My separation happened when I went off to a school for the blind. I was five when I started kindergarten. Within two years, all of my energy began to change. I could no longer catch fireflies by myself. I started bumping into trees and other objects, and tripping over things in the yard like fallen tree branches. And uneven ground would make my feet tremble for fear I would fall down and get hurt. Several years later, I was using a white cane and thought I had adjusted without too much trouble. However, something was missing. Something big was gone from my life — But what was it?
In 1968, I put on my first pair of ice skates and I felt a sensation that thrilled me inside out. By 1975, I was invited to skate in the Jimmy Fund Show, which is a very prestigious show that raises money for children suffering with cancer. Many more shows followed. I skated with the likes of Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamell, the late John Curry, and all the figure skaters that are currently on tour. My parents were always supportive about my skating though they felt uncomfortable that I was the only blind skater in the world with little support from any organizations. They were always proud of me. I passed figure tests, dance, and free style tests — All with flying colors and high marks.
Everyone who would come to see my performances, and witnessed my skating moves; jumping, spinning, stretching and spiraling, performing spread eagles, would marvel at the smoothness and fluidity that I demonstrated. I interpreted music well and I skated from my heart.
My skating teachers were terrific. Many of them are past world champions and Olympic medal winners. But the teacher-student relationship was challenged in every way. No one had ever taught a blind skater before. I was the first of a kind.
In 1983, I started taking massage courses, studied Therapeutic Touch, got my second degree in Reiki, was certified in Hypnosis, Reflexology, and began studying A Course in Miracles.
The Course states quite clearly that none of us are victims and there are no accidents. This began making sense. For so many years, I tried to learn skating the way sighted people learned. Also, I began to apply ‘Course’ lessons to my skating now. And I became acutely aware that somehow everything is connected.
So now, how can I improve my skating, my jumps, and my massages? Could I ever be as sensitive as some of my teachers who taught me such treasured lessons as touching with sensitivity, intuition, trusting what I felt. Back to Braille, I thought. Braille, to me, is the most sensitive of all touches. It is just like palpating an organ or muscle. I began to apply this sense of light touch to my blades as I skated. The depth of touch one needs to differentiate the dots within a cell of Braille is overwhelming. The same applied for me when I first began my courses in bodywork.
Somehow I began to sense an energy inside of myself and all around. Yes, it was the familiar energy I felt as a child. Only now I have the understanding, in my body, my mind and soul. Now, I know what to do with it. And yet, with such a gentle touch as though palpating my muscles and reading Braille. Presently, I use this energy for my skating. My blades are extremely sensitive and I feel as if I can ‘see’ with my blades as well as with other parts of my body. This is more of a sensing kind of seeing, but still I am seeing.
Recently, I palpated my Honi’s last breath as she lay dying underneath our lilac bush in the side yard. And I knew she was lifting into the light. Our eight and a half year old Golden Retriever was leaving. I internally saw the flash of light, felt her start on her journey upward — And she began to be everywhere. The mockingbird sang, the sun shone brighter, there was an ever so gentle breeze and a hint of spring in the air. And she was gone …
I went through all the emotions of grieving quite quickly. Oh, I had moments of almost hysteria yet something interesting happened a day after Honi died. I was so upset that without realizing, I began to be still. Still, only for an instant. I Will Be Still an Instant and Go Home. Only for an instant, but that instant made all the difference in my world. My perception of what had just happened to Honi had changed — Or as they say, it shifted!
How could something so gentle change my sadness into something that I could live with? Into something I could actually move through and not stay stuck in. It is because of the gentleness. The palpating, the Braille now coming from within me, rather than my finger tips. My entire body had become aware of this gentleness, this palpating!
So now it is time for me to palpate the moment, the present, every feeling I experienced can be felt so gently that I get to the depth of it without stress or strain on anything. There is a way to feel all of our ‘stuff’ at the same time as if we are sensing our stuff — The sadness, the happiness, the joy, the pain, all simultaneously. For me, this takes the charge off of my emotions without denying them. Feeling everything so gently without drowning in my drama is very healing for me during this cycle.
With the war, the economy, and loss of pets, two-footed friends as well, I now have a remarkable tool I can use — If I pay attention and palpate the present…
Blind since birth, Serafin started figure skating in 1968; this became a major passion and he has become well known in the skating world doing fund raisers to help ice skating shows raise money for Olympic skaters and other special projects for skaters with disabilities.
A knee injury in 1983 turned Serafin’s career in another direction; studying different modalities of massage and body work techniques that enabled him to develop a program called Sensitive Energy Coaching. The different modalities of body work allowed Serafin to sense methods of movement from the inside out.
He has lectured through the years for numerous Lions Clubs in the Bucks and Montgomery County area, and has done public speaking in several churches, elder care facilities and schools, and has been on numerous TV and radio stations speaking about healing and the connection between loving one’s self and healing including Good Morning America, That’s Incredible, WWDB talk radio with Yvonne Kaye, and WBUX as a guest on Added Dimensions with host Margaret Mohr.
Serafin continues to perfect his skating skills as a sensitive energy coach and still performs in skating shows. Visit his website at StashSkate.com