Wednesday, April 25, 2007

BEING HOPEFUL

BEING HOPEFUL

Wendy Edey R. Psych M.Ed.

Hope is: A process of anticipation that involves the interaction of
thinking, acting, feeling and relating, and is directed toward a future fulfillment that is personally meaningful” (Charlotte Stephenson, 1991, p. 1459).

How can I look to the future and be hopeful at the same time? Here are eight things I have learned about being hopeful despite the things that are happening around me. You might have others to add to this list. .

1) Hope audaciously. Others can give you statistics, predictions and probabilities, but only you can decide what to hope for.

2) Discover how it feels to be hopeful. Where does your body feel it—in your chest, your knees, your eyes or somewhere else?

3) Hang out with hopeful people, the people who make you hopeful.

4) Remember things that turned out better than you expected and tell others about them.

5) Remember impossible things that became possible and tell others about them.

6) Say things that make you hopeful. Use the language of “when” and yet”. Start sentences with ”I hope”.

7) Do things that make you hopeful.

8) Hoping is an active process. Keep finding new things to hope for.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

LATER

I remember when I thought it would be hard for him to get a job
And when the thought would cross my mind a knot of worry followed.
So I said, “Later. I’ll think about that later.”

I remember when he told me he would maybe get a job
And I said, “That’s great, Honey. Where would you like to work.”
And he said, “Later. We’ll talk about this later.”

And I remember saying, “Do your resume.
Let’s do your resume so you will have it with you when you want to look for jobs.”
And he said, “Later. I’ll think about this later.”

And I remember thinking you don’t get a job by wishing.
You have to pound the pavement, tell the folks that you are willing.
You have to have the courage to confront your limitations.
You have to ask for help, and I knew that help was out there.
We need only go and seek it, but you had to work with others.
So I kept my hope alive by saying, “Later. I’ll help him with it later.”

And I recall the day when we went shopping for his birthday gift
And Don the bicycle man said, “This is what he’s wanting.
And by the way, do you think he wants to work here?”

And later when he worked therewith out making application
Grinding out a resume, knocking on doors or pounding pavement
I admitted I had surely been mistaken
In my thought of what it takes for a teen-age boy with disabilities to get a job.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I GAVE MY MOM A HOPE-OPOTAMUS

I gave my mom a hope-opotamus, one that a client had given to me. It wasn’t a big hope-opotamus, in fact it was the smallest one in the herd. I wanted to give it to her so that we could talk about hope. I wanted her to have something to hold on to. I knew she loved stuffed animals. But I was afraid to give it to her. I chose the small one because I could hide it in my purse and decide not to give it to her.

The first thing she said when I gave it to her was: “What am I supposed to do with this?” The second thing she said, because she was still well enough to want to please me, after I had offered to take it away, or put it on the hospital window sill with her plants was: It isn’t very big. Maybe I will just hold on to it for a while.”

My mother could not get out of bed. On many days she could not even sit up. But she could hold that hope-opotamus, and hold it she did. She made a rule that it could not be placed out of her reach, and she enforced that rule in three hospitals. She proved that no doctor is too busy to hear a ten-minute lecture from a dying patient about the importance of hope and the symbols that represent it. She proved that nurses on their lunch break will run the length of a hospital to retrieve a hope-opotamus carelessly forgotten by a porter during a visit to a lab. She couldn’t ask to be cured, or even to be treated with dignity, but she could make the rules about the hope-opotamus. And so she used it to help her take charge of her life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

THE RENOVATION BLUES

Oh please do forgive me for not making sense

My brain has been frazzled by fumes

They float up the stairs and come up through the vents

They suffocate all of the rooms.

The dog was annoyed that his doors were all blocked

He was limited only to one.

But that door deposits him outside the fence

So now his delight has begun.

The cat has discovered a thrilling new game

He waits for the dog to break free

And while I am chasing the dog down the alley

He is also escaping from me.

Our kitchen has moved to the bathroom upstairs

The coffee pot stands on the ground

The sink is for cleaning our dishes and teeth

The toilet lid has to stay down.

And I am the grumpiest woman alive

Rebelling against sacrifice

Rehearsing the story that will tell how I suffered

Just to keep our sweet home looking nice.

Monday, April 09, 2007

WHERE IS SPRING?

Spring is slow in coming to Edmonton.

Slower than molasses in January

Slower than a piano rolling through the mud

Slower than a kettle awaited by a teapot

Slower than a snaking passport line-up

Slower than the plot of a soap opera

Slower than a tractor hauling machinery down a narrow country road

Slower in coming than the letter carrier bringing the decision about admission to college

Slower in coming than news from a potential employer after an interview

But not as slow in coming as spring in Inuvik!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

AN ALBERTA TOURIST'S TOP TEN LIST OF SURPRISES IN NEW YORK CITY

Just a few days ago I was in New York City. Now I am home, recalling all the things that surprised me. Here are my top ten.

10. What New Yorkers say is not always what we think they mean. Times Square is actually a triangle bordered by 7th avenue, Broadway and 42 Street. But there’s more. Madison Square isn’t square either. After learning all that, we stopped observing the true shape of squares. What’s more, Madison Square Garden isn’t on Madison Square. It used to be, they say. But now it’s on 7th Avenue. But then, this should not surprise us. The New York Times Building is no longer on Times Square either. Things may be big in New York, but they move around anyway. And then there are the shows on Broadway, which don’t actually have to be in theatres on Broadway. They simply have to be in theatres with more than 500 seats. Shows in smaller theatres are said to be √∂ff Broadway, even if the theatre is on the street named Broadway.

