A Place of Creating Dialogue and Sharing Our Story

May 5, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Posted in Speaking Engagements | Leave a comment
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Yesterday, it was a pleasure to sit beside Barton on the panel at the International Conference for Self Determination Conference in Winston Salem, NC. When we first started speaking at conferences, I would translate for Barton, which of course I could never remember verbatim what he said. Now, we have more of a dialogue, playing off of each other, building on the points the other made.

Sitting on panels are a privilege because the audience gets many points of view and can start putting a picture together that includes several types of experiences. As Barton mentioned, we were both blown away by the experiences of the other panelists and both realize how lucky to be where we are, and to have found each other.

One similarity I saw with one of the panelists, who was concerned that if she moved into her own apartment, she would not be able to decorate the apartment to how she wanted paralleled very much to my need to clean our house in an attempt to have control as a compensation or not having control or self expression as a child. It’s so fascinating how what’s going on inside manifests itself on the exterior.

While it’s always fun to tell the story about how we met and our marriage, we included some other points in yesterday’s panel as well. We talked about how self determination and independence encompasses many aspects of life- housing is the largest because it is the most obvious, but there are other aspects- mission & vision, expression, transportation, employment/income, and building relationships. We talked about how we’ve had to create our own system, taking on the responsibility that comes with that freedom. What can hold us back- fear & lack of resources. Creating support systems through mentoring, networking groups and building relationships has been an incredible part of creating that path outside of the system.

Many times people ask how Barton & I “Manage.” Our answer- just like everyone else does. Sometimes we do it right, sometimes we do it wrong, sometimes the flow comes easily, and sometimes we bang our head on the wall until we figure out a different way.
No matter what, it’s always a privilege to hear the journeys of others and share our own journey as well.


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