The crisp wind swept through Toronto as the windy season made its entrance, threatening to send my head spinning in every direction. While I despised wind in general, I desperately searched for any indoor route to shield myself from its relentless gusts.

Navigating my way to my first in-person class since returning to college, I tried to find hidden pathways through the school, only to find myself lost in an unfamiliar area. The underground map on my phone failed to offer accurate directions, leaving me wandering aimlessly.

AS WE MET AND LOST

As I was walking back to above ground, I noticed a figure with visual impairment who appeared to be in need of assistance. Without hesitation, I approached him and offered my help.

He explained that he was searching for a sandwich shop, but was unable to find it. Though I was equally unfamiliar with the area, I sought aid from passersby to guide us to our destination. As we walked side by side, he placed his hand on my shoulder, trusting me to lead the way.

After walking two shops away, we stumbled upon the sandwich shop. Before we said bye to each other, he mentioned that he usually knew its location. However, the powerful Toronto wind had whisked away its enticing aroma, leaving him disoriented and lost.

THE OBVIOUS HIDDEN MESSAGE

This encounter served as a poignant reminder of how often we take our senses for granted. Individuals with visual impairments rely on touch, hearing, and smell to navigate their surroundings. Even the slightest change in weather can disrupt their ability to find their way.

As my first days of school unfolded, I held onto this experience as a profound lesson. It taught me to stay focused amidst the distractions and turbulence of the classroom. I learned to continue trust my instincts, my inner compass, and the serendipitous encounters with the right people who would guide me when I needed it most, just as I had guided the man through the wild wind and how he guided me to continue staying grounded and centered during the turbulence in life.

THE TAKEAWAY

How often do we extend a helping hand or a comforting shoulder to those in need? Yet, how often do we pause and reflect on the invaluable lessons these people and life events have imparted upon us? There are always two sides to a coin. In our lives as neurodiverse individuals, parents, or practitioners, we may often find ourselves lost and unable to perceive the goodness and assistance around us. However, if we put our trust in the journey and allow ourselves to be led by our "life shoulder," we can encounter the most remarkable teachers and guides who redirect us towards our destined path in the wild wind. They may be our children, our clients, our peers, or even seemingly "random" individuals who appear at precisely the right moment. In return, we also become teachers and guides, sharing our innate gifts with others.

Just like gold, which undergoes immense pressure, wind, storms, and heat before transforming into the brilliant treasure we see, or we better remember the wisdom of a Chinese proverb: "We must not allow others to pull our nose and drag us astray from our true path."

Have you recently been blown away or pulled to elsewhere that makes you feel overwhelmed and uncentered?

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Photo : Stéphane Hermellin

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