tests and diagnosed me with macular dystrophy. My memory of this appointment is vague – I wasn’t prepared for it, I wasn’t expecting them to tell me that something was seriously wrong with my sight. Had I caused it somehow? Aside from giving up driving straight away, I carried on living as I had before, with little knowledge of the condition and not yet ready to seek help. It was only as I started to tell friends and family about it and as I began to discuss my needs at university, that I realised this might have quite an impact on my life.

I was soon introduced to a university tutor who supported students with extra learning needs. We got on well and as it happened, she had a very similar eye condition. I know that meeting this tutor so early on in my sight loss journey had a hugely positive impact on the years that followed and on how Stargardt’s impacted my life. Meeting her meant that I was prepared for what was to come. My new friend and tutor warned me that doctors might suggest I needed time out of university, or that I might be told I should not expect to work. She showed me that somebody could thrive in the working world, despite vision loss. She taught me that life with sight loss was likely to be a challenge, that it wasn’t going to be an easy ride, that the world can be very unfair for people living with disabilities. But alongside that, she taught me that if you’re willing to work hard and to advocate for yourself and others, you could show the world that sight loss is not a barrier.

Eventually, aged twenty-four, I was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease and was registered as ‘sight impaired’. Stargardt’s is a juvenile, inherited condition, meaning that it usually comes out in childhood or early adulthood and is passed on genetically. No one in my family had Stargardt’s – or had ever heard of it! Stargardt’s affects your central vision, which is ‘where you look’, but it also deals with fine detail, straight lines and colour. When I was first diagnosed, I had a small missing patch of vision in my left eye. I remember constantly closing one eye and then the other. What would I do when it showed up in both eyes? I wouldn’t be able to cope then, surely? I shared this worry with another tutor at my music college, who, with family experience of sight loss, encouraged me not to live in fear, thinking every day – “will it be worse tomorrow?”

University was simultaneously a wonderful and challenging place to deal with the onset of sight loss. On one hand, I had amazing friends and tutors around me who supported and encouraged me. On the other hand, I had some difficult conversations with people who did not understand what was happening to me. I struggled to get some essential support I needed having not yet learnt the skills to fight for accessibility. I very quickly realised that if I was going to do well in my degree, I was going to have to work extra hard. I was going to have to exercise my right to complain when I wasn’t given support and was going to have to learn to be organised!

I led a full student life; studying, teaching singing, piano and classroom music and working as a waiter at parties and bars. Towards the end of my degree, I founded Sing Education, with my (now) husband, and a friend. By the time I graduated, my vision had deteriorated quite a bit, leaving me with a large blank patch in the middle of both eyes and flashing white and green lights over the top.

My Christian faith sustained me through this time and continues to be my rock. I had a loving church community around me who built me up, alongside the support of my husband, close friends and family. I believed that God would use my visual impairment to help others. This seemed like an unlikely dream at the time, however, I eventually reached a stage where Stargardt’s was no longer a negative thing in my life. Being visually impaired was something I had come to like about myself. I found that opportunities related to sight loss started coming my way: I received some funding grants and met many wonderful people. I now teach singing to a young girl who is blind; I’ve been involved in a project with The Amber Trust to empower other music teachers to teach children who are blind or partially sighted; I’ve sung in The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace at an art event for visually impaired people; I’ve led sight loss awareness school assemblies; and I run an Instagram account, @life_as_a_vip, to raise awareness of visual impairment.

I find that life as a visually impaired person (a “VIP”) is a balancing act between proving that I can overcome the challenges of sight loss and be positive and successful, while also showing people that there are an array of daily challenges, mainly because society is simply not set up for people with disabilities. I believe with education and awareness, the world can become a more welcoming place for those with sight loss.

I encourage you to speak positively over yourselves – there is power in words. I encourage you to learn to describe your needs with confidence. I know this can be hard, but it is so worthwhile and will last you a lifetime. I encourage you to find a community where you can listen to and learn from one another. I encourage you to embrace technology – it is going to be your best friend. I encourage you to accept support and to grasp good opportunities when they come your way.

Find out more about Alice and her projects on social media;

Instagram handle @life_as_a_vip

Website: www.lifeasavip.com

Business website: www.singeducation.co.uk (being updated)

Singing website: www.alicecadman.co.uk

Due for publication later this year, our next inspirational pocket book of hope;

Eye Inspire; #Emerging Proud through Eye Sight Loss

LIVE online launch on WORLD SIGHT DAY 8th October 2020; CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP 

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A Day in the life of Julian of Norwich; fortnightly story series, Part 6

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 6 “Margery Kempe’s Visions & Portents”

After breakfasting, Julian of Norwich talks with her mystical and colourful visitor Margery Kempe about their supernatural experiences and their religious visions. Each of them became famous centuries later, for having written a book about these shewings in the 14/15th Centuries in medieval England.

