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Volume #8

March 2013

Realizing vision and future One person at a time

Mission Statement
Life Works provides comprehensive supports for persons with developmental disabilities to live real lives in homes of their own. The primary focus of Life Works is to support all people to create full rich lives that reflect personal choice across home and community environments.

Calendar of Events
April 15th
Move to New Office 485 10th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101

May 13th and 20th
Orientation @ Creative Support Alternatives 3590 Camino Del Rio North, Suite 121 San Diego, CA 92108

www.lifeworks-sls.com

Entombed)By)Concrete)
by)Beth)Gallagher)

Entombed)by)concrete)between)double)locked)doors)that)crash)violently)when) they)close.))Noises)echo,)but)none)are)intended)for)him.))He)will)sit)just)as)long) as)his)anxiety)will)allow)him.))I)position)myself)strategically)in)the)corner)so)I) don’t)disrupt)“the)flow”.)Making)every)effort)to)blend)in)with)the)environment.)) Sit)and)watch)and)wait.))The)staff)are)young,)and)smart,)and)well)meaning,)and) dulled.)I)am)not)unwelcome)which)certainly)doesn’t)mean)I)am)welcome.))I)am) a)glitch)and)a)reminder.))He)sits)in)this)room)with)7)of)his)closest)friends) waiting)for)the)next)robotic)prompt...”Joaquin)sit)down”.))As)if)to)silence)my) judgments)I)am)told)that)he)had)already)finished)all)of)the)stuff)he)loves)doing) right)before)I)arrived.))Hmmm...by)9:44)am)he)was)done)with)the)best)part)of) his)day,)we)only)need)to)make)it)until)3:30.))“Joaquin,)sit)down”.))This)will)fill) the)next)5)hours)and)46)minutes.))“Joaquin,)sit)down”.)
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On!My!Mind…! ! !
~Kirk!Hinkleman2Associate!Director

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Sacred Space
Beth and I are blessed with travelling around the world to facilitate workshops, share stories and learn with amazing people who share similar values of inclusion for all people. In January, we flew over to Edinburgh, Scotland, to facilitate a 2 ½ day workshop along with Peter Leidy from Madison, Wisconsin and Heather Simmons from Perth, Australia. Our hosts were from an organization called EDG (Edinburgh Development Group) and specifically, Linda Keys, a woman Beth and I met in 2011 in Toronto, and who is now a dear friend. What ensued throughout the week and in our workshop was the concept of sacred space. “We deliberately created a 'sacred space' where right from the start we explicitly invited people to look deeper and with fresh eyes at the issues we were gathered to explore,” Linda reflects. “We invited people to look to their own stories and identities (rather than talking about people they are working to support or in 'hypotheticals') and we did this from early on in the event. I think this invites us to bring our whole selves into the room, and also to peel back our armor so that we are willing to share our vulnerabilities.” I’m always curious about creating environments, holding space for people, that create a feeling of sincerity…a feeling of trust and beauty. We are charged with the mission of creating vision and future with people. We are charged with the life-long work of community building. Why can’t we create space when we gather, where we become a community of people who care about and belong to each other…if even for a couple of days. Linda remembers, “Ultimately, we could congratulate ourselves when we do succeed in creating the conditions for community, but really it is down to the people in the room. I feel incredible gratitude to the people that joined us on our journey that week and for their readiness to let their guards down and trust one another.” Sacred Space can be created anywhere you go, it is something Beth and I are intentional about wherever we go now. If we create a space that welcomes and invites people to be open and to challenge themselves to stretch and learn, then we accomplish the task of starting that controlled fire people…a fire that exists in all of us. 3

Sacred Space Gathering together is more than just time, Not just a group of people simply existing. Indeed it is more, bordering on the sublime, It is the essential fuel our hearts are craving. When we share space with one another, Whether to teach, learn, tell stories or connect. With our entire selves we hold each other, Certainly a practice worth striving to perfect. This sense of hope, born out of invitation, Permeates us to our very core. Judgement, cynicism and fear’s emancipation, Realizes power not seen before. Within each of us, exists the ability to invite, To be mindful that we all have our place. Our human love, our fire, will inevitably ignite, When we set and share this sacred space.
~Kirk Hinkleman

