This post is all about getting stronger and being bolder. It’s about taking risks and daring to “disturb the universe” as TS Eliot put it in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
I’m going to share with you just a few of the beautiful things that have happened in my world in the last week. It seems each day I get a chance to meet people who carry their strong but tender hearts in chests held wide open to the world. It’s a beautiful thing to witness. People unafraid to put their iPads and interests; their ideas and iPhones away and look directly into the audience – even an audience of one – and speak about change and challenge.
I have a friend who lives in a little country town 400 kms from Adelaide. She rises every morning to care for her son who is very unwell and nearing the end of his short life. Three times a week she packs the car, making sure her son’s oxygen cylinder is full and she drives 62 kms in her old car to take him to dialysis. Dialysis is getting more difficult and painful for him after years of treatment. His lungs, like old bellows, barely squeeze the air in and out without assistance.
When she returns along the open country road, at the end of a long day in the dialysis unit, the sun is low in the sky. This is what she writes
“I am always in awe as i drive , it is beautiful beyond measure – today the light on the trees was magical and once again the grass trees are blooming covered in white flowers and i remember – what a wonderful world.”
How do we choose to notice the light in the trees ?
I care about the experience people have in this labrynthine system we have created to provide public health and aged care. I recognise the complexity of funding arrangements, policy levers, multiple tiers of government all contributing to a system that is overburdened by an ageing population ( including the health workforce) and a rapidly increasing level of chronic disease. I get all that. Alongside that I remain resolute in my belief that we can do so much better, together.
Yesterday I spent my day in meetings with wonderful colleagues who work to ensure that people who are ageing get the dignity in care they deserve. The conversation quickly turned to hospital gowns that gape open at the back, eggs that are boiled until they turn grey, loved ones with dementia who are chemically restrained and why one beautiful Consultant Geriatrician takes his goldfish on his ward round. Alexandre Kalache, previous Director of the World Health Organisation, talked about his mother and the way she remembers how to play the piano but has forgotten the man she was married to for 55 years. He told us about his father who was hospitalised at the age of 84. When the doctor asked him how many children he had, the old man replied “so far, just three.”
This was a conversation about small acts of humanity that transform the world. It was the beginning of a revolution that will grow, if we water it.
If you are interested in developing the capacity for innovation and better outcomes then I’m inviting you ( yep you gorgeous) to do three small things:
1. come along to the launch of Change Day: do something better, together ! in November, 2013 in Adelaide details here . Ben Pyman from Wild Creature Development is building our website – for free – in the next 3 weeks – so if you need someone amazing to work on developing your website, helping you with social media, re-pay the favour and get in touch with Ben. Meanwhile email me and I will make sure you get the link to our website as soon as it goes live and I will give you Ben’s email address.
2. send this blog onto your friends and colleagues and invite them to join you in being the change you want to see in the world.
3. watch this short video on Empathy developed by Wiggins Trust, NHS and launched just a week ago //www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbxb3DcaohU&feature=youtu.be
Dare to disturb the universe!
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. ”
Other Quick News
Adelaide City Council are bringing random acts of kindness to the world for the month of October. //www.facebook.com/#!/hashtag/randomactsofkindnessadl?fref=ts Join in the fun and buy a stranger a coffee.
Changemakers Festival was launched last week. Australia will be buzzing with change in November. Check out the change //changemakersfestival.org
I’m running a Stories for Change workshop in November. Come along and learn more about how to create powerful stories that people will listen to. I’d love to see you there. Register here