Category Archives: Empowerment

Labyrinth

Across the field

Feel the call

See its presence

Anticipate the mystery

Approach

Listen to the guidance

Cleanse through the sage

Ready with the chimes

Enter

Step slowly, quickly or stop

Go deep, go deeper

Find the inner core

Be aware

Mysteries are within

Baggage is cut loose

Minds are cleared open

The core

Center bring stillness

Awareness comes; confusion passes

Journey out begins

Exiting

Time and space has changed

Mind and spirit are intertwined

Trance is here

Leaving

Steps are quick or slow

Emerge from the depths

Release the trance

Clearing

Distance offers grounding

Friends bring experience

Laughter fills the air

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Voice

My inner voice has broken free

Once limited

Once timid

Once silent

My inner voice speaks aloud and questions

Why must I follow you

Why should I be silent

Why can there be no change

My inner voice denies your power and speaks of change

Rules are meant to be broken

Yesterday’s truths are today’s lies

Change starts with a single notion

My voice has joined with others

Together the world is different

Together other paths are visible

Together notions of change are growing

Voice is now

Massive

Strong

Loud

Voice teaches

Strength

Possibilities

Acceptance

Voice is an agent of change

My voice has brought me full circle

Once hidden

Now it represents the masses

My World

I navigate my world unlike you

And yet you watch me with intent

For years I have been baffled by this

Why are you interested in my world?

I see the world as a puzzle

Each task I work out in my mind before

I watch you to see how I should do it differently

A two-step task for you; is six or eight for me

Is your watch of judgement or of wonder?

Your eyes portray a mixture of both

Why does my world hold your interest?

Is the judgement due to fear or ignorance

You hold no understanding and yet you want to

And so you assume the truth

You hold silent when you could speak your questions

That silence sees my world as difficult and unpleasant

When it is simple and beautiful

The wonder you hold keeps my curiosity

Your excitement grows as you watch my steps

Silence fills the room; Did I miss something

No you are merely watching me

Your mind is full of questions and they are wonderful

My answers give truth to the puzzle of my life

No longer must you wonder how; for I am here to show and tell

I saw myself in my own world

And I watched with wonder

How interesting I found the tasks

The puzzle in my mind; I now can see

I watch with intent, what happens next

How interesting it is, I have watched you for years but not myself

I navigate my world unlike you

You watch me with intent

Now I understand this

My world is different, full of surprise and adventure

Why wouldn’t you want to come and see!

The 4th World Youth Taekwondo Camp


Over the last week I have had the chance to experience some fantastic opportunities. I was invited back to South Korea to speak at the 4th World  Youth Taekwondo Camp. There were approximately 300 people from 30 different countries at the camp. Through out the week I was approached by many youth who had seen my story on television and were inspired. I was part of a special lecture series and had the chance to inspire youth.  I had several encounters with the local media far more than I ever expected. I made friendships with Olympic medalists and trained with Taekwondo Masters from all over.  I was also was reminded of my own limitations despite my determination to succeed. Image

Our, myself and Danielle, travel to the camp was long as we had a 14 hour air flight to Korea and then a three-hour bus ride to our hotel in Muju, South Korea. Upon arrival we went straight to sleep for we had a full day training the next day. The arrangements that we had in Muju were beautiful the view of the mountains from the room was amazing. Since we got in so late, breakfast was our first true opportunity to meet the other participates. We meet a mother and son from Jordan and got to hear her son’s journey to the camp which was not the easiest. I also found out that my story had made a difference in his life.

Before we knew it we had arrived at the training facility and gathered together to train.

Throughout the day I had the opportunity to train with the participates. At times I joined the students and trained within the group this was enjoyable and at other times I assisted with the instruction of the students. We did a stretch and kicking drilling (Kyorugi) together. During the first training day I meet an olympic medalist, Tran Hieu Ngan the silver medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games, she was extremely friendly and we hung out the rest of the week. I was also asked to speak with the press. This was quite the experience as I sat in a room with about ten reporters it was like I was having my own press conference. I was in awe about how my story had impacted so many people all over the world.

The following day we had the special lecture series and had the chance to experience Korean Traditional Culture.


Through the special lecture series I was given the chance to speak to the participates about my story. I was also able to inspire hope and enthusiasm in the youth. As speaker I always try to inspire my audience in finding their inner strength. I spoke about how we all have our own challenges and with those we are all here today. Taekwondo is a sport that gives opportunity to the many and what we learn in Taekwondo we can then take and apply to all the parts of our lives.

