The Blind Passenger

I had been contemplating this year’s Thanksgiving blog, when I came across this beautiful story by an unknown author on It is perfect the way it is written, so allow me to just share…

The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the driver, and using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the seat he’d told her was empty. Then she settled in, placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane against her leg. It had been a year since Susan, thirty-four, became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis she had been rendered sightless, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity.

Once a fiercely independent woman, Susan now felt condemned by this terrible twist of fate to become a powerless, helpless burden on everyone around her. “How could this have happened to me?” she would plead, her heart knotted with anger. But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth: her sight was never going to return. A cloud of depression hung over Susan’s once optimistic spirit. Just getting through each day was an exercise in frustration and exhaustion.

 And all she had to cling to was her husband Mark. Mark was an Air Force officer and he loved Susan with all his heart. When she first lost her sight, he watched her sink into despair and was determined to help his wife gain the strength and confidence she needed to become independent again. Mark’s military background had trained him well to deal with sensitive situations, and yet he knew this was the most difficult battle he would ever face. 


Finally, Susan felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself. Mark volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city. At first, this comforted Susan and fulfilled Mark’s need to protect his sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task. 

Soon, however, Mark realized that this arrangement wasn’t working – it was hectic, and costly. Susan is going to have to start taking the bus again, he admitted to himself. But just the thought of mentioning it to her made him cringe. She was still so fragile, so angry. How would she react? 

Just as Mark predicted, Susan was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again. “I’m blind!” she responded bitterly. “How am I supposed to know where I’m going? I feel like you’re abandoning me.” Mark’s heart broke to hear these words, but he knew what had to be done. He promised Susan that each morning and evening he would ride the bus with her, for as long as it took, until she got the hang of it. And that is exactly what happened. For two solid weeks, Mark, military uniform and all, accompanied Susan to and from work each day. He taught her how to rely on her other senses especially her hearing, to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. 

He helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her and save her a seat. He made her laugh, even on those not-so-good days when she would trip exiting the bus, or drop her briefcase. Each morning they made the journey together, and Mark would take a cab back to his office. Although this routine was even more costly and exhausting than the previous one, Mark knew it was only a matter of time before Susan would be able to ride the bus on her own. He believed in her, in the Susan he used to know before she’d lost her sight, who wasn’t afraid of any challenge and who would never, ever quit. 

Finally, Susan decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own. She said goodbye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Each day on her own went perfectly, and Susan had never felt better. She was doing it! She was going to work all by herself! 


On Friday morning, Susan took the bus as usual. As she was paying for her fare to exit the bus, the driver said, “Boy, I sure envy you.” Susan wasn’t sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After all who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live the past year? Curious she asked the driver, “Why do you say that you envy me?” The driver responded, “It must feel so good to be taken care of and protected like you are.” Susan had no idea what the driver was talking about, and asked again, “What do you mean?” 

The driver answered, “You know, every morning for the past week, a fine looking gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you when you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the street safely and he watches you until you enter your office building. Then he blows you a kiss, and gives you a little salute and walks away. You are one lucky lady.”

Tears of happiness poured down Susan’s cheeks. For although she couldn’t physically see him, she had always felt Mark’s presence. She was lucky, so lucky, for he had given her a gift more powerful than sight, a gift she didn’t need to see to believe – the gift of love that can bring light where there had been darkness.

This touching story has me wondering if we aren’t sometimes all like this blind woman? We feel alone, struggling to go about our life, meanwhile we are watched over, protected and held without being aware of it. We are, in fact, safe and abundant beyond our wildest imagination. There is an abundance of love and support—if we could just see it. What if we opened our hearts and looked around to notice the fullness and abundance in our life with gratitude.

Thanksgiving - Happy Thanksgiving 3

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The Effects of an Attitude of Gratitude

Have you ever heard somebody say “You should be grateful for…”? How did that feel? Was that an invitation to even consider shifting into an attitude of gratitude?

