Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

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Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby RachelACornell » Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:47 pm

What is a Cape-Able Life? Hi My name is Rachel Cornell. I am part of Barbara Sher's 2008 Write/Speak program. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Barbara and my brilliant classmates. I'm exited to be developing my writing/speaking career and learning to live my own Cape-Able Life. As you may have already figured out, "Living the Cape-Able Life" is the working title of my book. So what is the Cape-Able Life? (*) It's a life of awareness. (*) It's a life where your dare to be engaged in your fullest potential. (*) A Cape-Able life is one in which you learn how to question what a Dis-Ablility actually is. (*) Just like comic book super hero's feel an obligation to help others, in the Cape-Able Life you will learn about your own obligations to the world. (*) Don't let the word scare you because it's just another way of saying your deepest passions and desires. I come to this topic naturally because I have not always know what it feels like to live the cape-able life. I was born with a visual limitation and subsequent learning challenges. I was label right from the get go as "disabled." At different times in my life I have handicapped myself and at other times over compensated for my limitations. What I find most interesting is I AM NOT ALONE. You don't have to have a obvious disability to have areas in your life where you have been disabled. Each of us have used coping skills that don't always serve us when what we really want is to live a Cape-Able Life. I would love to hear what you have to say about this topic and of course open it up for you to ask me any quesions you may have. Help be a part of the living language that will be this book!!! ALSO I'll be presenting a number of topics in the coming months and holding teleconferences' open to the public to discuss these subject. You can look forward to joining in on dicussions such as... (*) How do we disable ourselves (*) Disability - when something about us really does break, change or becomes un-usable (*) Uber-Ability - when we try to overcompensate ...to name just a few. I still have a couple available "seats" for Monday, March 10th teleconference, held from 8:00-9:00 PM EST. I will be answering questions and talking with you about (*) How we disable ourselves If you are interested in joining the conversation take one of these easy steps: (*) Email me at: rzamek@msn.com with the subject line: Cape-Able Life and I'll send you what you need to know to join the call. (*) or go to my fun personal blog at http://whynotrachel.wordpress.com and go to the contact page, fill out the form there and I'm email you the necessary information to join the call. Thanks so much for reading this and I look forward to getting to know more people on Barbara's forums! All my best, Rachel http://whynotrachel.wordpress.com
When people work with me, their book gets written, their project gets finished, their words get published, they lose the weight, they find the husband, they travel to India – in 90 days or less.

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Re: Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby focuscatalyst » Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:32 pm

I really like the focus of the book. It makes it one I want to read. We all have some form of disability. I want to learn from what you've learned. Also, sign me to be a part of your teleconference on Monday! Betsy
Author, FOCUS. The Catalyst for Creativity. In your work. In your life. BARBARA SHER says: “Wow, what a system!...I'll be handing it out to my clients. (And quoting her in my next book!)"
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Re: Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby Beth L » Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:47 pm

Rachel, Wonderful topic! I can't wait to find out more. I'd love to join your teleclass on Monday. I have always been amazed at how some people with really serious disabilities can overcome them to lead producitve and satisfying lives, whereas some people who seem to have everything going for them accomplish nothing. So my question to you is: What quality determines how a person deals with a disability? Is it courage, fortitude, determination, luck, encouragement from others, education...? How can we help someone with a disability cope? Beth L http://www.bethlamie.com
Beth LaMie Personal Historian, Author and Speaker Author of Granny's Guide to Fun & Fabulous Family Stories website: www.bethlamie.com Blog: http://onestoryatatime.blogspot.com/ Twitter: www.twitter.com/bethlamie
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Re: Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby Thriving Miss Susan » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:56 pm