It really was an honor to speak at the camp. I feel that I made a difference in the lives of these youth. I hope the media coverage that occurred during my visit helps to inspire and reach many more in South Korea and all over the world.

After the lecture series we were given the chance to experience Korean traditional culture. We went to the cultural center and had a traditional meal. We also had a chance to learn about a traditional wedding and Korean drums. We also had a chance to visit a traditional village called Jeonju Hanok. I really enjoyed seeing this cultural side of South Korea. As we were leaving the village there was a presentation of the lion mask dance. This was great to watch as it included the drumming we were shown at the cultural center. 

The following day we returned to our training. In the morning there was Kyorugi training again and I took this time rest as we have had a busy schedule. In the afternoon we had Poomsae (Forms) training during this time I did a demonstration of a Poomsae to the group and joined the instruction. I really enjoyed the Poomsae part of the training. Unfortunately,  at the end of the Poomsae my knee gave out on me. This stopped me from being involved with the Kyukpa (breaking). We also took a trip to the construction site of Taekwondowon and it was amazing to the models and picture come alive.

In the evening our day of culture continued as we had a K-POP dance performance. Then the youth presented folk costumes and had a talent show from their native country. At the end we the demonstration of the flying pungdeung where we wrote our hopes and dreams and let them fly in the sky.

On our last full day we packed everything up and moved ourselves to Seoul. We were on our way to do a Poomsae and Kyukpa demonstration at the Olympic Park. When we arrived they gave me a new dobok with the sleeves removed. We did a short practice and then were given a break. Things were going well and then my knee gave out and I had lots of pain. It was so bad that I couldn’t bend my knee and barely walk. My friend Danielle was there for me and helped advocate for me. I had managed to do everything else was doing without problem but my body had hit its limit. However, within a few minutes a Mater from Spain was by my side and was massaging and using pressure to help my knee. I was given ice and told to sit. Within five minutes I was standing without pain and was able to join the demonstration of the Poomse.I was glad to be about to join the demonstration. However the knee pain did return and I had to rest at the hotel for the rest of the afternoon. It was not a decision that I like , but it was a needed and responsible one. Growing up with a disability I have learned the importance of having support and knowing when to stop. On this trip I had different support people but one stand out my friend Danielle. Danielle was there as a companion and gave so much support without question. She carry things for me so I would last longer and helped me with the smaller things that happen throughout the trip. It was her support that made a difference to me.

We ended the week with a final dinner. During this time I had the chance to talk with the youth from all the different countries. I found out that my story has been published in a magazine called I Love Taekwondo Global Magazine. I had an amazing time on my second trip to South Korea and I look forward to a chance to return again.

Adaptive Sports

For a number of years I have thought about getting a bike again. As a child I had a big wheel and loved it.  I rode it so much it literally fell apart one day. Since then I have not had a bike and have often wanted one. Over the years I looked into it and found it to be expensive and complicated which often lead me to find something else to do with my time. Well about two weeks ago I started looking into bikes again and came across new information and possibilities. On Friday I went to NH to a program called Northeast Passage to have a bike demo. I was going to be able to try various bikes and see which would really work for me. Very exciting.

I received more out of the appointment then I had imagined. When I first arrived I was brought into a huge room of bikes. I got to look through them and see what would work we settled on two possibilities. A trike bike and the banana peel bike. The trike bike we had to play with for a while to get things set at the right measurements. This had hand brakes and the steering were with my hands which I found to be difficult once they had me riding it.

Then we switched to the banana peel bike. This bike was amazing it was so easy to use the steering and peddling were controlled by the hips and legs. It felt so natural. I rode around the parking for a while and found that I was getting good at it pretty quick. The main drawback to this bike is that it is only a one speed. So if I really got into riding I may need something with more speed.

I had a lot of fun and got amazing information. I found that I could sign up with Spaulding Hospital to be involved with their adaptive cycling program and use the same banana peel bike. This would give be a chance to really try this bike out before buying it. Then I learned about other adaptive sports that Northeast Passage was involved with water-skiing, kayaking, golf, and shooting. I’m very exciting about all these possibilities for this summer. I am already signed up for cycling and water-skiing. I’m looking into kayaking and shooting. I love to try new thing!

Easter Seals-Ready, Set, Go!