Growing up as a child, gratitude got a “bad rap” for me. Gratitude went into my shadow for a while because I could not relate to it. My parents’ and grandparents’ experience came from lack. Some very essential ingredients were missing when they referred to gratitude with that disapproving voice. They completely missed the joy, the magic, and the wonder that is to be found in gratitude. When they referred to gratitude it came from the head instead of the heart, it came from fear to have to experience lack again, instead of knowing the universe as abundant. Instead of teaching true gratitude by their example, they preached gratitude and judged what they perceived as “ungrateful”.

When I moved from Europe to Canada, Thanksgiving became one of my favourite times of the year. I loved teaching my children about giving thanks and seeing their brains process the information of abundance. Their eyes lit up and their creative little minds joyfully came up with more magical and wonderful things that had manifested and were reasons for thankfulness.

What actually happens when we focus on all our blessings? Quantum physics has taught us that we affect and create change by what we observe. We literally modify the molecules that make up our physical world. As we are focusing our attention on all we have in abundance and give thanks for everything, for what we really enjoy but also for everything we like less, we are affecting our reality.

We are happier, we are healthier and we are able to perceive opportunities and more abundance. Complaining inhibits our brain from properly processing information. Our perceptive filters prevent us from seeing what we are looking for. We only see the print-out in the physical world of our past fears and worries. Complaining creates interference. Instead of using our ability to create with clear focus what we actually want, we are creating blocks and are getting ourselves stuck.


What we complain about expands. Complaining brings on more of what we are complaining about. We always have the choice. We can focus on gratitude or on complaining. We are creating either way.

Gratitude is not something we do but who we become as we focus on our riches. Gratitude is a powerful magnet. It is expansive. Complaining, worrying and “should-ing” are constrictive. They create statics in the infinite field of possibilities. An attitude of unhappiness and dissatisfaction keeps us away from our good. “You should be grateful” is counterproductive. Saying “yes” to life means working in resonance with the field of possibilities.



In today’s globalization, we are being sold a hostile world everywhere. Our fear driven amygdala kicks in and buys into the illusion of separation, of living in a “dog-eat-dog” world. We feel small, unsafe and shift into “fight mode”. From that fear, ideas of greed, envy and competition are born.

During the Shadow Energetics workshop, we begin one morning with a deep meditation called “Being State Meditation” which my friend Darryl Gurney created. The purpose of that meditation is to experience ourselves as different from form, independent of the many roles we all play, of experiencing ourselves as true essence. Once we have had that taste of being more than our physical body and being connected with everything and everybody it has to reflect our choices. We realize the responsibility we all carry for the entire system we are all part of.

Everything is connected. Just like the five fingers of my hand are all connected, each of us is an integral part of one living system; we live as such, breathe as such, thrive as such. Everything I do affects everything else. We affect and change everything, even just by observing and thinking, not to mention by what we say and do. When we apply our beliefs, fears and opinions to the world, we shape the world. If we buy into hostility and danger, we create more violence and aggression. If our commodities are love, compassion and forgiveness, we contribute to healing the planet.

Experiments with the Transcendental Meditation® technique has shown that only one square root of 1% of a population practicing unconditional love and true peace, results in measurable improvements away from fear, crime, aggression and violence, to lower crime rates, less violence, cooperation and group thinking.


“… By choosing to add energy to the resonant field of gratitude and joy, you can fundamentally change the world… you don’t have to march for peace (although you may want to)… You can enlarge the conversation by taking your focus off the negative and noticing all the things that are going right, taking a stand for goodness of humanity.” (Pam Grout)

What we choose to focus on manifests. My mind creates my experience, not the other way around! Therefore, it is my responsibility to see a friendly Universe. It is my essential contribution to making this planet the beautiful, safe and loving place it can be.


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Angelika Baum

Belief Change Coach and Workshop Instructor


The Shadow Side of Gratitude

When I casually asked my family a couple of days ago, “Any ideas for a Thanksgiving blog?” my daughter replied, “Only cheesy ones, about gratitude”.

