Turning the Lights Back On

The blog this week was written by Deborah Warfield, a Community Broker at The Arcadia Institute. How can anyone expect to see clearly in a dark room until someone turns a light on? That is what we imagine it may feel like for a person who has struggled with disabilities over time. Often the formerly inflated balloons of hope need to be returned to our participants as we invite them to dream of where they may see themselves in the not so distant future. The dream development phase of community brokering guides individuals through pre-MAP conversations, with an intent to have them get in touch with a life without barriers or limitations. (Community Brokers are careful to keep ideas realistic without bursting any of their bubbles)

These series of spoken aspirations are also drawn in the form of colorful, picture symbols, which serve to help participants begin to visual a reality that matters to them. Dreams described also assist with the process of participants finding and expressing their voice. It is extremely important for participants to be able to have had ample time to think about their dream well ahead of the MAP session. Otherwise, when asked to describe components of their dream at the MAP session, in front of their community circle, they may feel like a deer caught in the headlights.

The beauty of taking time to visualize and having their dreams scribed pictorially whets their whistle towards clarifying their dream even deeper, along with their community circle members, on the actual day of the MAP session. It’s not unlikely for the dream to change a bit from their original thoughts when it comes to completing the actual MAP. If a participant chooses to change or adjust components of the dream during the MAP session, it is not only acceptable, it is more than welcomed.

Inevitably, at the end of each one of these dream-describing sessions our participant’s shoulders roll back a bit and they display an elevated aura of worth and renewed anticipation. Insights gained during this dreaming also help inform us in how to continue to best support them through these next steps.