Creating Space to Break Out of the Box

April 27, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Posted in Ramblings | Leave a comment
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Barton & I have always talked about living out of the box, forging our own path no matter what other people think. But the question is- how do you do this? It’s takes a little creativity, flexibility and being open to possibilities that you may not necessarily be able to see at the time.

Take this weekend for example. I had been organizing the Falls River Town Center Spring Fling, and Saturday, Barton and I spent working a fourteen-hour day at the event. Barton promised me a Margarita after a successful event and wanted to take me over to Bahama Breeze, a couple of miles from our house. Since there were still three bars left on Barton’s wheelchair battery gauge, he thought he had enough battery to make it there & home (you know where this is going, don’t you?).

So I climbed up to sit in Barton’s lap (his new wheelchair reclines), and off we went. As we went along, Barton’s wheelchair started to slow down a little bit. About three-forth of the ways there, the bars diminished and the speed dramatically declined. I jumped off and walked beside him, which helped a little, but not for long. It was the first time Barton had run his new wheelchair on empty. We arrived at Bahama Breeze with the last bar blinking.

As we waited to be seated, a good hour since it was prom night for several high schools, we talked through different options. What were we going to do? How do we get home? Barton struggled not to feel guilty since it had been such a long day. We called the two cab companies with accessible vans, but no one answered. So I mouthed to Barton across the patio, “We could just go to the hotel.” What I meant was, we could go to the hotel & continue to call or figure it out from there. What Barton heard was, we could just stay at the hotel overnight.

We could have gotten all grumped out about it, especially since we hadn’t figured out how we were getting home. Instead, we laughed, resigned that it would work out one way or another. A while later Barton brought it back up, we could just stay overnight at the hotel, and I realized what he meant. This solution immediately relieved our fears and brought us both back into the present. I didn’t have to worry about walking home blurry-eyed on a late Saturday night. We did end up calling our incredibly gracious neighbor so we could get the battery charger. While we did end up spending a little extra money for the night, we had a delightful meal, several drinks, and a night away from home with no phone, computer or other distractions. Sunday, we walked home, rested & ready for the day.

So how did we get to this place of creative problem solving? Working together, letting go of expectations and being open to the possibilities certainly helped. Creating a plan is great, knowing when to break out of the plan and going with the flow is even more important.

Our mentor Phil Okrend recently shared with us a great quote that Robert Kennedy used from George Bernard Shaw, “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”

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