As you can see, Rebekah’s PATH was a great party, with her friends and family all attending in good spirits and ready to eat lots of delicious food. After supper, facilitator Judy explained how the PATH process worked. First off, she shared some of the dreams and goals Rebekah had already come up with throughout the last couple of weeks. She explained how the PATH process begins with dreams (which include what might seem impossible) and then works backwards to figuring out how those dreams might come true.
Everyone was invited to flip through a big stack of magazines, and without over thinking was asked to tear out images that grabbed them or made them think of Rebekah. Rebekah, along with her friend Ellice and Brenda sat down and sorted through the images. While this was happening, people visited or made letters (like this letter “R”) for a sign that would read “Rebekah’s PATH”. Clearly, Rebekah had the hard work to do during this process! Then Judy and Ruth put the images chosen by Rebekah in groups on the North Star to represent her dreams.
There were a number of images of flight, a few of beautiful flowers, some of family. Judy and Rebekah attached some words or labels to each of these areas. Judy said that Rebekah could add images to her North Star in the next couple of weeks, or she could take some away. Because images mean different things to different people at different times, it is wise to keep our interpretations of them loose and fluid for a time. For example, there was a beautiful photo of two wolves which could mean any number of things – family, companionship, a life partner, the wilderness or calm and quiet – or – none of those things at all.
Choosing images for the North Star took alot Rebekah’s energy. The next stage in the PATH process was to identify Rebekah’s goals. Rebekah communicates primarily through gesture, body language, facial expressions and vocalization.Those present suggested certain goals and Rebekah affirmed them positively by lighting up the room with her beautiful smile or by showing a lack of enthusiasm by growing very quiet and still. As resident artist, I got to draw cartoons of the goals Rebekah chose on a large tissue paper flower.
We rolled right along to Rebekah’s NOW – what are the shapes, feel, activities and who are the friend and people that fill her days right now? For example, Rebekah has two homes, two vans and one fantastic friend Jenna, who comes to both homes. Rebekah works at the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre at the University of Regina as a lead researcher with YES WE CAN. She visits friends at Wascana. Some of these activities were also depicted in cartoon form.
This took us through three of the seven stages of the PATH process. Rebekah, Judy and friends and family will gather again in a couple of weeks to complete the PATH process. I have to say I marvelled at Rebekah throughout the evening. To figure all of these things out with all these people around would send me to the nearest gopher hole to hide out for the rest of the winter. Rebekah not only did what she came to do, but she also took care of all of us well, not even letting Ellice escape unseen to get some tea! And, she seemed to have a great time. I loved taking part… and continue to feel challenged and excited about the of art in charting our dreams, and specifically, how tissue paper or other art materials might become a part of Rebekah’s dreams and colourful life. Who knows?
The Big Sky Centre of Learning and Being Astonished (Astonished!) is an inclusive community where young adults with complex physical disAbilities can name their dreams, explore their strengths, and lead others to a more authentically inclusive society.
A wonderful way to contribute to the Astonished! dream is to purchase cards or prints of my collage piece “Earth Dances with Sky“. (See photo at the very bottom of this post!)