Sharing my story with a team of blind and visually impaired runners, the inspiration that transpired shone far brighter than the stars in the evening sky.

Running was the tool while eyesight the connector which fostered gratitude, renewed hope and inspiration as evening settled on a cool Lima evening. Invited to share my story and run with a team of blind and visually impaired Peruvian runners, I felt honoured though unworthy. I did not have an Olympic medal to pass around, thousands of followers or subscribers. I simply had a similar passion for movement, a heart and story to share.

I arrived amidst the story which tales how a struggling character embraces an adverse situation; not a tale with a superhero or a miraculous glass slipper likely to hold a crowd’s attention. My story has not been publically shared with a live audience, is in draft and very much incomplete.  I had every reason to decline the invitation: an earlier flight, anxiety about the darkness, being seen without sunglasses, the language barrier, yet something deep within knew only good come from such a privilege; such a humbling opportunity to push my comfort zone and add light to others blindness. I needed to  use my voice of reason, to be patient, uncomfortably comfortable.

My limited eyesight, their visual realm, stadium lights piercing my eye through the darkness, the pauses for translation; my audience was a tough read. My story is so convoluted; was I connecting all the dots?  Were they bored, perhaps drifting off behind those shaded lenses? Was I giving too many details? Was the translation precise? Voices within stirred as I told my tale of recovery and reclaiming my life after I had lost all hope. Fighting voices of self-doubt against hope that my audience, my new friends, might feel empowerment and motivation to keep running and embrace their adversity carried on until the story reached the trails of Peru. It was not until Domingo asked the group if they had any questions for me that those voices assured that I am enough; I am worthy and can make a difference in the lives of others. Their thoughtful questions silenced the doubt. The most genuine curiosity, anecdotes and affirmations ascertained that my story is worth sharing.

Like this blog, my story is authentic and, in the face of vulnerability, responding to the posed questions aimed to make crystal clear that I am a work in progress; me, nor my story are polished. Recovering and accepting how my life has changed is the hardest thing I have faced. No mountain can be as tough as the climb that came as a result of my TBI and, though certainly not invincible, in times of doubt remind myself of that which I am capable of.

The Yo Soy Sus Ojos (I am His Eyes) experience created a most empathetic connection, similar to the instantaneous bond with my friends who are blind massage therapists in Pokhara, Nepal. When the mountains of my mind are most challenging, rarely can a response make what I am experiencing better; whether sharing my story, venting about a missed right turn, starring strangers or the battle with my body, I never am in search of pity or someone to fix me; what most often makes me feel better is connection. Connecting within ourselves to relate something someone else is experiencing, empathy requires no words. Empathy lets someone know that they are not alone without trying to solve or offer advice; feeling with someone is support.

Reciprocal inspiration and support transpired beyond the dark as we ran together. When the session ended, the hugs started, the cameras came out and I did not try to hide.  Unbeknownst to them, this group of incredible athletes grew my comfort zone. Though our tales follow different story lines, our trails crossed, formed a bond and, from this bond developed a vision of possibilities.

To read more and /or support the friends I refer to:

Yo Soy Sus Ojos :

Pokhara Blind Massage (Yes Helping Hands):

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  1. Domingo Elias says:


    • mountainsofmymind says:

      Muchas gracias Domingo – You certainly enriched my experience in Peru. I will forever remember with appreciation the opportunity to share and run with Yo Soy Sus Ojos. The work that you are doing stretches far beyond 2 weekly sessions. I am most grateful and ‘look’ forward to our trails crossing again. X

  2. Sonya terBorg says:

    I should stop reading these posts at work. They bring me to tears (not difficult as I cry about most things) but your insight and clarity are potent reminders to be “comfortably uncomfortable” – as that is when we really do see what we’re made of. Pushing yourself into this realm is something to be so proud of.

    • mountainsofmymind says:

      Please don’t stop reading 😉 I will take those as tears as encouragement and send you hugs in return.
      There was such a long time when I was not well enough to believe that life could be worth living in such adversity and discomfort. I have certainly learned and grown so much from pushing beyond that which is comfortable.
      Heartfelt appreciation for following my trails and your love from Nanjing x

  3. Diane Harmony says:

    My deepest empathy dear Jill for your willingness to become more than you ever knew you could be. My deepest gratitude to you for sharing your extraordinary story of awakening to the sight of your soul.
    Aloha and Blessings.

    • mountainsofmymind says:

      What a humbling honour to know you are reading and following my trails from Hawaii Diane – Thank you!
      Making connections as I travel is certainly fostering reciprocal inspiration and, for me, emotional oxygen despite the challenge of any mountain 😉 – Namaste x

  4. Pia Villa says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us! you now have many Friends YSSO in Perú.
    In this case, language was not a barrier, as you say, empathy requires no words
    Thank you for visiting us!.

    • mountainsofmymind says:

      Thank you Pia! The opportunity to meet and speak with you and the YSSO Peru team was a humbling honour; a most memorable experience for which I am thankful. I look forward to staying in touch and to our trails crossing again. With gratitude, love and best for happy , healthy trails ahead x