Forget Memory – Try Imagination

Where did you goI sit and watch as my mother desperately tries to remember my name. She sighs with frustration and then smiles saying, “We are related, aren’t we dear?” For several years, my responses as I see her mounting frustration and self-criticism are either “Memory is overrated” or “I can keep that memory for you mum.” Intuitively, I knew that there needed to be another way to communicate that didn’t rely on memory, that honoured the way my mum strung together disparate thoughts to explain her experience, but I didn’t have a vocabulary or framework for what I was sensing. Then I learned about the  Imagination Network. If memory is deteriorating, there is imagination. And how to foster imagination? Start with creativity, the arts, storytelling. My heart is singing.

One of the processes that the Imagination Network is using is called Time Slips, based on the work of Anne Basting. In 1996, Anne wondered if the improvisation and creative drama techniques would be helpful for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. After trying many reminiscence-based techniques, Basting shifted toward imagination – and the improvisation sessions took off. With pressure to remember removed, imagination took flight. Using an evocative photograph as a starting point, a facilitator guides people with dementia through a process to create a story. Then, a team of professional media and theatre artists, a group of community members—consisting of caregivers, family, seniors and volunteers—will design, create and produce new media and theatre works that reflect the original responses to the photographs. It is exciting to have this project underway here at the Good Samaritan Christenson Village. (I am looking forward to participating in a TimeSlips session. Look for the results during the Sunshine Coast Arts Crawl this fall.)

This is the (r)evolution in eldercare that I am seeking. I know in my bones that creativity and the arts have the power to transform lives. I know in my heart that our elders deserve better care, especially those with dementia. The arts in care facilities can be much more than a craft session. Using tools such as TimeSlips we can value our elders’ experiences and allow them to gift us with their expression. A deep bow of gratitude to all who are involved in this work. Now, to find some photos to show my mum. I wonder what stories she will create?

We are Not A Loan

A debt jubilee…Did you know that there is an organization that is seeking donations to buy-up distressed  debts, including student loans and outstanding medical bills, and then wipe the slate clean by writing them off. It is called the Rolling Jubilee. Watch the video; it gave me goosebumps. Goosebumps of recognition. Goosebumps of excitement. Imagine a world free of debt.

David Rees, one of the organisers behind the project, writes on his blog: “This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need – to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy.

“Now, after many consultations with attorneys, the IRS, and our moles in the debt-brokerage world, we are ready to take the Rolling Jubilee program live and nationwide, buying debt in communities that have been struggling during the recession.”

A video released to promote the project says: “We shouldn’t be forced into debt to cover basic needs like healthcare, housing and education. We need a jubilee, a clean slate. The math is on our side; a little bit of money goes a long way. If we can raise $50,000 we can buy a million dollars worth of debt and abolish it.

“We bailed-out the banks and in return they turned their backs on us. We don’t owe them anything, we owe each other everything. It’s time for a bail-out of the people, by the people.”

Many thanks to http://www.the2012scenario.com and Matthew Sparks of The Telegraph

Creativity and Rest Transform Fear

 

 

Taking a weekend to rest, have a date with my beloved, and paint something beautiful and practical (a canvas floor rug) combine to create a balm to soothe my soul. Who knew that rest and creativity could transform fear? I didn’t know that on Friday as clearly as I do now.

May this insight grow and flourish. May I take the time I need to tend to my creativity.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Living Artfully

Line art on Scraped Paper

One of my visions is to have a spacious, well-lit studio that looks out onto a creek and forest. The studio is stocked with what ever art supply I need. And, wonders of wonders, the studio magically tidies itself up at night.

Playing with this vision while I napped this afternoon, I asked myself what is my true desire, my authentic desire, my heart’s desire? Is my true desire is to have a studio space or, is the true desire to live life artfully. Or, to live an art-filled life?

What would an artful life look like, feel like? It might be a life where I can follow the energy to shift, change and reveal patterns, be they patterns related to paint, paper, pen, and ink, or energetic patterns. Where I can co-create ceremony, celebrations, community. A life where I am a creator of content, of my life, rather than a consumer.

When I consider the desire for an artful life, I feel like I am growing wings. One moment the white, graceful feathered wings of a swan, another moment the powerful, wide wings of eagle, condor, hawk. And then, raven wings to twist and turn and dance within the forest.

And now, to the studio, to make some wings, to be a wingmaker, a dream weaver, an artist of my life.

Greeting Cards to Nourish Your Heart

 

Love What You Do 5X7 Greeting Card

 

 

I am delighted to let you know that I have created a page (or store) to display and sell Occupy Your Heart greeting cards. It was a steep learning curve. Buttons mislinking, codes needing to be adjusted, but it was also very rewarding. The designs come from my heart – may they nourish your heart.