Tags: Barton Cutter, coaching, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, fun, gratitude, interability marriage, vision, Work
Do you ever find yourself in awe of the cyclical nature of life and how, whether we like it or not, we seem to be carried from peak to valley and back to peak to re-examine our patterns and behaviors? It’s times like these where we often find ourselves experiencing a strong sense of déjà vu, almost as though the universe is pointing you toward certain elements in your life for some inexplicable reason.
The past few months have certainly been one of these times for both Megan & I, where the unnecessary seems to be falling away making room for new and greater potential.
For me, this letting go requires a great deal of trust as the face of one aspect of work transforms to encompass new and perhaps less concrete delineations. And yet, in the same pulse of letting go, another entirely unforeseen opportunity may emerge to carry us closer to our vision for working with other families. Certainly I have witnessed this occurring for Megan on almost a daily basis as opportunity after opportunity arises.
The driving question behind helping us decide the most appropriate course of action has transformed from which is in line with our personal vision and which is not to which of these opportunities resonates most closely with the ultimate fullness of our goals.
We both see multiple opportunities arising at the same time, and all of them are somehow aligned with our vision. Yet, like the master musician striking the middle C, it is up to us to distinguish the notes that resonate most harmoniously with the depths of our soul. No longer is the major third, fifth or seventh sufficient. Only the pure resonance of the full interval of an octave crisp enough for us to now take action.
Tags: disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, fun, gratitude, interability marriage, love, love story, Megan Cutter, time together, vision
Last week was full of celebrations, as February 14th was Valentine’s Day, Barton and I had met on February 15th nine years ago, and Barton’s birthday followed closely afterward.
Yet, not only was it full of celebrations, but it one of our fullest weeks in quite a while. I taught four classes during the week, Barton had a conference with several adjoining events, and a barrage of emails, conversations and other to-do’s filtered throughout the week.
After Barton’s conference, we headed over with colleagues to one local restaurant, Irregardless for a celebration dinner. Owners Arthur and Anya are neighbors, and we see them often walking the path of our neighborhood. Sometimes I’ll be out with the dogs, or Barton will be zooming off to one of his meetings. This night turned out to be especially joyous. We were greeted by Arthur and Anya, students from a local school were playing incredible jazz, we shared desserts, and had a night of great conversation full of laughter. As we were leaving, the hostess asked if Barton wrote for the paper because someone had left a note for him telling him how much his articles meant- later he put it up on his desk. What an evening!
Friday, finally we had a little time on our own, and we found ourselves just being present, sharing pieces of our week, of what we learned and ideas that we had. We chatted about the generosity of others for our Kickstarter project for Ink in the Wheels: Stories to Make Love Roll and talked about how far we could go with our project. It was a delight just to feel the quiet flow of conversation and connection.
Whatever else may be going on, whatever hurdles or craziness of life has creeped up, taking the time out to celebrate, I am learning, is so necessary.
I’m one who uses lists- I have my daily to-do list, project list, creative list- it goes on. And sometimes I have a tendency to see what’s still left on my list at the end of the day, what hasn’t been accomplished. Over time, this can be awfully daunting to only see what’s left undone.
As long as we live, we will have goals and visions, things we would love to do, places where we raise the bar for ourselves, or someone else raise the bar offering a choice on whether we will jump in or stay where we are.
Taking a breath to celebrate what we have accomplished is a vital part of the journey, not to wallow in its glory, but to pause for just a moment, become aware of where we are before moving onto the next step.
There are times when these celebrations are for momentous occasions, to be shared with others, and there may be times in our lives when we need to celebrate the simplest acts, where making it through the day is a grand step, and these private celebrations are not seen by anyone.
What are you celebrating today?
Tags: disability, disability and humor, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, fun, interability marriage, love, Megan Cutter, Work, writing
Yesterday, we spent the afternoon with our beat-up flip camera filming a clip for our Kickstarter Project. Kickstarter is a way to connect funders with projects, and videos bring the story to life. It’s your chance to pitch your story, and communicate what you need. Don’t worry- you’ll hear more about our project in February, when it goes live.
We had a few hours in the afternoon, and we were determined to get out a version we could use. Mind you, we had spent the weekend writing a script, pieces Barton could say, and others I could, overlapping our voices and message together. So, we began by pulling out the script, and Barton had the bright idea of posting it somewhere for us to look at.
Yet, when we began arranging things in our studio, there was no way to post our script without being obvious. So we threw out that idea. Instead, we figured we would just tape as many versions we could and pick out the one we liked the best. Yes, we each had pieces we would say, but we would also jumped if we needed to. And then I got worried about screwing up our quote at the beginning, so Barton started us off right.
