Sunday, July 7, 2013

100 steps

100 steps

Have you ever trusted blindly in your judgment? Have you ever risked believing in yourself and the path you’ve chosen?

For most of our lives, we careen wildly from one life event to another, busying ourselves enough to not notice the path we’ve chosen and making everything so hectic that we can focus on a moment rather than look around and realize where we are, where we came from and where we’re going.

One of the most important experiences in my life, I had completely alone. I was on a beach and felt a deep longing within me... it wasn’t for someone I missed or for something I hadn’t done. It was something deeper; call it mental, psychological or spiritual, the point is that deep in my gut I had some very important questions I was asking myself. I was actually pretty calm and contemplated my home beach spot from the shore when I decided to walk in one direction, with my eyes closed.

You see, my grandmother was blind due to glaucoma and for as long as I’ve been able to reason; I’ve asked myself what that would be like. At that moment, in a place where there was no one around, I made the decision to try and understand her better. Unlike her, I had the benefit of being able to look in the distance to where I was walking. I thought “this would be easy”...... at the tenth step, I had to open my eyes to make sure everything was in its right place, that I wasn’t going to trip and wasn’t going to stand on a piece of glass.

I opened my eyes... ten steps was nothing. I’d barely made progress although it was clear that I didn’t trust this little experiment. But the thought of my grandmother rang deep in me... she had done brilliantly, she had been elegant and beautiful and even when she passed away, her hands were some of the softest I’d ever held.

I closed my eyes and began walking again... this time I got to 25 steps before I had to open my eyes again. A little more progress, but still, fear showed how present it was in every step I took. That moment, I didn’t feel rage, I didn’t embrace frustration... I let go all of my emotions and closed my eyes. I could feel the breeze caressing my cheeks and my heart saying it was OK to trust in it. I put it in my head that I would count one hundred steps and would not open them, no matter if it meant vaulting off a dead urchin. Something inside begged me to just flow, to give in to life in that moment and give myself the opportunity to see that I can do it.

I took a step, then another... still tentative, though firmly set on not opening my eyes. I felt the hot sun smiling on my eyelids, pulling me on my path. I thought of my grandmother, I thought of my father, I thought of my friends, my family and my mother as well. I smiled with my eyes closed as I mentally told them I could do it. Twenty steps in, I wasn’t even aware of my memories of friends and family... I was fully invested in my steps. Slow and firm, steady yet gentle. My feet didn’t dig into the sand but gently stood on the grains. I let go of so many frustrations and fears that had been bogging me down and just embraced my steps and my place in the world at that moment. At fifty paces, it had become much easier; I wasn’t feeling much further in front of me and was walking calmly and dropping mantles of who I was on a day-to-day basis. I was embracing myself in the moment and I realized that I was just walking; no science, no mystery, no puzzle... just a person who was walking on the beach.

Seventy-five steps in, I was a bit tense that nothing had happened in so many blind steps... I was afraid that my attitude would eventually get me to trip or fall over... except this feeling was fleeting and I knew all I had to do was walk 100 steps... blindly, trusting in myself, in my vision and in my path that I would not falter. At ninety nine steps, you’d think I’d stomp step #100... but there was no desire to stomp, no desire to do a silly little victory dance... I just took my step and opened up my eyes.

The scenery had changed, I looked back at my steps and saw where I’d stumbled when I’d been afraid and then saw the gentle trail of my last 100 steps. They weren’t necessarily straight or perfect... they were however my steps. I’d let go of myself for 100 steps and had trusted blindly be it in luck, in spirits and angels, or maybe even a god... except I hadn’t focused outside of me... those 100 steps had been miles in my heart and they allowed me to be grateful for the path I’d chosen, for the people who’d planted seeds of trust and support and I’d used to get me started in those 100 first steps... and now, I looked behind me and knew I was all alone, and not alone at all.

These posts, these stories I write, they are blind steps I’m taking in my life because something deep in me is asking me to do it with no pretense, no ulterior motive except to connect and to share and I thank everyone who has just shared these steps with me.

There will be more steps, some will be alone, others will be together... some may lead us to share a conversation, some thoughts and some life events, others might keep us apart... all in all, they are all steps, we are all human and every day is an invitation to free our hearts and souls to share freely and trust our inner compass.

