On down days, self-doubting days, low biorhythm days… I find inspiration thinking about Helen Keller and what obstacles she overcame to make something out of her sad and silent life.
It still amazes me that someone
- who could not see,
- who was left unstimulated,
- of whom no expectations were made,
could have learned words, pronunciations (without the ability to hear), and then to go on to become a public speaker before large audiences whom she would never see and trust that the sounds she was making were discernible (since she couldn’t hear them – nor for that matter, could she hear the applause).
Whenever I’m overwhelmed by my own inner darkness, I think of her.
The Helen Keller quote my mother hung on the wall in my childhood.
“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”
The above quote always stopped me cold as a child because I realized Helen never even saw shadows. Anne Sullivan, her beloved, self-sacrificing teacher, taught her about them. How Helen even imagined them will be fascinating to find out someday in heaven.
Helen could feel the warmth of the sun, even if she couldn’t see it. Whether sighted or not, we can feel the warmth of a smile from a webinar, recording or phone call when no visual image is present. We respond differently to the tonal shift a smiles makes to the sound of a voice. It makes us want to listen better. Similarly, our mind responds differently to the shift we make in our thoughts as well when we choose something inspirational on which to focus, when we think of someone we can help to pull ourselves out of our gloom, or when we turn to prayer. Whole sections of our brain jump into action.
Unable to speak. Unable to hear. Unable to see. Thanks, Helen and Anne, for helping me see in the dark.
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