In this episode I’m chatting with Laura Bratton who is the author of Harnessing Courage: Overcoming Adversity with Grit & Gratitude. In addition to being an author Laura is also a keynote speaker, was the first blind student to graduate from Princeton Theological Seminary with a master’s of divinity degree, she is the senior pastor at a local church, and she is the founder of Ubi Global LLC
Laura first noticed there was something different with her vision at 8 years old. Where they ran traditional vision tests in school they detected the early onset of degeneration of her near sighted vision. Over the next decade Laura experienced the traumatic transition of adjusting to life without sight. In middle school, while her friends grew more independent she was learning braille – she felt like her life was cycling in the wrong direction.
In this episode we highlight many of the topics she wrote about in her book. The anxiety about the what her future was going to be like. The depression from feeling like “This is too much, I can’t and I don’t want to” ultimately not knowing if she had the strength to endure the cards she’d been dealt. The grit that was modeled for her by her family and close friends. The gratitude for their enduring support that empowered her to move forward. In this episode Laura thoughtfully shares her journey. How she worked through the lows. Her daily gratitude practice. She speaks to the power of finding mentors that you trust – and how this can change your life. We dive deep into two of my favorite topics: vulnerability and worthiness. We go on to discuss how the visual aspect of her situation prevents from forming judgments based on their appearances. Although she is blind she is able to see people for who they really are.
To learn more about Laura and her work just head on over to www.ubiglobal.org
Photo Cred: Ernest Rawlins Photography
IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
▪️The anxiety of facing the unknown – not knowing how quickly she would lose her vision. By middle school the degenerative impact of her eyesight was making a major impact. Feeling like she’s losing independence instead of gaining it like her peers. A sense of going backwards in her development.
▪️Facing the reality of her situation after the denial wore off. Dealing with the anxiety and depression that ensued with facing her new “normal”
▪️Anxiety fear of the future and fear of the present. Learning 8th grade algebra…I just learned braille. Just keeping up with normal life stuff.
▪️Depression – all of that was so overwhelming. She didn’t want to face it: “This is too much, I can’t and I don’t want to”
▪️She advocates for the support of the people around her. How it was their grit that gave her the courage to move forward. We are going to do what we need to do to make this possible.
▪️Gratitude: she explains is not being grateful for the disability but rather that she is deeply grateful for the support of the people that enabled her keep going.
▪️LAURA’S GRATITUDE CHALLENGE: List 5 things that you’re grateful for everyday – her twist – you can’t repeat.
▪️Her advice on finding a mentor. Being open to advice and being willing to ask for help.
▪️We dive into vulnerability and worthiness. People talk to me louder and slower.
▪️People are willing to go deeper, faster because they GET that I understand vulnerability. Even with different circumstances – eg. people suffering from cancer – relate to her because of the familiar experiences that they both have been through a significant loss, change and difficulty.
▪️The visual aspect to her situation prevents Laura from forming judgments based on their appearances. In a visually driven society she is basing her “judgements” base her info on how they speak to her, what they say, what they are feeling – on much deeper real things. Although she is blind she is able to see people for who they really are.
▪️She reminds us to BE OPEN; that each interaction we have with someone is an opportunity to cultivate a greater awareness.
▪️Laura speaks to the power of finding mentors that you trust and speaks those true beliefs into you and teaches you how to do it for yourself – so that you have a model of how to do it. It is easier to say and accept these truths about themselves when we have it positively reinforced by someone we trust.
▪️Trust is two way street. Laura shares about her “marble jar” friends.
Harnessing Courage: Overcoming Adversity with Grit & Gratitude by Laura Bratton
The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD)
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