Easter Seals Team Hoyt Rising Star Award is given to a person who shows determination to break down barriers facing people with disabilities. This year I had the honor to be presented with this award at the Ready, Set, Go event. The evening was wonderful. Barry Nolan was the Emcee. He had great remarks about Dick and Rick Hoyt. I only recently have learned about the Hoyt Team and was even more inspired by their story after hearing Barry. Then there was the unveiling of the Team Hoyt Portrait which was amazing. Later I was presented with the Rising Star Award. Kirk Joslin, Easter Seals, presented me with the award along with a few friends of mine. I have been a friend and mentor to the Perrino family as their son also has TARs. I was blown away by his remarks regarding my life. I have to say I was a bit teary eyed as I was given the award.

I was honored to receive this award. As I said that night I have spent my life just being me and never imagined that my life would inspire so many people. I spoke to the Ready, Set, Go audience the only way I could and that was from my heart. I told them how amazing my family and friends have always been to me and how they made difference in my life. I also told them about some of the amazing experiences that I have had working with Massachusetts Easter Seals.

My friend Remon Jourdan then read an original poem called “An Honorable Equation” which was an opening for the next award. EMC Corporation received the Team Hoyt Award because they have determination to break down barriers facing people with disabilities. As a corporation they are ensuring that people disabilities have equal opportunities to work.

The whole evening was awesome and I’m honored to have been a part of the Ready, Set, Go evening.

“Delightful Sheila”

Delightful Sheila

The documentary was aired in S. Korea the week of February 19, 2012 and people involved with making were pleased with out come. I received my copies the second week of March 2012. I was very excited to watch it. I was curious as to what made the final cut and what did not. There was a lot of filming done and in the end maybe a third of it made it into the documentary.

Upon watching the film there was a lot of dubbing done to the English interviews. I had though they would keep our parts English with Korean subtitles. Perhaps that would of been to much for the Korean viewers. Just as they had planned there were four themes that my personal life including family and friends, my professional life including my work at HAWC and my motivational speaking, Tae Kwon Do accomplishments, and my trip to South Korea which were put into five episodes. I now have my own theme music which is pretty cool! I was amused to see that they kept me being annoyed with them at dinner one night. I looked at the camera a told him I was tired, sore, hungry, and cranky and I would talk to him later. Then there was a conversation with nephew when we were trying to get him to tell his name to the camera and he says he was busy. Very cute I was happy to see that made the film that was so him and he was so cute. I was really please to see that Shriners Hospital for Children was captured in a really good light as they have always been an important part of my life. Watching myself in this film and others has really given me a new perspective on how I do things and why people are sometimes amazing by what I do.

I have been slowly sharing the film with friends and family. I have a friend making some copies for me so I can lend them out. He is also trying to take out the dubbing into Korean of the English interviews to allow my friends and family to be able to understand. Just the other night I had a movie with a bunch of and one of friends who speaks Korean came over to translate some of the Korean. This was a lot of I finally got to understand what was being said by people in the Korean episode after I spoke or demonstrated my Tae Kwon Do. It turns out people were inspired by me! As I get better with video editing I hope to put parts of it on my website or youtube.

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Easter Seals -Team Hoyt Rising Star Award

Easter Seals Honors Peabody Woman Who Defied the Odds

March 21, 2012 – Sheila Radziewicz, whose personal story has inspired people the world over, will receive the prestigious Team Hoyt Rising Star Award from Easter Seals on April 12. The ceremony will take place at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge.

The award, given annually, honors her efforts to break down barriers facing children and adults with disabilities, including her work as a motivational speaker and mentor.

Radziewicz was born with a rare genetic disorder called thrombocytopenia with absent radius (TAR) syndrome that left her with hands, but no arms or kneecaps, and a host of other medical problems. Doctors told her parents she would not live.

But with the support of her loving family, she defied the odds. As a child, doctors said she would never walk. After numerous operations and long periods in leg braces and casts, she went on to play soccer, roller skate, ride a mini-bike, ski and go horseback riding, among other things – just like the other kids.

Her connection with Easter Seals began when she took swimming lessons in an Easter Seals program at the YMCA in Malden, where she grew up. In recent years, Radziewicz joined the Easter Seals Regional Board in Boston and participated in the organization’s Youth Leadership Forum for teens and young adults with disabilities, discussing self-advocacy.

Wherever she goes, she inspires people with both her abilities and the motto she lives by: “Everything is possible. The impossible just takes a little longer.”

Today, Radziewicz is an articulate and confident woman of 33 who lives independently in Peabody. A college graduate with a master’s degree in criminal justice, Radziewicz works fulltime as the volunteer coordinator for Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC), an agency in Salem that helps domestic-abuse victims.