9. You can get on the David Letterman Show. Even if the website tells you you have to order tickets far in advance, and hope your name will be chosen in a lottery, there are days, March 26 2007 for example, when a representative will approach you on a New York street, tell you there have been cancellations, and offer you free tickets to tomorrow’s show if you will show ID, put your name on the list, promise to attend so there won’t be empty seats, and answer two skill-testing questions. Not to worry about the questions, the man will keep giving you hints until you stumble upon the correct answers.

8. New Yorkers can spot the tourists in the crowd. This is a bit surprising, since they are expecting 50 million visitors this year. That’s just under a million a week. But if you stand on a corner peering at a map, New Yorkers will approach you to ask if you need help. If you hesitate, they will ask again just to make sure your foolish pride doesn’t limit your opportunity.

7. Central Park is more than a square of grass. It has roads in it, streets pedestrians have to cross. There are fields of crocus in late March. It also has a lot of horses and five bodies of water. You orient yourself by reading the numbers on the lampposts.

6. You can eat cheaply and deliciously without cooking any food. Delis and diners are the places to go. Eggplant is big there, and so are mushrooms. Pretzels are sold hot on the street corners. I didn’t like them, which isn’t surprising. I don’t care for them at home either.

5. All Subway cars are not equal. Some stations are shorter than others, so the walls can block the exits of the rear cars. We learned this from an Ohio couple who had already discovered that they would have to move forward at a larger station stop. The cars on the Subway are connected so you can run between them when they are not in motion. She who hesitates might be lost.

4. Ground Zero will find you. We didn’t go to Manhattan to see the former site of the world trade Center, but our feet drew us there, surprisingly, on our first day, just after we crossed the Brooklyn bridge, passed the courthouse and City Hall. Five-and-a-half years later they are still trying to safely demolish an adjacent high rise. Fenced off in the centre is the deep whole New Yorkers call The Bathtub. It goes several floors down. They dug this hole when they built the World Trade Center and used the diggings to expand the size of Manhattan Island. Seven buildings were constructed on the spot. Now The Bathtub has returned. New Yorkers did not necessarily love the buildings, and it is clear that they want to move on. But moving on seems slow and difficult, like adjusting to a disability, or an amputation. There is a huge emotional scar that could never be repaired by the reconstruction of a replica. In fact, there is no intention to construct a replica. When The Bathtub is filled, the new filling will be different entirely.

3. A short visit to the United Nations can convince you that the U.N. is vitally important. It doesn’t seem as important when you hear about it on the news. But when you walk among its displays, sit in its chambers, and see that people bring their children and help them ask questions about world peace, then you know how absolutely essential it is for us to be talking to one another about our hopes for peace and prosperity. How will these hopes ever come to fruition if we do not share them and feel our collective energy moving in that direction?

2. It is surprising that so many people stayed on Manhattan Island. Why did this happen when there was so much unexplored land just beyond? The island is only 2 miles by 13 miles. 1.5 million people live there, stacked up in layers. Many thousands, maybe millions work there, stacked in layers. How surprising it is that they didn’t spread out!

And the Number 1 surprise…

1. I can have a good time in a really big city, crossing streets with hundreds of others, shouting over the constant honking of horns. This is true even though I don’t care for crowds, and cannot imagine living in a high rise. I was raised on a farm, ten miles from a village of 200 residents. When horns honk in my home town it means that a couple have just taken their marriage vows. Still, I really loved New York. Isn’t it amazing how adaptable we humans can be?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

WHEN WISHES COME TRUE

Just before Christmas I wished that my father could be a spectator at the Ford world Championship of Curling. He likes curling. But wishes don’t just simply come true. You have to work at them. So I helped to buy him a ticket.

Once the ticket was bought, I wished he would not have to go alone. And so I agreed to join him, even though I knew I would be tired from my trip to New York.

When I was in New York, I wished I would not have to attend the Ford world Championship of Curling so soon after getting home. But that was just idle wishing.

The weather in Newark NJ was fine and sunny, but Air Canada’s planes remained elsewhere, unable to land on the crowded runways. Hours later, when darkness had fallen, and other airlines were putting their planes to bed, and the restaurant and the magazine stand and the snack bar had all closed for the night, a plane found an opening and landed. It whisked us off to Toronto, where the normally buzzing airport was shrouded in the deep night’s silence that falls only when all connecting flights have long since departed. So they put us on a shuttle and sent us to a hotel, and woke us early for the first morning flight, which arrived when it was too late to go to the Ford world Championship of Curling.

Sometimes we think we are alone when, in fact, others are acting with us. It seems I am not the only one who acts upon my wishes. I never imagined that Air Canada was so serious about wish fulfillment. Even though they bumped me up to Executive Class, and gave me a pillow, and a seat that could recline without disturbing the passengers behind, and served me orange juice in stemware glasses, and poured coffee in a china mug for me at a time when they said it was too turbulent to serve hot beverages to the Economy passengers, and offered me melon and pineapple on skewers amid luscious strawberries and bunches of delicious grapes, and let me get off first, and took my luggage off first, I hope, in future, to be more careful with my wishing.