#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 

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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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Jesse Dufton emerged proud at the top of his climbing blind challenge

Jesse proves that, with a ‘can- do’ attitude, perseverance and the belief that there is a solution to every problem, anything is achievable. With his sight deteriorating from a very young age, Jesse has found a way around the challenges that most sighted people wouldn’t deem possible. Accepting and giving support to his team-mates, resulted in towering strength for Jesse…

 

Jesse Eye Inspire Headshot

June 4th 2019

As I sat on the stony beach listening to the waves and feeling the wind and rain hit my face, I reflected on how my Scottish weather luck had finally ended. Climbers like myself often fall in love with the wild highlands that offer us a world-class adventure playground, but the capricious nature of the weather is not so endearing. I had been riding on a string of good weather luck across my trips north. In Reiff, Arran and the Cairngorms the weather had been blessedly benevolent. It seemed unfortunate then that my luck had run out on the day of my most significant climb to date. I was about to attempt to climb the Old Man of Hoy, a jewel of British climbing which is highly prized.

I sat with members of the film crew and hoped the weather would improve. Climbing in the rain is miserable, difficult and dangerous and the drone which would film me climbing couldn’t fly in high winds.

So why would my ascent be filmed? Probably because I’m an unusual climber. I carry a genetic mutation which has gradually robbed me of my sight. I lost the ability to read years ago and when I climb, I can’t see any of the hand or foot holds or the climbing safety equipment as I place it. This is particularly significant as I would be leading this climb. Climbers normally climb as a pair with one leader who climbs up first and places the safety equipment into naturally occurring cracks as they go, and a seconder who climbs afterwards and retrieves the equipment as they follow up. Leading is hugely more difficult than seconding. You must hold on longer in order to place the gear and because the rope goes down from you, the consequences of falling off are dramatic and serious. This leads to the extra psychological difficulty of controlling the inherent fear. Because of this the routes which climbers lead are usually the yardstick by which they measure themselves. A blind person leading a route which is considered serious by experienced sighted climbers is somewhat unusual, to say the least!

So how did I find myself about to attempt something beyond the comprehension of most? I like to joke that I didn’t have much choice about getting into climbing. My Dad was part of a Mountain Rescue Team and took me climbing as soon as I could walk. I seconded my first route aged 2 and led my first route aged 11. The fact that I had been diagnosed as severely sight impaired aged 4 didn’t seem to be an issue as far as my parents were concerned, and I am eternally grateful that they instilled a can-do attitude in me from an early age.

I was born with no peripheral vision and only about 20% of central vision. I could just about guess at letters on the third line of the optician’s eye chart. This isn’t a great baseline, but for me it was the high point of my sight.

Despite my failing sight, I did well academically and went on to study Chemistry at the University of Bath. People often ask how I managed this, given I could never see well enough to read the board and had to struggle with a magnifier to read textbooks. I think 2 things are key. First,  I was  brutal about focusing in on the important information, and secondly, I worked  out mnemonics to help myself remember it. For me the act of writing notes on what the lecturer said helped me to remember, even though I couldn’t necessarily read back what I’d written afterwards.

Needless to say, work in a chemistry laboratory for my degree was “interesting”, but the unenviable title of “Mr Smashy Smashy” went to someone else – my housemate, not me.  This I regarded as a win! As soon as I could, I swapped lab work for Computational Chemistry, where I used computer models to simulate reactions or materials.

To my surprise this led to my being offered a Ph.D. position studying materials for photovoltaic solar cells. My sight had been gradually deteriorating throughout my University years, but in the first year of my Ph.D., the deterioration rate dramatically increased. I began to rely on text-to-speech software as magnification ceased to be sufficient for me to read conventionally. I often joke that I’ve written a doctoral thesis, but I’ve never read it.

My clean energy related Ph.D. allowed me to start working for a hydrogen fuel cell technology company. I completed a Graduate Training  Scheme and then was sent to London to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Intellectual Property Law at Queen Mary’s. This was  a pre-requisite for my current role in the Intellectual Property department managing the firm’s patents.