She purchased a new car recently with help from Easter Seals and drives with her feet, thanks to adaptations from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.

Two years ago Radziewicz became the first woman with no arms to receive a black belt in the World Federation of Tae Kwon Do, a Korean martial art. The distinction drew the attention of a South Korean TV station, which recently taped a five-part series on her life.

The media attention she received after receiving her black belt inspired Radziewicz to start a second career as a motivational speaker. In addition to the Easter Seals Youth Leadership Forum, she has told her story and spoken about disability awareness at local schools and organizations, and at Shriners Hospital in Springfield, where she was treated as a child.

“Sheila Radziewicz inspires everyone, both with and without disabilities, with her determination and accomplishments,” Easter Seals President Kirk Joslin said. “As a motivational speaker and mentor to children and teens with disabilities, she is a fine role model – an accomplished, successful and independent adult.”

Easter Seals created the Team Hoyt Rising Star Award to honor individuals who share the courage and determination of legendary athletes Dick and Rick Hoyt. The Hoyts, longtime Easter Seals supporters, are fan favorites in the Boston Marathon every year and inspire people all over the world with their message of, “Yes, you can!”

Easter Seals Massachusetts provides services to ensure that children and adults with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play. Nonprofit and nonsectarian, Easter Seals offers technological assistance, employment and training services, recreational activities, youth transition and leadership programs, veterans’ services, rehabilitation services and public awareness programs. For more information, call 800 244-2756 or go to http://www.EasterSealsMa.org.

For more info http://ma.easterseals.com/site/Calendar?view=Detail&id=37238

US Filming ( Part 2)

US Filming (Part 2)

January 23, 2012

Today I got a little a down time which was needed. I had intended to do a training with Awareness and Action unfortunately I could get consent to have the filming with me advance and thought best not to go. I had given my consent to be apart of this and felt that I should not go places where I knew filming would not happen. Instead I kept my original day off and planned that we would do my formal interview that was needed anyways. I was happy to sleep in a bit and get rest as my knees where bothering me a bit. I ended up with the morning off as Momo was checking-in to things for filming for the evening. We all sat and had lunch and then there was setup for the interview. This took a fair amount of time and the location was chanced a few things before agreeing on the space. The most difficult thing about the interview was how they wanted me to sit. They were concerned about position and lighting I was concerned about comfort of my legs in particular which is something people do not always understand. The interview went well and then they filmed me reading which I thought was rather weird. Then I got the rest of the day to rest as they went to do the formal interview with Sandra and Master McCorry at Martial Arts.

That evening I had plans to hangout with my friend Zayda from work. We planned to meet up at the mall an go on the Jumpy Thing in the center of the mall. I had wanted to do this for sometime but had not got around to do it. It took us a little while to locate the man at the jumpy thing and then got setup. I was nervous at first as I had never done this before and I do not have a great like for heights. I held on tight at first and slowly got more comfortable with it. I did a bunch of bouncing and jumpy no big tricks. I did have a great deal of fun. There was a bit of screaming at first thou that ended quickly. After that we got a drink an headed home. We had planned to make some brownies but ended up doing hair and makeup which was really fun. I can not remember the last time I had done hair and makeup with a friend. We giggled and laughed a great deal that night. Then I got my picture taken. I was told to pose and stuff which had in a fit of giggles because it felt very weird.

January 24, 2012

Filming happen in the evening for me on this day. They had spent sometime filming the north shore because it was pretty warm that day. Also they were really not interested in filming any more meeting at work which was fine with me. I had a very important meeting at work that day and did not need the stress of the filming. At Tae Kwon Do that night there was to be an interview with one of the young students had been bullied at school. His mother was there as well and she was interviewed also. I did a small private with him going over forms, belt combinations and saw his new weapon he was learning. They leaned that he had some knowledge of chucks and wanted him to do the with me. This was uncomfortable on a few levels first I do chucks different then others and did not know if this would confuse him and second I realized he was just learning the chucks. Then there was the fact that he needed to get back to class. They had bee with him for sometime and it was important for him to rejoin class which he did. They then decided to interview his mom. This gave me a break.

I have to say at this point the filming was getting to me. It had been a week and everyday they were there with the camera. They wanted to know what we were doing next or they were trying to interview my friends and family while in the middle of things. Everyone seemed ok with it but I felt uncomfortable for them. I still had a week to go. It was at this point i remember why I had originally agreed to seven to ten days not to fourteen. Fourteen it was going to be and I just reminded myself that this would make a difference for other people.