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The Power of One By Joy Boe
Unlike some conventional work environments, Life Works has a tight collaboration with two other supported living agencies, one of which you may already know, shares a workspace with us. With the variety of people we support all over San Diego, sometimes we go several days without seeing each other, however every Friday the three of us join together in a casual morning meeting we lovingly refer to as “Breakfast Club.” All twelve of us try to honor that time as any other appointment by being mindful of our phones, and shutting off our computers. This tradition enables us to recap on the week, share our celebrations or frustrations, and spend some time together. Like a Japanese Honjin, we are settled for a temporary moment from the battle, and nourished before we start on another task-based week. One of the best idea’s to come from this was our weekly rotation to share our personal story. Not so much a resume of where he have been before becoming Coordinator’s, but a personal account of our lives up to this moment. Besides being really comical and interesting, this process has made the group of us understand even if just a little bit more, some of the experiences that have shaped our diverse personalities. It has also in surprising ways connected us geographically, emotionally and spiritually. I found that sharing my own version of my life made it seem short, and full of possibility. Some of my other co-workers have traveled extensively, have adopted children or past marriages, homes and family members who have passed. Some have side businesses and play numerous instruments, or siblings they met in their adult life. Recently I have extended this invitation at monthly team meetings with the people I directly support, and have really enjoyed learning more about the unique upbringings of each person on that team. It has also been a nice way to welcome new people to the collaboration, and to identify common interests and/or solo assets. Through all the assorted stories, the common vein is that none of us set out to “work in the field.” Sure, we may have had a combined interest in social work, but not one that we specifically thought when we were little, I want to grow up and work with people with developmental disabilities. In fact, we all were introduced to this work through impromptu events that essentially re-directed the course of our lives.

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It is here that we have found ourselves in a very small niche, that actually includes the largest demographic of people in the world. We have many, many differences but are ultimately linked by our shared determination, our exasperation, our hopes and our vision. These moments of mutual recognition help unite and sustain us through all those battles. I hope this notion reminds every one of you, that as isolated or discouraged as you may sometimes feel, you have a honjin with us.

“…In transcending the sense of separation you have spent a lifetime justifying, and surrendering to the mutuality of the momentum you share, there are magical moments when you know you have experienced Oneness.” - Rasha

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Time For Blogs…

We are in the age of the blog. What an incredible way to gather information from a wide variety of sources in a creative and meaningful way. We wanted to share some of the blogs that we follow and hopefully inspire some thoughts from you… • Come In From the Cold (Kirk Hinkleman and Linda Keys) • Rolling Around In My Head (Dave Hingsburger) • Cincibility (Tim Vogt) • SoulPancake Send me a note at bgallagher@lifeworks-sls.com

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CONNECTIONS:
Founded and originated by current Life Works Team Members: Joe Houde, Christine Houde and Heather Johnston Announcing Connections, a monthly voluntary group in North County for Life Work’s team members. We support others and now it’s time to support each other. Bring any topic you want to discuss. What’s working and what’s hard? Let’s share with each other. This is meant to be an open leaderless meeting. The only ground rule is that we ask that whatever is discussed remain confidential. Connections is intended as a safe place to share whatever is on your mind… Building community, one gathering at a time. Proposed time and place: 3PM, Sunday April 21st at the park on the corner of Vista Village and Civic Center Dr in Vista. All team members welcome.

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Welcome Christy!

Moving out to San Diego a few years ago I knew little to no one. I transplanting with only my car, myself, some dying plants, and the mission of completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Fast forward a few years and much has changed. After attempting to engulf myself in the science field I learned that my gifts were not best suited in that community. I decided to make a lifestyle choice of one to follow the path that utilized my natural strength and gifts. That path led me through highs and lows, fears and triumphs, and the continuous journey of embarking on my own self-discovery. My last semester of college, I ironically stumbled upon a volunteer organization that assisted students with the chance to volunteer abroad. I immediately signed up and was set up with a community enrichment project in Costa Rica. During that experience I was completely immersed in the culture and living with a host family in the tight knit community of La Cima, 2 hours south of San Jose. While volunteering I was able to get an intimate look into being a fully included community member. Each family embraced each other for their faults and gifts and was in constant communication with each other. I witnessed various events in which the families would come together to solve a problem, teach a skill, or even just to share a story. The energy of acceptance was very prevalent and the overwhelming feeling of love was unlike anything I have ever experienced in my own community. I knew that I always wanted to have that philosophy of inclusion surrounding my life when I returned to the states. I learned to follow that feeling and continued to make decisions to allow my gifts to work towards finding a community that gave me the sense of acceptance. While searching for that I was able to get acquainted with Life Works and immediately knew that I was in the correct place to follow my path. I fully embrace the philosophy of Life Works and feel that I am in the correct place to continue to expand my knowledge of a connected community. I look forward to all the experiences I will embark on and anticipate the continuous personal growth that is to come. In the mean time I will keep my mind and heart open while pursuing the path of most happiness and least resistance. If you have any questions or want to share a story of your journey please feel free to share with me. I always enjoy hearing the stories of others and thus can help fuel my own learning process. Christy Tweedy Life Works Coordinator ctweedy@lifeworks-sls.com

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