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Holistic Musings and Reflections on Overcoming Fears

Srucara's picture

During our trip to Ashbridge Park, not only did I have a good time, but I noticed how effectively our class has cirlced back to the objectives of our class stated during the first few classes. I remember we wished to gain a greater understanding of the region of bryn mawr and the location and history surrounding it as well as an ecological understanding of our world through various perspectives (through fiction, poetry, feminism, nonfiction). I found that our experience in Ashbridge Park served as a holistic "Wrap up" to our course - we learned about the history of the creek as well as the geography of it in relation to our campus and philadelphia as well as efforts of environmental conservation and renovation - and of course - some poetry! We had also made the day friendly and actively serving to refresh and renew us all through good, healthy food (fruits) and de-stress chants, movements, and shouts!

My favorite aspect of the visit, however, was the group poem at the end. I found that activity to really ground me in the present moment and elevate our overall experience in the park through the eyes of each one of us in our particular contribution to the moment, and the year overall.

The Blind Field Shuttle experience with Carmen Papalia, for me, was absolutely phenomenal. I was surprised to find how trusting I was throughout the blind walk. I had held onto the shoulder of a good friend and knew the student behind me grasped mine tight enough to stay connected as well. I found myself enjoying the experience rather than feeling afraid - although there were slightly surprising moments when I had stepped into ditches/uneven ground but always felt safe because the people I was holding onto immdiately helped me up. As I was positioned close to the front of the line, I found myself being pulled quite a bit and having to run a little just to keep up - but I noticed that when I came close to breaking from Hira in front of me - she reached back and grabbed my hand with hers and repositioned it securely. This showed me that not only was she concentrating on her own experience, but she was also sensitive and attentive to mine and reached out her hadn when I needed a bit of help. If this isn't friendship, I don't know what is. After we weaved between cars and crossed the road, I found myself really enjoying our travels through the open grass once on main campus - I felt only the breeze on my face - and really felt it. I've never felt the wind as powerfully as I had felt it on that day. It was an incredibly special experience. And then, as I found a rhythm of footsteps that flowed with Hira in front and the student behind me, I suddenly found myself releasing into the experience. Just flowing, with the people surrounding me, and the breeze and the sky and the voices. It was absolutely beautiful. If this is what it is like to be blind, then being blind is a wondrous thing. I found myself undergoing a complete reversal of my fear of blindness. Having had poor vision since I was a very young child (age 3 onwards), I always wore glasses. Over the years, every year my vision had gotten poorer and poorer until just a year ago, when it plateued at around -8 - which is quite terrible (nearsighted). In the mornings, if I cannot find my glasses (not remembering where I had left them) - I would have a panic attack. If I am in the dark and cannot see in the night - I will find my heart racing. As a child I have always been afraid of the dark, afraid of not being able to see. But now, I am not afraid anymore. And this is a beautiful gift that I am incredibly grateful for.