As we move further through spring and begin to see the signs of summer I have a sense of renewal, of hope and warmer more comfortable times. I’m glad that my birthday falls at this time too, in late April. I love birthdays because to me they are an opportunity to pause and reflect, to learn from mistakes and relish in achievements.
I turned 40 this year and have noticed a deep connection to the Mother stage of the Maiden, Mother, Crone Trinity Goddess. The Mother represents fertility, abidance, growth, gaining of knowledge. She is represented by the full moon and summer and is the physical, emotional and spiritual parts of the Mother figure. I’m sharing this with you as I respect the idea of the Trinity Goddess and feel into this phase in my journey.
Every decade I set myself a challenge beyond my comfort zone. For my 30th I went indoor skydiving which was exhilarating. Ten years on and on a different path with my sight loss journey I wanted something more adventurous, something that would require me to learn, something that I have always wanted to try but that had remained out of reach.
A wonderful charity called Speed of Sight made it all possible for me. They provide driving experiences for blind, visually impaired and autistic people.
John Galloway, Co Founder of Speed of Sight told me about the work of the charity and the world records held by Mike Newman Co-founder and the fastest blind man on the planet. I signed up immediately!
So, on 17th May I completed the challenge, I drove a car!
I was apprehensive but the volunteers helped me to relax and my family were there to cheer me on. My son Dylan was again my rock. He guided me to the car with a reassuring and supportive hand on my back. This let me know that he was there and that he was happy and excited. Having Dylan there spurred me on, I wanted to show him that when you face a challenge and feel overwhelmed, you have the courage within to do anything. This is a lesson I want to teach my son and strive for myself as I move into that middle age, that Mother place.
The experience was incredible and taught me many things, the obvious one being how to drive a car! I can’t describe the feeling of being told by the instructor, “You are in control now Nina”, it was so surreal and empowering. Then when I heard ‘floor it’ I didn’t hesitate to press down on the accelerator. As I sped up, I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom and happiness and couldn’t stop the tears.
I thought if I can control this powerful machine then I can control my life. Yes, the Co-pilot made it possible, but I was in the driver seat. If I can drive a car without sight, I can drive my life without sight, I am driving my life without sight!
None of us know what is around the corner even if we can see. Having no sight allows me to take in the moment with no distraction. It enabled me to connect with the wind rushing over me and the movement on the corners. For me life is like the racetrack. How we drive it makes the difference, we can choose to enjoy and engage or to be fearful of the ride. When things get tough I will come back to that feeling of control and fun I had behind the wheel.
Well, I’ve ticked another thing off my bucket list. Next up is a climbing day in July, a top gift from two top friends who know me so well.
Have you been challenged in a way that pushed you to the edge? I’d love to hear how and what the experience has done for you. Please share in the comments below so we can all learn from each other.