The second class started an we broke up into groups. I was in the front part of the class with another teacher and we were working on forms with the students. This was a little nerve racking as do not usually lead a class and was getting the feeling that is what they wanted. I continued with want I usually do never the less. The next class was my usually class. They were very interested in me sparring and asked if we could do that tonight. I told them it was not up to me it was up to Sandra. As it turned out we were doing weapons and breaking that night which was fine with as I enjoy both of those things. They were excited to film both of these things. They also continued to randomly interview my friends in the middle of class which was a little uncomfortable. Class went well I did have a little trouble breaking the board with my hand but in the end I succeed. My hand hurt a bit and might have bruises in the morning but that was part of the process sometimes.

January 25, 2012

I have been told that I’m really going to Korea. This is exciting! I really wish they would confirm some details. Filming today is Tae Kwon Do again. They are interviewing another student and then I will have my regular Wednesday night class. The interview went really well. I learned that she had been bullied at school as well and did not know that before. She also told me that when I presented at her school last year it really made a difference for her to know that I was bullied when I was a child and that she was not alone. After the interview we joined the stretch and then there was class for her. We did kicking drills during class and I went around helped with kicked and tried to keep the students focused. My regular class was next. I learned just before that we would be sparring tonight which made me very happy. Then I learned that they wanted my friends to to wear a camera on their heads when sparring. I did not like this idea. I told Master McCorry hoping he would tell them no but he said I needed to tell them if I felt uncomfortable about the idea. I tried to convince him that it was a bad idea. That did not work. Finally I told him that I would not ask my friends to do that it made me feel uncomfortable. I understood it would get better shoots with the camera but people were here to do class not to do things differently because of me. So he had to film with the other camera. Class was great because we were sparring and moving around quickly there was no time for questions/interviews of me or my friends. I was free to focus on Tae Kwon Do and I really needed it. Work had been very stressful and I was not getting my usually stress relief at Tae Kwon Do because of the camera being there. After sparing there was some questions but I was too tired to care.

January 26, 2012

Today there were two things planned to be filmed today a presentation about HAWC at Endicott College and roller skating after work. I arrived a early for the presentation which is a norm for me. The filming guys were late and then I realized that I had given them the wrong address to the main entrance to the college. I started the presentation with a video and then went on to present. The filming arriving a few minutes into the video. The presentation went great I had candy and gifts to give out this made a good interaction between me and the group. I was throwing candy around the room without that much difficulty. After the presentation I had checked with the professor about and interview which he was agreeable to. Then all of a sudden he wants to film me driving on the campus. I understand the need to film the coming and going but he had ever asked this of me before when we planned the day. I needed to get back to work as I had many things to get done. He went without this filming as I went to work. I left feeling rushed that having the filming was keeping from doing my job properly, even thou it was not.

Everyone was getting sick at work which caused only a few to be able to go roller skating. I was fine with it but they kept asking me were are your friends it was annoying even if it was not meant that way. As it turned out my sister, nephew, dad, and two friends were able to come. When we arrived there were more issues because the rink was in use for lessons already. We were able to made it work for about a half hour which was good for me as I had not roller skated for a while. While waiting to figure things out we come to realize my old roller skating teacher was there doing lessons, small world. It was a lot of. It was a lot harder then I remember. I skated around with everyone and was having fun. Then Momo put this camera on my head which messed me all up. I was thinking and feeling that and within seconds I was on the ground. I also feel to the side that the micro phone was so it hurt more then it should with the little box on my hip. While there they interviewed friends and family all the while this not so bad because they all were there for filming so it did not feel weird. Until they tried to interview my old teacher. He was teaching lessons that did not feel ok to me. He was ok with the request and declined. His wife was there and did remember me and was interviewed for a few minutes. They wanted me apart of it as well I last only a few and left my legs were tired and I needed to sit down now!

After skating I decided to go to the grocery store to pick up a few things for my house party tomorrow. They seemed taken back by this expecting me to go tomorrow after work before the party. That seemed crazy to me because needed to be getting for the party at that point not going shopping. I ended up going shopping with Michelle because they really wanted to go with a friend. I guess it makes for better filming to have another with me. I think they thought I was going to prepare more for party. It was was a potluck this is how parties happen with us. I was a little stressed and grumpy with work so when asked about food I was quick that was not cooking. The shopping was fast. I am not sure if it was what he was looking for but did not really care.