Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Restorative Power of Creative Living

To start this post, let me give you a bit of background. As many of you may know, I am an Occupational Therapist (OT) by training and degree. Currently, I am not working as an OT and have let my license lapse. My OT area of specialty was working with students with special needs within the public school system. I miss the interaction with the students, teachers and parents. I don't miss the meetings, paper work or driving between too many schools.

The current me is always surrounded by beads and pendants, and I only use my training as an OT for ergonomics of my work space and activity analysis to speed up production and decrease my error rate. This, is all reality, is sort of boring to most people and not worth blogging about. But, during my last trunk show at Ornamentea I got a chance to hear how my two areas of interest have merged right here in Raleigh.

First, a lovely customer, Maria, told me about how she had a stroke and was in recovery when she decided to try her hand at beading. At the time Maria was still having difficulty following multiple step verbal directions and presented with left handed weakness and poor coordination - both results of the stroke. At that point, Maria enrolled in a class taught by Pam to make this cute pin. Something about the words Pam used, paired with the visual demonstrations she did helped Maria's neuro network rehab itself. Maria said it was like a "miracle". She suddenly could follow directions and her left hand got right in there and did its work. Maria says she still has some healing to do, but the giant step she took towards healing that day has never left her. The physical and mental gains she made while completing that class with Pam has spread into all other areas of Maria's life and she continues to make improvements everyday! Wow - we all knew the healing power of creative living, but seldom do we get to see it so vividly.

The second story is of a more gradual process, but one of healing and growth all the same. Cynthia explained to me how various therapist have had their clients enroll in beading classes to help them get over fears of trying new things and break out of life ruts. The instructors at Ornamentea, as well as most beaders everywhere, are exceptionally encouraging and seem to have an innate ability to help others find their creative spark. Again, this helps all of us see the healing / restorative power of creative thinking and doing.
As far as I can tell, we have many readers that not only make jewelry, but also teach and guide others in creative endeavors. I'm sure there are many inspiring stories that you can share with us. Tell us your stories - we all need to warm the cockles of our hearts more often....


Heather Powers said...

i love this post elaine, thank you for sharing!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

I am so proud to read this. I knew you were an OT, but still, it is so touching to me to see occupational therapy in action as a powerful healing force.

Thank you Elaine, for the gift you give to us, parents of children with special needs.