Yeah, and I am really interested in how you became interested in these distinctions....how did you evolve to have such a balanced, healthy, and humorous view of life? I agree with beth that being physically "unchallenged" does not mean that you ever figure out how to tap into your strengths and live a good life. What were the key experiences, key influences, that really set you on this path, not only of figuring out this wisdom for yourself but also deciding to share it with others? I think some of the most interesting writing can come when you put in your own words things that I may have read or done or thought I understood but did not interpret in the way that you do, so I learned so much more from your way of putting it. Such as thinking "I want my life to get back to normal," which you riffed on with "Normal is a setting on a washing machine." LOLROTFLMAO :!: :!: :!: What else do you have to say about this? This thought can take you deep into sadness... but the way YOU put it is really memorable and makes it accessible to me to think in a better way...I have thought of that saying many, many times since you first said it.
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Re: Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby BarbaraSher » Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:23 pm

Well, let me ask some dumb questions or be devil's advocate or whatever: 1) How much does a disability have to be part of a disabled person's consciousness? And identity? Does it intrude so much that most disabled people think of themselves in terms of their problems instead of 'I am Gertrude with the lovely singing voice, 10 pounds overweight, lousy at math, who always leaves a mess in the kitchen but is a great cook?' If you get my drift. 2) You said something funny that I can't remember -- but you were trashing 'rehab.' What did you say, and what's wrong with rehab? 3) You want your audiences and readers to learn something so they can change something -- or change their thinking about something, anyway. What would you like them to change?
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Re: Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby RachelACornell » Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:02 am

Great questions Beth. You asked: "So my question to you is: What quality determines how a person deals with a disability? Is it courage, fortitude, determination, luck, encouragement from others, education...? How can we help someone with a disability cope?" I'll responded first to the feel I get when I hear the word "cope." At first blush it suggests to me that you might have an idea of disability as something that one simply must sludge through life with, something an individual has to drag with them where ever they go. If that is your experience you are not alone in thinking this way. Maybe because when we see people with a noticeable "disability" we might think "I have no idea how I would cope with that." This is a totally normal reaction. A matter of fact, I have a friend who's a wheelchair user who said to me once "I don't think I could go on if I couldn't see." I had the thought "dude, your on wheels for the rest of your life, I much rather be blind." So there you have it, even gimps project. I wonder if you might ask yourself next time you see someone who's clearly "otherly able" I wonder how they have learned to thrive with their specific situation. Then from that place you might better be able to help someone. "How can I help that person thrive?" The best way to do this in my opinion is simply ask. I have felt a little pissy inside, in the past, for example, when someone runs to a door and opens it for me, or tries to over help me down some stairs. :twisted: THIS IS ABOUT ME, not the helping person. So if someone bites your head off, just re-position you noggin and move on. The interesting thing I want to point out, however, is I can not remember a time that I felt that pissy feeling when someone asked "can I catch the door for you". That's just me. Let me ask you a question Beth. Have you ever broken a leg or had a visible injury in the past? How you responded to that situation might have a lot to do with how you respond to a person who has a noticeable disability. Let me chew on the other part of your question Beth and get back to you. Rachel
When people work with me, their book gets written, their project gets finished, their words get published, they lose the weight, they find the husband, they travel to India – in 90 days or less.

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Re: Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby Beth L » Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:14 pm

