NOTE: I have apparently caught some sort of stomach bug, and am not feeling well at all. I was stalling on this post in order to finish my project and upload a picture of it. It doesn't appear that this will be accomplished any time soon, so I'm posting without any pics. When I can be a "normal" person again, I'll add my pic. Thanks for understanding...
A few weeks ago one of our regular contributors, Stephanie Severin, sent me a link to a wonderful post from The Kitchen. Here's an excerpt:
I heard a wonderful story on WNYC's Radiolab the other day. It was about how Alzheimer's patients who live in nursing homes can sometimes get disorientated and agitated. They want to leave the nursing facility and go 'home' - occasionally, home can even mean the home of their childhood. This is a very stressful situation and can lead to the patient being locked behind closed doors in order to keep them from wandering off and getting lost, or worse.
No one is happy with having to lock them in, so an elder care facility in Germany came up with a plan: they built a fake bus stop on the street outside their front door, complete with a bench and a sign. If a resident acted up about leaving, instead of trying to talk them out of it, the staff would help them pack a bag, put on their coat, and take them to the bus stop. And there they would be left to wait for the bus to take them home. Which of course never comes.
"Isn't that kind of cruel?" asked the Radiolab hosts. "Isn't it a lie?" But the nursing staff reported that after sitting there for a period of time, the elder would begin to calm down and eventually forget about their agitation to get back home. A nurse would then come out and have a conversation with them and if they were ready, the resident would happily walk back into the facility.
To me, this story is about a very difficult situation that was solved through acceptance and a playful, compassionate solution. Until the bus stop solution came along, everyone involved was fighting against reality. The patients, seized by their disease and against their will, can't help themselves. To them, their delusions are very real and must be obeyed. And the staff, by trying to force the elders into a conventional response, were frustrated and unhappy, too. So why not find a solution within the difficulty? Instead of trying to fix the problem, why not accept it and from that acceptance be guided toward a solution? How elegant, and civilized, and, ultimately, respectful.
The author then goes on to relate how this same kind of approach can be applied to other problems in other scenarios - for this article, specifically kitchen-related issues (fallen souffle, lack of an ingredient, the extra dinner party guest), but it applies across the board. Followers of my other blog are familiar with my philosophy that everything is The Same Subject, so it's not difficult for me at all to see the tie-in here. I especially like this comment from the article:
When something is giving me trouble, can I first not fight against it? Can I just see it as an opportunity to stop, take a look around and find the graceful, if occasionally wacky, response?
I found this to be a very creative and practical approach to problem-solving. It also ties in with one of my overriding Life Philosophies: What would be for the greatest and highest good of all involved? Answer that question, and you've pretty much got a solution, too!
Edited to add: This morning when I opened my email, there was a link in a newsletter to an excellent article on - who knew? - problem solving! Step-by-step for those of us who get overwhelmed and try to eat the whole elephant in one bite...
I managed to make a card with a quote from Frederick R. Koppel that I've always liked:
Stamps: Fiskars Vintage Farmhouse, Stampabilities Ornate Icons; Ink: Ranger Old Paper Distress Ink, Close to My Heart Cranberry, Stampin'Up! Brocade Blue; Paper: Stampin'Up! Brocade Blue, Basic Grey Boxer dp; Accessories/tools: Tattered Angels chipboard frame, Offray ribbon, unknown gems
My thanks to Steph for alerting me to such a great article (also for the link to the tutorial that reminded me about this great ribbon technique), and thanks to all of you for allowing me to get to feeling better before I get artsy and all.
And yet again, here's Mr. Linky: