Stash Serafin came into my life in the late 80’s or early 90’s, if memory serves. What moved me the most about him was how he literally moved through the world with heart wide open and a glowing smile on his face. All these years later, that hasn’t changed. What has changed is the number of people he has touched with his story and passion for life.
He has achieved what many people would see as extraordinary, living full out as a person with visual blindness in a sighted world and then added to it, being a champion skater and coach. I wondered what makes him different than many people with physical challenges.
“I honestly never feel or felt different than others with disabilities. I somehow was blessed with skaters and coaches who for the most part saw me as an equal. This suspiciously feels like I somehow unconsciously knew I was equal going beyond the barriers of sight or not sight. I only can say that mind matters, attitude, gratitude feels like these are my medicine or tools I use to stimulate myself, inspire myself therefore inspiring others as I live my example through my unique experiences. These unique experiences are the way I perceive my world from somehow taking Braille out of the box as Braille became my learning curve. It became the model I somehow educated myself on and off the ice as I refined what my modern dance and skating coaches told me to do as I couldn’t imitate only feel.
Its like the Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan connection. When Helen figured out the word water with her fingers, her world totally transformed itself. I can only imagine how frustrated she became when she couldn’t communicate. Helen used her fingers to talk, and I started using my blades or feet to see.”
“So way-cool agree?? Imagine you were my dance or skating coach and try to describe something in words that is beyond words example, how to jump, what does a jump look like in the air, how do you land? I kind of cheated as I somehow already knew I am spirit, and therefore imagined myself landing jumps even before I could do the physical jumps. I began to apply this in other areas of my life, and developed a set of feel first and form follows tips and tricks for clients on and off the ice. Somehow, the ice skating taught me to remember something I forgot as I grew older since I didn’t start skating until 1968 and I was already old for the skating sport sigh. I got on the ice and felt as if I was home. Now; what was home?” When asked how all of this began; Stash shared: “Well; I began to remember when I was a little child; like two or three, my Mom would play a game she called Catch Me If You Can. We lived on a farm, had a huge front lawn with two large oak trees in the middle of the lawn. Mom would put things in her pocket so the things in her pocket would make noise as she ran around the trees. I would follow her, and somehow I started following her in little, tiny circles. It was as if the more comfortable I became in the little area, I would expand or increase the size of the circle without knowing why.” Stash adds, by way of describing how he incorporates this into his work as a coach: “This lead to feeling before form, and the formula I use for my clients is Comfort, Confidence, and Creativity. The comfort first as when one can feel comfort in a little area, one naturally expands the area without force or friction. Comfortable is quite different than familiar.”
“The confidence follows. Ask a dancer or anyone who moves and first moves without a sense of comfort, the movement is sometimes stiff, rigid, not fluid, full of friction, fear, familiar but not comfortable. Familiar is something we’re so use to but doesn’t mean it is comfortable or gives us any comfort. so; the more comfort the more confident, and then the creative or creativity expresses itself fully like a seed who knows what it is from start to finish. Start from the tiny seed that already has all the components in itself to potentially be the thing it knows itself to be.”
So, what does comfort and familiarity have to do with the joy of living? “Little means a lot, comfortable means a lot, and comfortable could be likened to setting boundaries through a language of energy vibrations or a set of frequencies that comfort rather than constrict growth. This is what I mean by successful living learning skills of sensitivity, the comfort, confidence, and creative. For me, its all an energy dance, and the dance can be done with dignity. Its like our Blogtalk show, Dialogues With Dignity where we take a topic, have no sides, just share from our experiences how we cultivated dignity and because of this, doubts dissolve, and desires increase.” “My secret is when a vision is always bigger than the physical, the vision or dream has a chance as physical for me always plays catch up to my vision. Therefore keeping expansion happening on every level or dimension.”
Since Stash inspires so many, I wondered who fuels his fire: “I am inspired by people such as yourself who have courage to dare to follow your bliss, dare to dream your dreams, and keep on doing the dance until it becomes an actual physical experience. Dorothy Hamill inspires me and she mentioned me in her book, A Skaters Life page 123. Alan Cohen also inspires me as does Marianne Williamson, Abraham, Jerry and Esther Hicks, plus all the skaters I’ve been honored to share shows with and ice time with when in the old days; 1970’s, ice conditions were extremely crowded when we had dance teams, pair teams, single skaters all skating on a single session; 40 people, and very few accidents happened.”
With one small regret: “I use to feel kind of sad as I couldn’t see a video clip of my skating, but I recently was talking with a former coach of mine and this coach mentioned “You just take one step on the ice, and anyone, whether they skated or not can tell you’re a great skater.” Now; that’s a compliment.” “I remember a quote I said so many years ago during a TV Special highlighting my skating. “There is that little spark inside myself that just doesn’t want to quit.” “I outdid myself, and I’m still outdoing myself.” Sound arrogant? I’m not feeling that; only the spirit or inspiration from a vision and the possibility or potential for it to actually become a physical experience.”
Although the world might view Stash as courageous for all he has accomplished, he adds: “I can’t say I ever felt courageous, but one time I was interviewed on a radio show, and the woman said “People who have courage or are remarkable don’t even know they have courage or are remarkable. They just go on and keep on doing what they do, because they love what they are doing.” Now; that makes sense, plus it feels good to me.” www.stashskate.com