Follow the blog to keep updated on this story series, Part 7 will be shared on 4th August. 

 

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#Emerging Proud through Eye Sight Loss; World Sight Day Live launch event news!

Due for publication later this year, our next inspirational pocket book of hope;

Eye Inspire; #Emerging Proud through Eye Sight Loss

LIVE online launch on WORLD SIGHT DAY 8th October 2020; CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP 

LIVE online launch on WORLD SIGHT DAY 8th October 2020; CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP 

In addition to the book’s Rep and Eye Inspire project Founder, Yvette, all Contributors have faced going blind at some point in their lives, and all the turmoil that foreboding brings. But rather than become victims to futures of darkness, each and every one of them have used this darkness to spark their inner light.

Keep watching this blog for updates! This book will be available in paperback, E-Book and Audio versions

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

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6th 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 subscribe to the newsletter at https://co-creating-europe.eu/caravan-of-unity/

Meditations of Light Series 

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

Denise+Sandy

The 6th offering in this meditation series

 “Self-Acceptance”

This 6th and last meditation in this series, is especially designed to look at our self-acceptance during COVID19. Do we acknowledge in love who we really are, warts and all, or are we allowing current challenges to cloud our view of ourselves? Do we need to dig deep to see the truth of who we really are and that we are totally accepted, or do we just need to come back to centre?

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

Peaceful minds logo

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A Disorder 4 Everyone Global Festival – grab your place!

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AD4E online festival on September 18th.
We will be bringing together allies from all over the world for 14 hours of talks-poetry-interviews-presentations-videos-drama-panel-music, all challenging the pathologising of emotional distress.
Dip in and out at your leisure. Most of it will be recorded so that registrants can watch at a later date.
This is a fundraising event with a minimum fee of £1 to maximise accessibility. Please make a donation based on what you can afford, so that AD4E can continue its work. After covering costs, funds will go towards our future events, enabling us to offer more low cost or free places for people who can’t afford to pay.
Confirmed contributors:
 
Dr Lucy Johnstone
Indigo Daya
Dr Akima Thomas
Prof Emmy van Deurzen
Dr Gabor Maté
Ruth Dixon
Paula J Caplan PhD
Pat McArdle
Bob Whitaker
Johann Hari
Mica Gray
Dr Karen Treisman
Michelle Benjamin
Prof Peter Kinderman
Sanah Ahsan
Stevie Lewis
Laura Delano
Dr James Davies
Dr Joanne Cacciatore
Matt Ball
Anita D
James and the Disorders
Prof John Read
Sally-Ann
Viv Gordon
Lydia Daisy
Jo Watson 

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE!

Hosted by;
Jo
Jo Watson (@dropthedisorder) is a psychotherapist and activist with a history in the U.K. Rape Crisis movement of the 1990’s. She has worked therapeutically for the last 24 years with those who have been victims of sexual abuse /violence and has campaigned on women’s survivor issues for the past 3 decades.
Jo actively challenges the biomedical model of ‘mental health’, arguing that emotional distress and suffering is primarily a result of what people have experienced, which all too often arises within social injustices that need to be named.  She campaigns against the pathologising of people via the labels of psychiatry and promotes  trauma informed responses to emotional distress that help people to tell their stories and make meaning and connections.
Jo is the organiser of the one day event ‘A Disorder For Everyone!’
AD4E platforms a growing team of allies, both professionals and survivors, from around the UK and beyond. It is now in its 3rd year of touring the UK, challenging the ‘diagnosis and disorder’ approach.
Jo presently represents the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) on a steering committee for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence working on creating guidelines for psychological therapists on prescribed psychoactive drugs.
Jo started the facebook group ‘Drop the Disorder!’ in 2016 in order to offer a space for people to discuss related issues that has over 8.5k members worldwide. https://bit.ly/2vUV2dL
She is part of the Mad in the U.K. team www.madintheuk.com
as well as being a founding member of ‘United for Integrity in Mental Health’ (UIMH) due to be launched in 2019.

The AD4E team are Jo Watson, Lucy Johnstone, Nollaig McSwenney & Jacqui Dillon See bios at http://www.adisorder4everyone.com

AD4E is an event committed to accessibility and safety for everyone. Racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic and other disrepectful behaviour is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

#Emerging Proud supports the work of Jo and her team at AD4E ❤

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE!

