By Marty Klein
I walked out of my house the other day to get the mail. My mailbox is on the road at the beginning of my driveway, about fifty or so feet away from my front door. I’ve made that little jaunt thousands of times in the thirty years that I am living in my house and I have never had a problem getting the mail. No problem in snow or rain, heat or cold, night or day. As I was pulling out the mail, my neighbor, who I hadn’t seen in months since I left for the warmer winter in the South, pulled up in his car. He rolled down the window and said, “Need a hand with anything?”
I was initially stunned by his comment, but took the high road and shook my head politely and waved to him as I began to walk back to my house. He drove away. I walked up the three steps to my front door, turned around and paused, thinking about what had just happened. I thought how amazing it was that after forty years of being blind I still have to put up with that kind of nonsense. A more normal response from him would have been something like, “Hi, Marty.” Or, “Welcome back home.” But that was not the greeting I received.
During the time that I’ve been totally blind I have accomplished quite a lot, so much more without sight than I ever did when I had sight. I’m happier and more relaxed as a blind person than I ever was when I had sight. Yet no matter who I am and how much I have accomplished, there will always be a few people who will only see me as blind and in need of some help. It’s frustrating on one level, but fascinating on another level. This is a perfect place to use the slogan, “You can’t fix stupid!”
Thanks to my yoga practice and my desire to not engage with toxic negativity, I was able to smile peacefully to him and walk away quietly. But there is, I must admit, a part of me that would have liked to scream some very harsh invalidating words at him at the top of my lungs.
It’s important for all of us who are blind or visually impaired to understand that some people will never see us as completely fine, able and happy. Some of those people will always feel sorry for us because we cannot see. Some will always see us as helpless and a burden to our families and communities. I often say prayers for those people. “May God bless them and keep them far away from me.”
The yogic view here is to remember that some people will carry that kind of attitude toward blind and visually impaired people until the day they die, and it is not our job to try to get them all to see the light. In fact, our job is to avoid those people whenever we can, and to deal with them respectfully, but to resist the desire to engage with them when they cross our paths. It’s a waste of our time and energy, and almost always leads us to irritation and frustration… and those emotions have the power to continually throw us out of balance. If we know better, but choose to become triggered over and over again by those negative attitudes, then we become the poster children for the phrase, “You can’t fix stupid.” Choose to take the high road and then you’ll be embracing the benefits from understanding the yoga of stupid.
Marty Klein is the author of the #1 Amazon Best Seller, The Enlightened Gambler, The Heart and Spirit of the risk Taker in All of Us. You can find out more about his work at this link and connect with him on Facebook at this link. He has also produced a 5 CD program, Beginning Yoga for the Blind and visually Impaired, which you can find out about at this link.