Friday, January 16, 2009


In the early 19th century a young boy, whose father was a master leather shaper and carver, was playing with an awl and accidentally poked one of his eyes. Initially the injury was harmless, but infection set in and the curious three year old became blind. Committed to not letting his disability affect his quality of life this child focused on education and music as his way of enhancing his life.

While in school music became his first love, but the boy wanted nothing more than to read, yet all that was available to him were four large print books with raised letters for him to run his fingers over. The tediousness of such a task did not satisfy his need to read literature and he set out to make a more simple form for the unsighted to have access to all writings.

Upon returning home from his studies, Louis Braille, using the same awl that took his sight, created a six dot pattern alphabet that to this day allows the blind to read.

In our lives we distance ourselves from those things that inflict the greatest harm to us, when our greatest strength will potentially grow from creating the insight and courage necessary to face our demons. For the large majority of us our demons will not render us “disabled”, but are scenarios that we must face on a daily basis which prevent us from living our best lives.

Louis Braille faced everyday without vision, but not without sight. His sight came in the form of imagination, the necessary personal imagination to understand what he wanted vs. what his limitation were, therefore turning limitation into opportunity. Like Luis Braille, we too have the ability to create opportunity from limitation, but we first must understand and accept our limitations in order to overcome them. Through understanding and acceptance, we allow ourselves to see reality and how it disrupts our goals so that we can then transcend our current state and transform it from what we wish into what we have.

Our greatest obstacle in this process is in looking at what has hurt us in the past and thinking that we need to go in another direction so that we don’t face the same fate as the first time. This defeatist attitude empowers that which harmed us and continually creates new walls in which we must go around, when the transformational process demands we break through.

If we are ever going to live the life we deserve, we must become smarter from being hurt. We must take the worst thing that ever happened to us and make it our greatest strength through knowledge, understanding, and courage. If we are going to make the impact that we all have the ability to make in this world it is our obligation to take that which took from us and turn it into something for our surrounding community to benefit from.

Ignoring or denying what has hurt us in the past will only keep us in the past. Grabbing the same awl that took our sight and creating life is our step in defining our future.

No comments: