“In a few moments I will be leading you inside through the curtains behind me”. He said this in a friendly yet direct tone. “You will be in complete darkness so, we will walk in a straight line holding on to the person in front of you.”
I reached out, touched a shoulder, grabbing on to the closest person. We started moving slowly forward. Soon, I started to feel I was losing balance. What would I be stepping into as I placed one foot in front of the other? I could hear crackling noises from my footsteps. How safe was the ground? I looked down to see what I was stepping on; nothing but complete darkness! I was dragging my feet slowly, afraid to take a full step forward. I looked up for the first time since we entered. The darkness was closing in on me. Where was he taking us? We came to a stop. I could hear him talking, as if giving instructions in Spanish. I was too focused on knowing exactly where I was standing to pay attention to anything he was saying. I felt his presence beside me. He took hold of the girl in front of me and I was left standing alone. I started moving my hands in the air, wanting to grab on to something. A few seconds felt like an hour. Then he gently placed his hand on my arm. I heard a chair being dragged, he asked me to step towards my left and take a seat.
I looked around me, TOTAL darkness! I began to feel pressure in my eyes from straining them so hard looking for a crack with a little light, it was like gasping for air! I wanted to get up, run out. I did not know where to go, I could not remember how I got here. Someone grabbed my arm, she asked for my name and where I was from. Her voice comforted me as I no longer felt alone in this closed up room of darkness. I allowed myself to relax. Slowly, I experienced something wonderful! I let go of the dependance on my eyesight. I could hear conversations going on all around. Who else was here? I could feel a gently breeze coming from above to my left. There must be an opening above. Where we under ground? I let myself go completely as my other senses took over. Many voices were surrounding me, some were very close. I started imagining what they looked like from the tone of their voice. Could I trust them? I listened intensely to feel the sound of their voice. Were they friendly? Did they have harmful intentions? I started visualizing how many people were here by the voices coming from a distance. The space was filled with laughter. An intense warmth entered my body. Soon my happiness blended with the energy of the people surrounding me.
Someone placed something in front of me, told me to start from left to right. I touched it, it was warm. It was food. Was I supposed to eat this? I am one of those people that needs to see what’s on my plate before eating it. This time I placed all my trust in my other senses. I took the time to really taste my food, trying to figure out what I was eating, savoring every bite. I felt everything on my plate, discovering the texture of the pastries, their weight, their shape and their density. I realized just how much more confidence I had been placing in my eyesight than any other of my senses. Without it, I was able to use my imagination to a level that I had never before experienced.
My thoughts were soon interrupted by a voice speaking in a microphone.
Voices and footsteps were moving around me. The full aroma of coffee was in the air. I have never appreciated that scent as I did that night. I imagined a beautiful early morning, seated on a porch, overlooking mountains as I sipped my first cup of coffee. Soon it was followed by the smell of freshly cut grass. I saw myself sitting in the middle of a country field, trees all around me with a gentle breeze brushing through my hair. My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a train approaching. I started playing a movie in my mind, visualizing the train, from where it was coming. I could feel the vibration of the train getting closer and louder. Were we going to board the train? Suddenly I saw myself being at a train station, I could still feel the breeze to my left. We must be overlooking a landscape, maybe mountains.
I pictured my self in a completely different world, a world where I could imagine anything I wanted and in my heart, it felt so real. I was taking the time to capture all the scents and sounds around me. It was absolutely magical!
A small light suddenly became visible. A woman walked over to where I was seated and placed a candle in the middle of the table. Soon, a few others did the same on all the tables. It was the actors who had just performed in the play. It was nothing like I had imagined! I was in a theatre, the stage was in front of me, it was a lot smaller than I expected. There were only ten tables with six people seated at each of them. I observed the faces seated by my side. I noticed their expressions, their eyes and their smiles very closely. I wanted to compare them to the images I had created in my mind. There is so much you get to know about someone when you take the time to notice all these things…
I realized just how much people depend on what they see and accept things as seen. Without our sight, we feel lost, we panic, we look for references. We don’t take the time to indulge ourselves in all of our senses and take the time to really appreciate everything around us. We see things as a static picture instead of bringing them to life. If we really pay attention to our everyday lives, we will discover a different world. It could be while stopped at a traffic light, waiting in line at the check-out counter, or walking on a sidewalk. But that moment does exist! When we are able to relax, pay attention to our surroundings, feel the breeze on our face, the pressure of our footstep, the sound of the wind going through the leaves, the people around us and the houses in a distance, our circle around us expands. We become aware of so much more, the many choices outside the reality we know. We see the world from a whole different perspective than just by the one we have created by depending on only our eyesight. We bring to life our imagination. Visualize ourselves in limitless situations, being in places we have never been. Soon, you will find that what you believed was impossible, is very much possible after all!
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”― Helen Keller
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