Now, I don’t think that gratitude is cheesy at all. Gratitude has many benefits. It gives us an experience of joy and optimism, it strengthens our relationships and it actually improves our health. The better we feel about our life, the healthier our physical body is. However, the question is, how do we handle gratitude?

My grandmother who survived two world wars used to look at her grandchildren and say to us “You are so spoiled. You should be modest and grateful for everything you have.” I learned early on that being “ungrateful” is a terrible thing, a character flaw, something we need to hide and fight. Can you guess what happened?

It became one of my shadows. Each time when I felt disappointed about something and had the perspective of ungratefulness about an event, I felt really guilty and flawed. I felt like I had failed to be what one should be, which is always grateful.

shadow 1

And as it is the case with our shadows, one of the things which triggered me most as a parent were little children who showed up as “demanding” and “spoiled”. I remember vividly a little boy at my younger daughter’s birthday party, the forgotten sad middle child of three, who loudly and clearly expressed his dissatisfaction with his loot bag as opposed to his brother’s loot bag. Apparently, his brother’s loot bag had the items in exactly the colours he wanted.

Instead of being able to see what was going on for this little guy, that his life experience was being overshadowed by his only slightly younger brother and being able to feel compassion for him, I felt an inner anger rise about this entitlement and lack of gratitude. There was my grandmother all over again. I felt like saying to him, “You are so spoiled.” Obviously, I didn’t, but I could tell his father saw it in my face and heard it in my tone as I tried to respond with a calm I didn’t feel inside. All the little boy had done was mirror to me what I had learned to hate about myself.

I have thought about my grandmother and what she taught me to suppress—the feeling of dissatisfaction in this case—many times since. I’ve thought of birthdays growing up when I felt disappointment but smiled because one is supposed to be grateful for everything. Inside, I felt like a horrible ungrateful person. Somehow that feeling of “un-gratitude” grew more from year to year, and from birthday to birthday. Suppressing our shadows is like cutting off the heads of the Lernaean Hydra, the serpentine water monster from Greek and Roman mythology. When you cut one head off, she grows two. If you cut those two off, she grows four and so on. I had a multi-headed hydra in my life, waking up each October around my birthday with more and more heads.

It wasn’t until I was a mother buying natural fibred underwear for my first child and my grandmother repeated her sentence “You are so spoiled” that I realized, it wasn’t just a bad thing to be spoiled. Suddenly, I heard a different sub-text. I heard, “Who are you to think you or your child deserves the more expensive item? Who are you to think you are special?”

I didn’t know the answer back then but I know it today. Back then she managed to trigger the feeling of guilt for being so ungrateful and spoiled. Even though my rising anger inside told me there was something to do with this situation, I did not have the right answer because I did not really feel deserving. Today, I know I deserve whatever I decide I deserve. What can look like lack of gratitude to others can also be that you know what you want and you are able to treat yourself or your family to the best.

Louise Hay - I deserve

Fact is, we are all everything. Everything that exists in the world around us, in the macrocosm, also exists inside of us, in the microcosm. We are all grateful at times and ungrateful at others. Sometimes we see the light at the end of the tunnel or the gift something or someone is. Other times a nagging feeling of “this is not good enough” creeps in. That nagging feeling is not there to be judged and suppressed. It is a call to find a way to honour ourselves more—even if that means being judged by other people as ungrateful, spoiled or selfish.

Fifteen years ago, I started on my spiritual path. In spiritual circles it’s all about gratitude. And, as I mentioned above, gratitude is a fantastic perspective changer and key to happiness. Yet, let’s not forget to first honestly feel what is really there, acknowledge it, decide if it’s a call to do something and then, in the final step, shift to a different perspective—if we choose to.

Gratitude cannot be forced. Nobody has to be grateful, not on their birthday or Christmas or Thanksgiving. Those celebrations can bring out all sorts of emotions. Honour them. And when you are ready, feel free to try this thing called gratitude—not because we should all be grateful, but just because it might be fun to see what it’s like.


Thanksgiving - Happy Thanksgiving

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