6.05.2011

The Portland Blind Cafe


The Blind Cafe is about Learning to Trust

The Blind Cafe is an extremely awe inspiring project that has been on my list of things to do in Portland, but the dates and times have never matched with my schedule. This week I finally got to experience it for myself, and it was amazing!

The video gives more details about how it all works, but basically you are led into a completely darkened room to enjoy dining, conversing, and listening to music from the perspective of being without sight. You are served by blind waitstaff and most of all you are connecting within the commonality of a community. Here's my favorite excerpt from The Blind Cafe's Web site:

This is NOT just a another dinner in the dark...it’s a community experience where people connect, learn and grow from working together to participate in something greater than themselves.

The Blind Cafe is designed to get you thinking, to help you discover new aspects of yourself so you feel more alive, awake, present and connected to your world.


Not only did I have the unique experience of learning about the lives of people who are visually impaired, I was given an incredible opportunity to rely on their special talents for navigating in a world unknown to me. Surprisingly, I felt immense relief when I allowed myself to trust and be completely dependent on someone else.

During dinner, I found myself reaching out to strangers and asking for help in ways I would never have imagined if the room was lit. I also noticed that I immediately dove into assisting others sitting at my table in a much more group conscious manner instead of hanging back and wondering who should take charge. We used both words and physical touch to find our way in this new environment, and it was an intimacy that has had a lasting affect on my senses. We were like one team navigating through the darkness in a new kind of unison.

Lastly, listening to the live music of Rosh & One Eye Glass Broken in the dark with a group of people may go down as one of my most bonding experiences. There must be something about string instruments that connects directly to your heart space. I was simultaneously experiencing an inward sacred moment while being in an outward sacred moment filled with strangers who felt like my friends. Many blessings to Rosh and the outstanding musicians and volunteers who gave me the gift of seeing our world in a different way!

The Blind Cafe can be found in Portland, Oregon, Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas, so if you are visiting or live in one of these locations I hope you'll check it out.

7 comments:

  1. What a humbling experience... Trust is definitely a word that sums this up...I bet everyone is touched by this.

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  2. I've never heard of anything like this. How interesting! Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm glad you had it.

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  3. I've heard about the one in Boulder - in fact the first time I heard about it I was out with friends and these random people I had never met started telling me all about it as they had just finished with their blind cafe dinner. I found it very interesting that these random people were going on about this fascinating experience, but now I see they probably came out from the dinner transformed and open to talk with any and all about it! I should go for sure. I'll watch for the next one. :)

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  4. Amazing, Beth, thank you for bringing this to our (my!) attention. Lucky to be in PDX, so I am going to their web site right now!

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  5. Thanks for taking the time to expose yourself to this project! I hope you each get a chance to go.

    Kim, I'm guessing you would totally love this so I hope you try it in Boulder :)

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  6. I've heard of a restaurant that does this. I hope to try it one day.

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