Balance. Is it possible in these turbulent times?
When we think of balance, Mikelle and I see it differently. For her, balance is the lack of chaos and the smoothness of her basic routine. She likes a certain rhythm to her day while avoiding falling into a rut where every day looks just like the last one. For her, balance includes making the rounds to visit her favorite places sprinkled in with something fun and entertaining once or twice a week.
When I think of balance, I think of standing on one leg, my core is strong, and I am calmly focused on a tree or a window. In addition to the physical feel of my feet/foot or my hands gripping the ground as I do a handstand, I seek the sometimes delicate balance between Mikelle’s needs and mine. To help us center ourselves, we start the day with simple, balancing routines that prepare us for the day. Morning coffee. News before dinner. Good night wishes.
It seems so simple, but these days, no matter how balanced we have felt in the past, we find ourselves negotiating a changing world like everyone else. Every day there is something that tries to knock us off balance.
If you haven’t noticed (wink) everything is changing all the time—the climate, governance, world order, food supplies, etc. As human beings, we are accustomed to navigating change but not at this rate. We are in the midst of a “socio-quake.” We are experiencing seismic shifts in education, rehabilitation, and most government systems. Honestly, it is all shifting, which means finding and maintaining balance is even more challenging than it always has been.
For instance, when Mikelle first entered the adult IDD system, we had service brokers and resource coordinators who supported person-centered planning and assisted us in accessing needed resources. Fast forward twenty years, our reality has changed significantly as we interact with this system.
Staff and case manager turnover continues to be epidemic. Currently, we have a newly minted case manager, the second in two years. What had been a source of dependability and resources now depends on our knowledge to train them. What I miss most is the partnership once shared between the provider, Mikelle, and me. Together, we creatively supported Mikelle in designing her life and finding the funding to make it all happen. Now, it feels like we are a box just being checked in order to keep the funds flowing over the cracked pavements of the past.
Insist on getting what you need. Grab hold of your vision, grip the ground you walk on, and take the first step towards the balanced life you crave. You must facilitate your future or find someone to help you. I do not believe it will come to you. The changing times require us to become more self-reliant.
Are Womb to Tomb Services Headed for the Graveyard?
The days of the womb to tomb services for people with disabilities may be gone for good. Why? Covid. Lack of qualified staff and providers. The demographics just don’t support the old, familiar models. Two other factors which need to be considered and are somewhat new to “the system” are people with disabilities are living longer and are living with parents older than sixty-five in most cases. Despite our best efforts at succession planning, we feel challenged to find a balanced way to move through aging. Do we try to fit in the system or like we always have done, create our own version of success?
With more pressures upon us, we need to strengthen our resolve and improve our balance and harmony. But, that comes from practice and boils down to rewiring our brains and installing new habits that lead to more stability and balance in our lives. It is there we find creative insights into building our new futures.
Seven steps for finding balance.
- Boldness. Take decisive action in your best interests when the opportunity presents itself. That opportunity may not come around again.
- Authenticity. While you can fake it while you make it, you need to imagine your best life. Only you can know what that represents. The more you respect your inner voice, the more authentic your actions will be.
- Love. If you have to choose between fear and love, choose love. The heart/brain connection galvanizes resolute creativity, helping you create a more vibrant future.
- Action. Even small steps make a big difference!
- Non-judgment. We are our harshest critics. So quiet the negative self-talk and encourage yourself in positive ways.
- Calmness. Breathe. Slowing our breathing does calm our nervous system. Focus on what you are grateful for, which will help you balance.
- Energy. Once you have done all the above watch, your energy levels soar!
Enjoy the journey. We are right there with you! Remember balance equals power.