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Kai is Kinda Proud that he has learned to define himself, rather than allowing his sight loss to define him

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

Kai Owens from Georgia in the US is determined to be the best version of himself he can possibly be; being classed as legally blind doesn’t stop him setting his sights on dreams that many sighted people don’t even hold; what an inspiration he is at only 17! Hear what Kai gets up to below …

            I am a legally blind action sports enthusiast. I surf, skate, and I am sponsored for skim-boarding. I am also a musician; I play rock and blues locally, but spend most of my time practicing extreme metal. I also have had the highest GPA in my grade for six of the past seven years (one year of those six was a tie). I refuse to let anything stand in the way of my goals and dreams. I believe that anyone can accomplish anything if they are willing to put in the time and work.

I started losing my vision in 3rd grade at the age of 10. My parents knew something was wrong because I started having super bad anxiety for the first time ever, and we began the trips to doctors trying to figure out why. My mom then realized that it was something to do with my vision when I was writing on a paper and kept starting in the middle of the page. So we went to an eye doctor and they could not fix my vision with glasses, so they sent us on the journey to several other eye doctors where I was eventually diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. But it was seemingly unusual. And now, I am back to doctors once more trying to figure out what it is exactly. I am now 17 and have very little central vision except for a small spot in the center of each eye, and I still have some of my peripheral vision.

I grew up doing board sports from as young as 3 years old. My older brother liked skateboarding, so I learned quickly. By age five, I was dropping in on five foot quarter pipes and trying to shred.   I also began skim-boarding at around age 4 on our occasional beach trips. Jumping forward several years, I attended a skim-boarding camp on my home beach with World Champion Austin Keen. He was impressed and very supportive and ended up helping me get sponsored by the company that he rides for, Exile Skimboards. I began attending competitions which ended in varying levels of success but definitely surprised the audience when they were told I am legally blind. In the middle of all of this, I learned to surf, wakeboard, longboard, and recently, I learned to snowboard. I met many challenges in these sports but none were impassible. I always found ways around my obstacles. In skateboarding, I usually skate with my cane, and just make sure I know the area and spot I am skating. In skim-boarding, I learn how the waves break at whatever beach I am at and find the placement and timing of the waves with my remaining sight, but if the glare is strange on the water I can have a friend call out when to go for a wave. In snowboarding, I had a guide wearing a vest calling out turns while riding in front of me, so I could follow his path, and we would sometimes go over the basic route of the run before starting down the slope and stopped when I needed more information on the slope.

I began my journey in music at age 12 on drum-set. Now, I have been playing for nearly seven years and have played many gigs and learned tons of songs. I am especially interested in progressive metal and technical deathcore, where the drumming is insane. From odd time signatures to nested tuplets and metric modulation, I am fascinated with advanced rhythmic concepts. Out of this love for drumming came an interest in all music theory and all types of music. I now plan to attend college for music theory and composition with plans to be a performer and possibly a professor.

In school, I have also had my challenges and successes. I had to learn braille and assistive technology to be able to access material for honors and AP classes, and braille has been one of the most important things I have ever learned. I also use a cane for all my travel and have been approved for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes and am awaiting a match. Learning the hard things and putting in the extra work is what I had to do to be successful. As someone with a visual impairment, there are no shortcuts; it is all just grinding out the work that needs to be done and learning the necessary skills.

Nothing is easy if it is worthwhile. Learning and perfecting a skill takes time and no matter what your physical abilities are that stands true. So along with this ideology, I had to accept my vision loss quickly and fully, because I had goals and refused to be left in the dust. I am legally blind, and I would rather be the best visually impaired version of myself than be in denial pretending like everything was okay while being a fake, unsuccessful person acting sighted. Refusing to accept your situation will never make it better, and if I hadn’t accepted myself, I would not have accomplished anything near what I have now. Being blind/VI is one part of a person, do not let it define you; define yourself.

Follow Kai at: https://www.facebook.com/navigatingblindness/ 

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

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A Day in the life of Julian of Norwich; fortnightly story series, Part 5

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 5 “Margery Kempe and the Hazelnut”

Lady Julian meets Margery Kempe in the tiny church garden and reveals that she is secretly writing the long version of her book, to which news Margery excitedly responds in delight as she also wishes to write an account, but a more bawdy tale about her shortcomings and colourful lifestyle as well as her visions and lamentations as a humble sinner.

Follow the blog to keep updated on this story series, Part 6 will be shared on 21st July. 

 

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