“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched –
they must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller
Here I am on the beautiful Island of Corfu. It is a magical place, a pure paradise of Being. For the last two years, my beloved and I have made a point of taking time out from our visit to family in England to come and bathe in the bliss of island life. There is something so special about being here, the simplicity of the Greek islands, the richness of the nature, the beauty of the sun, the sea. It brings a stillness of mind and a reminder of the abundance of Being. And the best part is that many friends gather from all over the world to come and commune together each summer. It is like a big joyful celebration of hearts coming together, to eat, drink and enjoy each other’s company. Vinit and I are relaxing so deeply inside that other parts of our Being and hearts get to be heard, and acknowledged.
We are doing a workshop, a singing and silence workshop, with two dear friends of ours, Peter and Aneeta Makena, and 30 or so other people. The space of pure heart that everyone is able to drop into is like a prayer of longing fulfilled and of gratitude to this magnificent existence. As the days go by we are dropping the mind and entering a timeless stillness, melting into presence, love and connection.
In this particular workshop there is a blind girl from France, a beautiful soul who lost her eyesight when she was eighteen. Until that time she saw perfectly, and yet now, she is completely blind. Despite this, she has two beautiful children, whom she raises alone, and a job as a physical therapist. As I watch the way she moves around so gracefully, I am stunned by her courage and trust.
The first morning we were doing an exercise to learn everyone’s names. We had to go round the circle and speak each person’s name. It was a feat for those of us with eyes to see the faces and remember the names. When we got to the end of the circle, she volunteered to give it a try, not wanting to feel left out just because she was at a disadvantage. Well… she remembered every single person’s name perfectly. The tears of appreciation flowed down my face. Now, she touches each one of us to know who we are. This beautiful soul is teaching me two things: one is that I have so much to be grateful for, including eyes with which to see; and two is that no matter what apparent disadvantage or handicap we have in life, God is giving us other gifts. I know, because I saw in her that she feels sad that she cannot see the beautiful beach or the rainbow that arched over the ocean this morning, or the faces of her children growing up. I also know that she doesn’t let that stop her from playing full out and living this blessed life totally.
Last night after the group ended, she took me and Vinit for a midnight swim in the ocean. I was in awe of the way she walked right out into the dark ocean and swam and dived like a mermaid. She had no fear; she lives in a full body experience. The way this gorgeous soul lives and laughs and loves is a humbling lesson to me. I don’t think I will ever be the same after being with this beautiful woman. As we head back to London to see my father who is also legally blind, I will have a renewed appreciation for the challenges he faces.
I invite you this week to try depriving yourself of the gift of sight, even for a few minutes or an hour. Imagine you have only your other senses to rely on. Close your eyes or blindfold yourself. Let yourself walk around and feel the world you are living in through your senses of touch, smell and hearing. Then take some time to sit and look around as if you were blind but now suddenly receive your sight back, let yourself feel the gratitude for the wonders of this world that we get to see each day. Take it in the ordinary miracles of sight that you may not till now have appreciated.