The result was a fun afternoon of improv and fits of laughter. Yes, I’m not sure which one of us got the giggles first, but every take after that was cut short; Barton even had me laughing so hard he brought tears to my eyes. When we were done, we were both exhausted, but we had great fun, and hopefully, accomplished what we needed for the project.
So much for being “serious” in front of a camera- but you know, we are who we are!
Tags: Barton Cutter, creative play, disability, disability and arts, disability and humor, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, disability and visual arts, fun, inclusive arts, inclusive visual arts, play, vision, wheelchairs
Yesterday, Megan and I got bitten by the bug of our own- inner-playfulness. A beautifully bright November Day, we couldn’t help but be outside, and we got the urge to finally pull out an art project, which had been mulling around in the back of our minds for several months.
The ingredients: two tubes of acrylic paint, one roll of brown construction paper, eight heavy-duty 3’x4’ sheets of paper doubling as canvases, one paint pan, one paintbrush, and most importantly, my power chair.
We cleared off a flat spot in our driveway, taped down the construction paper, and proceeded to paint my front tire, which then, served as my painting instrument of choice as I rolled, paint-filled, across the naked white.
It was a blast!
All those years of my childhood, when I drove through water puddle after water puddle and drew designs on the pavement with the wet of my tracks at once exploded into life with new Technicolor intent. My goal- a perfectly straight track mark impeccably placed upon the white canvas. I would roll into position, tire poised at the edge of the canvas as Megan slapped fresh paint onto my newly retreaded tires. And once adequately covered, I would grab my joystick and mimicking a Zen master drawing an enso circle, let out a deep breath and drew back crossing the crisp white canvas blindly.
Canvas after canvas, Megan and I repeated the process like two kindergartners enthralled with their own finger-painting. How wonderful it is to be married to someone who can throw culture to the wind, and get down and dirty with some good, clean fun!
Tags: Barton Cutter, daily living, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, fun, gratitude, interability marriage, love, martial arts, vision, Work
A couple of night ago in martial arts class, we were working on a technique that had a particularly light feel. The person who I was working with was a rather large guy who tends to rely on his muscle to make techniques work rather than relaxation and body mechanics.
At first, I was a little worried about how to make something so light work against a person who appeared to be so sturdy. The first time I did the technique, I felt myself picking up on his tension as I moved in to take him off balance. My teacher came over and watched for a minute. Grabbing a chair and plopping himself into it, he said, “No Barton, try it this way.”
With just as much grace and softness, he dropped the same 200-pound guy with a turn of his head and a bend at the waist. I got a feel for how to maintain that feeling of easy playfulness despite what the attacker was bringing to the interaction and tried again. As I began to incorporate the feel, I noticed that the less effort I put into making it work, the better the outcome.
Toward the end of class, the technique came more easily to me, and what I began to notice was that as I moved and allowed myself to have patience with my own movement, the rigidity and tension in my training partner began to dissolve. There were even a few times where, after he collapsed onto the floor, we looked at one another and wondered, how the heck did that even happen. All we knew was that one minute he had tried to punch me and the next he couldn’t stand and was on the ground.
The next morning, Megan and I were chatting about how busy the past few months have been, and how there was still a feeling that in spite of all we had done, there was still even more to do. And we wondered how on earth we would ever get through it all. Don’t get me wrong, all of this work is dear to both of our hearts and we are completely excited by every facet of it. Yet, the sheer quantity of “to do’s” is at times overwhelming.
All of a sudden, the lesson from the night before flashed in my head. I laughed as I looked Megan deeply into the eyes. “What’s so funny?” She questioned.
I told her what had happened at class and said, “I think it’s the same thing. Somehow we need to drop all of these to do’s and just play with what ever it is that we are working on. The to-do’s will always be there, don’t worry about them getting lost. For now, let’s pick one thing and work on it lightly.”
And so we did. As I suspected, it worked itself out just as the technique in class had the night before. No effort required, just a soft touch and a light heart.
Tags: daily living, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, fun, gratitude, interability marriage, love, Megan Cutter, time together
For many years, especially in the period after my mother passed away I kept a gratitude list in my journal. Somehow in the years after moving to Raleigh, the practice got lost in the long list of things to do that always ran off of the day’s hours. After a particularly strange week of just odd things happening around us, I found myself steeped in a whirlwind of frantic energy.
Last week, I had travelled to the beach to write for the day and to return to a place of centeredness. While I was journaling, I wrote down a quick list of things that I was thankful for. Since then, Barton and I have started the day or ended the day in dialogue about what we have gratitude for.
The list has included everything from being together, a success of the day, walk in the morning to more general items like being alive (as an incident occurred a few blocks from our house), water, or surviving the budget for one more month.
