Thursday afternoon, I was winding down when I got a call from Veterans First. My usual lunchtime ritual consists of a vegan meal, a podcast like Media Roots Radio & meditation. Anyways, this was the first time I've spoken to this person, so they were anxious to learn about our residential project and to refer a client.
Barbara is unique in many ways. She's a double amputee, 69 years old and she was recently mugged. They told me she's staying at a Motel 6 in Glendale. They also hoped I could house her immediately, but it's never that easy. The interim is where the process happens, and it always requires time, resources and collaboration. This case was no different.
The next morning I drove out. I enjoyed her company. She has a slight east-coast accent that reminds me of a charming waitress. Barbara has many tattoos, but she also wears the scars of a hard life. When I walked through the door, I knew she was ready to go, so we dived right in.
Before moving on, please apply these principles to whatever you want, but lets use the analogy of a journey to drive home the process of how problem solving works.
The purpose of a good assessment is to determine, "What are the barriers? What resources do we have?" And then, "What is the proper order of priorities?" That's where I started with Barbara. No matter what the situation is, the solution usually starts with identifying resources.
This first step is like making provisions for the journey. What are the needs?
Before leaving, I started on the next step -- which is purely practical. I made a calls, took notes, measured her scooter, confirmed her income, coordinated with her case worker and so on.
This step is like using a map because it helps us chart a course to our destination. How do we get where we want to go?
The final step is like a compass that helps us walk the length of the path. Using the compass consists of exercising our practical knowledge to reach the destination.
Its important to understand that the nature of the journey isn't easy, and that all the planning and provisions in the world can't get us to the destination. Progress is made during the journey because dangers, detours & course corrections will inevitably present themselves along the way.
Again, the 3 things we need to be successful are: Provisions, a map, and a compass. Remember that!
So far I've talked about the Barbara's assessment and action plan, which is the preparation for the journey... so what's next? Well... I don't know. No one does. All that's learned along the way.
What I learned from speaking to Barbara that first day was intuitive; and like all intuitive knowledge, It comes in the form of a deep, profound assurance that's more convincing than sight. Because of this, we have the faith to figure it out one step at a time.
By the way, I think its sad how many people fail to develop their intuitive powers. Too many of us choose to live in the consumer world. Consumption offers easy access to endorphin and dopamine rewards, but deep down we're not satisfied. A sensitive soul, however, drinks from the well of spiritual sensitivity and experiences joy in the best and highest sense, regardless of the circumstances.
Do you know what Samsara means? In Indian thought, it refers to the cyclical quality of life, matter and existence. Its ultimately associated with rebirth. As I looked into Barbara's eyes, I knew I could help her live better, and that God was pulling the strings. That's why I said: "Look, it's going to be okay. I don't know how, but this feels right to me. We'll figure this out."
The two steps symbolized by the assessment are like preparing for a journey, but step 3 is the actual journey. To be successful, we have to use a compass, together with the map and provisions, to figure out how to reach the destination along the way.
The literal meaning of the sanscrit word, Samsara, is "wandering" or "world," with the connotation of "cyclical change."
No matter who you are or what you're doing, there's always a problem to be solved, a journey to be made, a river to be crossed. That's the nature of mortal life. Some think this life is an animal existence... but its not. Mortality is the incubator of the gods; It's the germ and the genius of eternal life, and change is constant.
The truth is that we're not alone, this life has purpose, and that experiences like this are designed by God to prepare us for the world to come.
In Barbara's case, there's still a lot of work to do, but we'll be successful, and I'm sure we'll be changed by the journey in unexpected ways. That's where the glory of God is manifest. It's easier to see it looking backward than it is when we're looking ahead.