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A couple of years ago I had the honour and privilege of being invited to the CNIB Lake Joseph Centre, for a strategic planning offsite … and storytelling.

I had worked with the CNIB before, but had no idea that they owned and operated a property north of the city.

What an incredibly beautiful place … says I … the fully sighted facilitator amongst 50 visually impaired and blind guests.

Truly, I spent my 2 days with these folks taking one foot out of my mouth so I could put the other one in!!

The day of my session, I got up early to set up the beautiful big living room space where we would be doing the session.

I thought it was early enough in the day that I could get all my stuff sorted out and be ready to greet everyone after breakfast.

When I arrived at the main building to set up the room, there were already 3 or 4 people gathered in running gear warming up.

It was still dark outside so I warned them to be very careful and not wrench an ankle. ‘Of course it’s dark outside, Marilyn … it’s dark outside all the time for us!’

This was the beginning of a day that changed my life.

As the group headed out for their run tethered to their dogs or each other, I watched the sun rise over Lake Muskoka.

After breakfast, the guests worked in teams and crafted their stories to answer the following question;

When were you first struck with the realization that, through your work at CNIB, you had made a meaningful impact on someone’s life?

Then, one by one, we sat on the edge of our seats and listened, laughed, and cried, as each guest presented their story.

That day CNIB realized that they not only possessed incredibly powerful stories, but amazing storytellers. They also realized that in order to create authentic human connections with the sighted world, they must share those stories.

@Diane Bergeron was leading the early morning run that day with her dog Lucy. She also was one of the first to stand in the session, and tell several very personal stories.

She asked the sighted guests to close their eyes when she told her stories so we could truly appreciate them from her perspective.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful and evocative skills we possess as humans … it is also one of our strongest and oldest impulses.

At Lake Joseph, I also gained a new appreciation of storytelling as the most accessible art form!

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Golden retriever sleeping beside a foot
@Diane Bergeron with her dog Lucy