What I noticed was that being in dialogue with our gratitude was very different from writing it in my journal when I was alone. I found that speaking our gratitude lists to one another allowed us to come into a deeper connection.
In partnerships or relationships, it’s easy to identify the things that aren’t done, the empty fulfillments, the statements of- you need, you should, or you haven’t. After years of being together, it’s still important to acknowledge the things a partner has done and fulfilled. I’ve noticed that when we’ve exchanged these bits of gratitude, there is a deeper appreciation for each other and our journey together.
What do you have gratitude for? Share it with someone this week!
Tags: disability, disability and humor, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, fun, humor, interability marriage, Megan Cutter
The headline might be out of a tabloid, or maybe from our own crazy lives. Barton told his side of this story during a Toastmasters Humorist Competition last week, and I was sitting on the sidelines biting my tongue because- oh, I so wanted to tell my version. So here it is:
It had not been that long since we moved to our new house, and I was still getting acclimated to the streets, directions, where we were in relation other places in the community. Barton had a meeting that day, which I knew about, and he had taken the bus, as usual.
So I was puzzled when Barton called asking me for directions on how to get home. Apparently he decided to walk home instead of waiting for the bus, and he took the Greenway, a set of sidewalks through parks that runs through Raleigh. However, the Greenway had not connected where he thought and he was stuck in this neighborhood going around in circles.
Now I am directionally challenged- when I was a teenager, once I got lost on one-way streets in downtown Atlanta & it took me an hour to find myself out. All I can say is- thank God for GPS systems. But in this case, I had to break out a map- actually find the cross street to find where Barton was and how I could get there, which took some time.
I did look outside at one point to see the bright summer sky turn ominous and dark as I was getting into the car- just then, as the bottom fell out. Another call. A neighbor had called to tell me Barton was no standing in the rain and was drenched, of which I knew. When I arrived- they were holding an little umbrella over him, trying to keep him dry, which was not working at all. Now the only point to keeping Barton’s wheelchair dry is that when it gets wet, it could have problems, but Barton out in the rain- he would play all day, so it apparently bothered the neighbors more than it bothered Barton. We were both soaked through. (This isn’t the first time Barton got both of us caught outside walking in the rain, nor the last.)
Another neighbor drove by who had a truck, but Barton’s wheelchair weighs about 200 pounds- it’s not something anyone could manhandle. Now there is a group of people all huddled around Barton trying to figure out how to get the wheelchair in the truck. So I drove back home- by this time the rain was coming down in sheets. I put the two pieces of the metal ramp in the back of the car thinking there was enough room if I put them inside on the back seat diagonally.
Only to find that the back window could not hold the pressure and literally shattered when I closed the door. So now Barton’s still in the rain with neighbors holding an umbrella over him and I am cleaning up tiny pieces of broken glass from the ground, inside the car, it was everywhere- all in the torrential downpour.
By the time I got back to where Barton was, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining, and he decided to walk home, but he still had to follow me out of the windy neighborhood- which was a good thing since all of this chaos happened because he was impatient and didn’t want to wait on the bus.
Tags: Barton Cutter, fun, humor, recreation, time together
Last weekend, Megan and I went swimming together for the first time in who knows how long. It felt absolutely wonderful, not only because we had the chance to do something we both love and enjoy each other’s company at the same time, but also because neither of us has had the chance to swim in a while. Heck, I don’t think I’ve been in a pool since before we were married!
I’ve always loved the water, as does Megan, and though we’ve talked on numerous occasions about finding the time to swim together, this is the first time it actually happened.
We arrived at the pool with the intention of both of us swimming laps. We decided that it was likely best that Megan swim first; that way, I wouldn’t be sitting on the side of the pool cold, wet, and itching to go. After about a half an hour, Megan finished her workout and it was my turn to dive in, well, ok…
it was more of a slow submergence with the help of a chair lift but the truth is that I would have been much happier diving in. Anyway, once I was in the pool it took us a while to find the right depth, which is usually around five feet for me, and for me to remind Megan what I needed to help me swim. But after this was sorted out, I was off in a splash.
I’ve always wondered how it must look from someone else’s prospective when I swim as, the way I go about it is to have whoever is assisting me drop me. From there, dogpaddle a bit, which must look like a drowning rat attempting to wrestle an angry sea creature and losing miserably. Then as I find the need to take a breath, I drop to the bottom and push off the floor with my feet with enough force to thrust my entire upper torso into the air, fill my lungs, and start the process over.
Now, I used to have this refined to the point that I could swim a mile and a half with this method but after five years or more, I found myself gasping after only one lap. I can’t wait to go again!