Perseverance and problem solving were crucial in overcoming the challenges my eyesight  presented in academia and at work. I was always determined to find a way, even if I didn’t know what that was going to be at the outset. I guess it’s these same qualities that have also enabled my climbing.

All through undergraduate, my Ph.D. and afterwards I had been climbing in my spare time. I’d made a  group of good friends through the University Mountaineering Club  and  I’d been away climbing with them all over Europe. As my sight had deteriorated, my friends had started to help guide me. They started with small suggestions at first, then more frequent and more detailed instructions were needed as I had lost more and more of my sight.

For me parity of effort is really important. I don’t want to be ‘taken out climbing’, I want to contribute as much as everyone else in the team. If my friends are helping me by directing, then I need to find a way to pull my weight. The best example of this metaphor is when I took it literally. We organised an expedition to Greenland and one of the best ways I could contribute to the team was to carry all the heavy equipment. I would exhaust myself so that my friends were fresher and more able to perform tasks I couldn’t help with, like map reading and fixing the fiddly stove. I always volunteer to do the things I can, so I can accept help with the things which are hard because of my eyes, and everyone has still contributed equally.

So, I guess it’s the combination of attitude, the years of experience and teamwork that had led me to the base of the Old Man of Hoy, to climb this 137m tall freestanding sandstone pillar rising straight up out of the ocean in the Orkney archipelago. It overhangs on every side and there is no easy way to the top. Fortunately, my misgivings about the weather were ill founded and whichever deity controlled the weather that day smiled upon me and in mid-afternoon I started the climb.

The crux is a section called “The Coffin” a small shoulder-width slot capped by an overhang. With no holds to pull on I had to jam my hands into the crack above the roof and torque them, before contorting the rest of my body into a ball to attain the critical foothold. Meanwhile the roiling waves were crashing below me and sea birds were wheeling overhead. I like the fact that moments like this in climbing demand such total focus from you, forcing you to concentrate and try your hardest. I made it through this and the other subsequent tests which the climb presented.

While I am not one for displays of exuberance, those who know me well could see my satisfaction as I crested the top of the tower as the sun set beneath me.

Jesse’s ascent of the Old Man of Hoy is the focus of Alastair Lee’s multi-award-winning documentary ‘Climbing Blind’. It’s available to watch until April 2021…

CLICK HERE

Find out more at www.jessedufton.com

Follow Jesse on social media at;

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JesseDuftonGBParaclimber/

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/JesseDufton/

twitter: https://twitter.com/JesseDufton

linkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jesse-dufton-b6045060

 

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Tuesday 7th July; FREE LIVE ONLINE HAVENING INVITATION

To mark #Emerging Proud’s merging with Co-Creating Europe’s #CaravanofUnity , 

 JOINHER are hosting a monthly event to bridge us to World Peace Day on the 21st Sept.

For July, Vivian is offering a Havening session where she will introduce the power of Self-Havening and you are all invited.

Tuesday the 7th July at 4pm BST / 5pm CET 

Vivian would be delighted if you could Join her,

How to take part; 

just click on this link to enter: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84390757079 

What to expect: 

You will enter a waiting room before joining the call, please stay muted throughout unless invited to speak.

Please keep yourself safe during the session, ensure you have a quiet, comfortable space for this call where you will not be interrupted to gain the most out of the session.

This will be a 45 minute collective group Havening session to connect people from all over the world. Havening is a psycho-sensory approach to self soothe in the moment, reducing any stressful or anxious response and allow your body and mind to glide safely into a state of personal balance.

CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT HAVENING

The magic is within you..

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5th 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 5th offering in this meditation series

 “Self-Love/Self-Care”

This 5th meditation is especially designed to look at how to develop more self-love and self-care during COVID19. Is loving yourself as much as those around you, selfish? Have you been taught to nurture others ahead of your own needs? Let’s dive into how that is really working for you in the long-term and re-address this narrative, if needed, to return to balance.