Wherever that may lead you, I have only one thing to say....




  1. Sometimes we need someone to help us see what we can't see with our own eyes. I find myself mesmerized by the way you express your feelings. You make it look so easy that to a point jealously fills my soul with every word I read. Call it romantic. Call it a dreamer. But the message is there plain and simple, so hard to express, yet so easy to understand. Thank you for having such inspiration. I don't know how or where you get it from but it works marvelously.

  2. I'm humbled by these words. As for my feelings, well I try to share as honestly as possible. I do yearn to connect with other people because I think that if we can talk things over, we can become a better world. I am honored by the words you chose to describe what a little post could do and recommend listening to Blind Melon and Elbow... Shannon Hoon was such a wonderful talent and he could say the most complex feelings in a most relatable way. For Elbow, they talk about the every day things in a way that is poetry, because we live in poetry. Life is not an instructional manual, it's a series of poems, of stories, a long compilation we can choose to write any way we see fit.

    Thank you for enjoying this so much and for taking the time to let me know.

    Warmest regards,


  3. Just now I was with you on that journey J.D. I could hear the sounds of the seashore, the occasional gull. I could feel the sand beneath my feet, and in between my toes. And I too opened my eyes, and marveled how things had changed.

    Some years ago I studied martial arts with my son. It took about 6 years before we were able to test for our black belt, and the black belt cycle was about 6 months in length. One thing my group was required to do was to spend the better part of a day blind. It began in the morning. I was thoroughly blindfolded (and also under my honor not to try to peak in any way), given a blind person's cane, some money, bus fare, and a monitor whose job was to keep me safe and help guide me a little through verbal instructions, or by giving me their arm if I needed it.

    Then I had to make my way out to a sidewalk running along a busy street (which was quite frightening), find my way (with verbal cues) to the bus stop, and take the bus to the local mall. I then had to make my way to Starbucks in the mall and order a coffee. While I was standing in line I accidentally stumbled into someone who loudly exclaimed "What the fuck!!?" to which someone else said "Shut up you idiot. Can't you see the dude's blind?" Nothing more was said.

    Afterwards, I had to make my way to a sport's shop and buy a jersey or a hat from my favorite team. A sales clerk came over, and even though I could clearly speak and had no trouble hearing, the clerk kept interacting with my monitor, rather than me. Even at the register, he said to my monitor, "tell him that will be $14.98". I fumbled through my wallet, not entirely sure whether I was remembering correctly which way each particular bill had been folded ahead of time, so that I could distinguish which one in my wallet was the $20. When I received my change, I realized I had no way to know whether the clerk had just handed me a $5, or whether they had cheated and handed me $1. The entire time they had treated me as though I were somehow deaf, or dumb. I resolved that I would never treat a blind person that way.

    Later each of us had to make our own way to a restaurant that was attached to the mall. We listened as someone explained the menu choices, had to remember where our water glass was (and not knock it over--although that happened more than once at the table).

    When we were all done eating, each of us was allowed to take off our blindfolds.

    None of us were the same.

    1. Chris... although this blog is less than two years old, I've written on other blogs for almost ten years, pls I correspond with dozens of people and keep in touch with friends and this is one of the most amazing replies/comments I've ever heard.

      I too was with you, feeling the frustration, the fear, and the shame that comes from having a condition. Having my grandmother with such a condition, I have never taken anyone for granted with their condition. SOme of the most joyous and kind and giving people I know have Down Syndrome. Some of the most detail oriented people I know are blind. ANd some of the best listeners are deaf.

      Your experience is life changing because it teaches us to develop other senses, to not be lazy, to be thankful and to be considerate. My grandmother was beautiful and elegant. She need not see herself in a mirror to know to stand straight. She groomed herself meticulously and she was just beautiful to all the senses.

      That little exercise I did, I repeated half the other day. Rushed, and I remembered my first experience. 50 steps became nothing.... or sort of. There's one point where your steps become heavy and you second guess yourself. So I need a redo of this and to push further. A better part of the day as you did..... sounds like a plan and I will actually suggest this at work, since we have a program that deals with sensibility.

      Thank you so much for the gift of this comment. Godbless and to the universe and beyond, my friend.