Fresh back from a trip to Minneapolis where I did two trainings, one with the bright and passionate volunteer docents at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, who offer tours to care partners with dementia. They are adding the TimeSlips creative storytelling technique to their tours, and it was a thrill for me to wander the galleries with Education Director Sheila McGuire, observing their sample sessions and looking at the MIA’s collection with an eye toward which pieces would invite imagination-based stories. I can’t wait to hear what comes of storytelling and the Henry Moore sculpture that I love so.
The second training was with the good folks at the Presbyterian Homes in Wisconsin and Minnesota. We gathered at a brand new facility – the Care Center at Boutswell’s Landing in Oak Park Heights.
Joyce Konczyk was on hand again to arrange the live webcast of me doing a session upstairs with folks in Assisted Living, while the 100+ trainees observed in the auditorium. It was a challenging session – with several people nearly beyond language. But they followed my eyes and spoke with me in the language they had, and I echoed and echoed, and invited and invited, and one woman, after I had written down several of her phrases on the flipchart, looked at me and said “We’re starting to get happy!”
The story was about a cowboy named Jose Karl de Jazz de Jazz and his horse named Tonto. Jose Karl is a jumper. He’s a professional jumper. He plays guitar for a living. He plays it with spirit. He plays country western music in the west. He’s playing You Are My Sunshine. His horse is bored. Jose Karl is not going to land on the horse. But he will ride it away and the horse will pass some apples.
I love doing the demos and feeling the power of creative engagement. It’s so simple in some ways. As “StoryCorps” says, LISTENING IS AN ACT OF LOVE. At its core, TimeSlips is intensive, full body listening and echoing. It is hearing and affirming people through the exchange of open-ended questions that invite imagination and poetic response.