 

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

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Atiyeh’s sudden darkness helped to shine a light on her true path in life

Atiyeh Shahsavari Fard’s story shows that sometimes it takes being thrown into complete darkness to guide us away from what we feel we should be doing in order to find the life path on which we belong; then we need to believe, believe, believe we CAN achieve, and Atiyeh is living proof of the power of this belief…

Atiyeh copy

Hello, I am Atiyeh Shahsavari Fard and I was born in 1996. I am an Iranian and I have always lived here but I have many experiences of living in different cities such as Rasht, Shiraz, Tehran and Karaj – because of my father’s job we have moved a lot. It was a very good opportunity for me to become a social child and to communicate with people easily, as I always had to find new friends in new places during those days.

I would really like to be a doctor. I was often dreaming about doing brain surgical operations. I was very good at my school courses, so everyone was certain that I would be able to study medicine, but as I reached the age of 13 suddenly everything changed. It all began with a simple headache one day when I was at school. I felt a very drastic headache so I asked my mom to take me back to home and she did –  as my parents observed I did not get better they took me to hospital to be examined by a specialist. They did some scans from my brain and said it was not a serious problem but that it would be better to be in hospital for next 24 hours. The next day, as I opened my eyes, I found everywhere completely dark. My parents called the doctor, and the early diagnosis from the medical team was MS and they claimed that I will gain my eyesight very soon again, but it never happened. We were all shocked and nobody knew what was happening, and my pain was growing every day. So my family decided to take me to another hospital, when the new examinations showed that I was suffering from high pressure of brain and the primary diagnosis was incorrect. They also added that previous medical team has lost the “golden period of time” to save my eyesight and my optic nerves have been destroyed under the pressure. It was a real calamity for me and my family, I was so confused at that time, I had no idea of how a blind person’s life could be.

But I decided to return to school, after just 2 months. I started to study in my previous school with my other friends, because I even didn’t know that there were special schools for blind people. I didn’t have any audio books, so my mother read all the books for me and I had to try to memorise them all. Despite all these problems I passed my exams by a grade. The only issue which was bothering to me was that I that I couldn’t study medicine anymore, and they told me that I must study theoretical sciences. USING Jaws I passed my ICDL courses of computer successfully and I received my international certificate of ICDL – according to this as I finished my high school I was accepted in university of Tehran, the best and greatest university of Iran. It was like a dream for me because even normal students were not able to enter to this university easily, so I decided to study political science.

During my years of bachelor study, I was always through the 3 top students, so I decided not to concentrate on just one aspect, I started music – I took some courses in piano and guitar. I also learnt swimming and chess. I completed my English in the first year of university and I took my TTC certificate from which I was allowed to teach English. So then I started to learn French and German too. At the same time I met a multi lingual professor that encouraged me to learn more languages as he saw I could learn so fast, so I added Spanish and Italian to my plan too as I finished my bachelor degree. I was chosen by best ranking for master studies as I was really interested in European culture. I chose regional studies of Europe, and now I am passing my second year of master and I am completely granted by the university because of my grades. I am also getting ready for my PHD and as I need a perfect CV for this I am going to translate a book about EU security policy in to Persian. I am working on two articles related to my field and I have started some new languages such as Russian Arabic and Hindi. Of course not very seriously yet but I have a plan to make my available languages 10 in next 5 years and now I have stopped my music courses because I am so busy with university affairs! Though I hope I will be able to continue music after my PHD entrance exam.

Even though sight loss was a real shock for me and changed my way of life, it showed me many new ways. I learned so many new things that I could never imagine. I believed myself after I did so many works that even my able-sighted friends were not able to do.  Of course, I must mention that my parents have played a very important role during all these years, they never let me feel I have something less than the others and supported me in all my hardships. Now I have many plans for my future, and I am trying to make myself completely qualified for them.

I would like to become a professor in my university and I also dream about working in the UN as I have concentrated on the peace topic – I am sure that I can do it. I never gave up during my worst times and I will never do. At last I really would like to communicate to people from different places to know more about their cultures and lifestyles.

I have been always around sighted people and I have worked and learnt beside sighted people – I do not have many visually impaired friends. So my next goal is to find some new friends with vision impairment to learn about their experiences and share my experiences with them. Getting to know Eye Inspire was a great opportunity for me to do so.

Follow Atiyeh’s ongoing progress on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/atiyeh.shahsavari/

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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