Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Legacy of Helen Keller

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker."

"The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

~Helen Keller

I cannot help but be inspired by Helen Keler.  I think this great woman was the penultimate example of what I say time and again in my posts...there is no such thing (utimately) as disability, rather each and every one of us is Other-Abled.  I know that this woman saw absolutely no difficulty nor conflict in showing the world who "Helen Normal" is.  As such she remains a great inspiration.

Helen says, of her earliest beginnings of communication:

Helen as a young girl
" Meanwhile the desire to express myself grew. The few signs I used became less and less adequate, and my failures to make myself understood were invariably followed by outbursts of passion. I felt as if invisible hands were holding me, and I made frantic efforts to free myself. I struggled—not that struggling helped matters, but the spirit of resistance was strong within me; I generally broke down in tears and physical exhaustion. If my mother happened to be near I crept into her arms, too miserable even to remember the cause of the tempest. After awhile the need of some means of communication became so urgent that these outbursts occurred daily, sometimes hourly... "

I have always been haunted (in a positive way) by both this statement, and this image of Helen as a young girl.  Though I've my eyesight, and my hearing and a mouth to speak, I could almost have quoted the above as my own childhood observation.  In fact, I spoke very well (some say too much!) as a child.  Even so, I was always aware that I was never quite understanding people correctly (whatever that really means), neither did it seem to me at all times (and often to others) that I was able to communicate in a way that people really understood what it was I was trying to convey.

I see, in this picture, a powerful nuclear dynamo of a personality, Life, striving to express itself, yet presently the tools it needs to do so were unknown to her.  While not her personally, per say, I see the Wisdom of the Ages, as it were locked into a room with the curtains drawn, shades pulled down and a gag placed over her mouth...waiting for the moment that her Anne Sullivan would help her discover those tools that would set her free.  What I find most 'umbling and most empowering, is that Helen is not any different than you or I.

Furthermore, of her teacher Anne, Helen says:

" …I learned from life itself. At the beginning I was only a little mass of possibilities. It was my teacher [Anne Sullivan] who unfolded and developed them. When she came, everything about me breathed of love and joy and was full of meaning. She has never since let pass an opportunity to point out the beauty that is in everything, nor has she ceased trying in thought and action and example to make my life sweet and useful.
It was my teacher’s genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me..."

You see, not only are you and I exactly like Helen, we are exactly like Anne too.  Each one of us, within ourselves, are largely unable to express the hidden divinity within, until our "Anne" sparks within us our own personal knowledge of the Way.  We are both Helen and Anne.  Each one of us while possessing unique skills, also possesses the muse or inspiration for an other's keys, tools methods to unlock our own inner genius...Regardless of who we are.

Prior to the years of my correct diagnoses and treatment, I lived an emotional, mental, spiritual and social wreck...burnt bridges, injured relationships, caused pain and suffering.   Yet when I came here to SoCal some years ago, I shared all of it with T, holding almost nothing back, I both shared with her, and she experienced even firsthand my highest and my lowest, my most sublime and most depraved moments.  In her words, when I came here to SoCal, the person she saw before her didn't quite match the person she knew that I was.  She had/s always given me unconditional love and trust...believed and knew  that that perfect expression of the Divine Will as "Joseph Normal" was destined to make itself known and shown, and it has.  Divine Will as me, doesn't denote some holier godlike figure, far from is a recognition that whatever shows up is was it supposed to show up.

Were it not for her support and encouragement, I'd likely have died of Hep C, likely remained in the suffering in which I've languished for years on all levels of my life.  Discovering my cACC, I had begun and continue to shed many, many years of self hatred, guilt, anguish, absence of all self esteem.  Jelaludin Rumi often spoke of a rose.  The rose as a bud has tremendous torque inwards towards itself, wrapped so tightly that if one tries to open it, it would be destroyed...But, he says, there comes the day the rose realizes that it must and can only be a rose,  and in a wild frenzy of life unbounded that torque reverses, the petals burst open in abandon, with full knowledge that one day it shall wilt, fall to the Ground and die, returning to its Source.  The beauty of this rose is unmatched in all the universe.

We are Helen, we are Anne, and we are the rose.

May we all realize the joy of being, may we unclench from our need to pull inward, may we flower in the abandon of beauty in the full knowledge of the way of things, one day returning to its Source...


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