Monday, September 15, 2008

What I learned from Sneaky Pete last Thursday

Stay in the moment.
Focus on the task at hand.
Get there mentally.
Stay in my body.
Beating clay (not my son) is easier with my left hand than my right.

Sneaky Pete had meningitis at 13 months which left his system fried. For thirty or so years his brain hasn't recognized he has a right arm, wrist, hand. The therapist and the rest of us at Coventry are working with him to force his brain to rewire and acknowledge the right side of his body. And it is hard work.

I'm left handed. I can do almost nothing with my right hand, unless my left hand or left side of my body is engaged as well. Such as, driving a stick (something this guy can't do). My right hand has no problem with working the gears, but I think it is because my left foot is busy with the clutch. I can work a mouse with my right hand, but my left hand is busy with the keyboard.

So, Sneaky Pete got his nickname because he sneaks his left hand up to perform tasks. Now, is he truly being sneaky? No. His brain is telling him to use his left hand, but he laughs really hard when I call him Sneaky Pete after catching him pop a grape in his mouth with his left hand. I decided last Thursday to only use my right hand while working with him so that I would have a small taste of what it is like. And it was hard work. I wasn't sure I could get the spoon to my mouth without making a mess. I could do it as long as I held my bowl in my left hand, but if I put the bowl on the table and tried to bring the spoon straight up from there - it was hard. I had to focus on the task at hand, stay in the moment, get there mentally, and stay in my body. It was the same way with beating clay for pottery work.

Sneaky works so hard, but there are times he looks at me as if saying, "This would be a lot easier if you would just let me use my left hand." I know, I understand, but it isn't was is best for him. His balance is better now. His speech has improved. He is excited to learn he can do more.

Just as it is easier for him to check out of a moment and not focus on a task, it is the same for me. But, it isn't best for me.

My new friend has taught me that there is payoff from
Staying in the moment,
Focusing on the task at hand,
Getting there mentally,
Staying in my body.

I learn more and therefore, I can give more.

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