Rachel, I see what you mean about coping. I have often thought that God only gives us what we can handle and I would not choose to trade my problems (or presumably, disabilities) for someone else's. I prefer to deal with the known as opposed to the unknown. Interesting that you ask about a broken leg. I have never had one, but in fact I am currently limping around rather badly with torn cartilage in my knee. Next week I'll have arthroscopic surgery to repair it (nothing serious, just a nuisance with therapy & all), but in the meantime I will rely on crutches and then a cane. So I will graciously accept the offer from anyone who wants to open the door for me. ;-) But having a temporary disability does make me much more conscious about what other people go through all their lives. A dear friend of mine was born with multiple handicaps and by adulthood was confined to a wheelchair. I was always amazed at her positive, cheerful attitude and all the things she accomplished. In fact, one time when we were kids, our families had spent the evening together, with us kids playing board games. Everything seemed just fine and we had lots of fun, like we always did. What I didn't realize was that she had been in terrible pain the whole time and went directly to the Emergency Room from our house. I was so humbled by her determination to not 'spoil the evening' for the rest of us. So that is what prompted me to ask why someone like Mary Jane always looked at the positive side and surpassed expectations, whereas someone else (who shall remain nameless to avoid embarrassing him) who seems to have all the best of everything complains all the time and can't even support himself. Sorry for such a confusing sentence. From all your experience working with people with disabilities, have you seen common traits in people who do succeed? Hmmm, now that I see my question, I guess it could actually be extended to everyone in the universe. That is, why do some people succeed and others give up? Hey, maybe this little revelation means that people with disabilities are just like 'real people' after all! Just kidding on that - of course I know they are real people. They just have more obvious challenges than some of us. Beth L
Beth LaMie Personal Historian, Author and Speaker Author of Granny's Guide to Fun & Fabulous Family Stories website: www.bethlamie.com Blog: http://onestoryatatime.blogspot.com/ Twitter: www.twitter.com/bethlamie
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Re: Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby RachelACornell » Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:59 pm

Susan wrote: "Yeah, and I am really interested in how you became interested in these distinctions....how did you evolve to have such a balanced, healthy, and humorous view of life? I agree with beth that being physically "unchallenged" does not mean that you ever figure out how to tap into your strengths and live a good life. What were the key experiences, key influences, that really set you on this path, not only of figuring out this wisdom for yourself but also deciding to share it with others?" HI Susan, Thanks for asking these questions. I don't know how balanced and healthy I am. My husband might be surprised to hear you say that about me...lol. I will thank you for the complement about my humorous view of life. I'm not sure where that comes from or how I access it. I've been told I'm a crack-up at a doctors office. Point a hypodermic needle in my direction, for example, and I'll have em rolling on the floor. I'm scared of needles, so humor in that case is a stress response. So maybe I'm stressed out? Seriously though, I think humor around issues that are sometimes challenging to discuss may make the topic a little more palatable , a "spoon full of sugar" kind of thing. As far as tapping into my strengths... Listen, I think I'm teaching what I need to learn. And I want this so badly for myself. Just as passionately, I want you to live your life to the fullest. I don't want you to compound any situation that you're living with, by the ways in which you are think about it. It irks me when people define themselves as their problem. When someone gets a vocation because they figure they are too crippled, hopeless or dumb to do what they really want to do, I get mad! That kind of limited thinking bugs me when I go there and bugs me when you do too. Don't get me wrong, I think there's a place for pitch-a-fit, but what I'm talking about is pitching a tent, slinking in and zipping up up tight. Or digging a hole and sticking your head in it. Hell, you can even do all that for a day, just don't stay there. Okay, I went off on a rant. <taking a deep, calming breath> Thanks Susan! Rachel
When people work with me, their book gets written, their project gets finished, their words get published, they lose the weight, they find the husband, they travel to India – in 90 days or less.

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Re: Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby Beth L » Sat Mar 08, 2008 4:20 pm

Rachel said: "It irks me when people define themselves as their problem. When someone gets a vocation because they figure they are too crippled, hopeless or dumb to do what they really want to do, I get mad! That kind of limited thinking bugs me when I go there and bugs me when you do too." Rachel, Just that one statement is proof positive that you absolutely MUST write your book! Think of all the people who need a swift kick in the rump to realize that they can do/be so much more. ANd your sense of humor just billows out like a puff of smoke when we least expect it...and I love it. You go, Girl! Beth L
Beth LaMie Personal Historian, Author and Speaker Author of Granny's Guide to Fun & Fabulous Family Stories website: www.bethlamie.com Blog: http://onestoryatatime.blogspot.com/ Twitter: www.twitter.com/bethlamie
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Re: Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby RachelACornell » Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:19 pm

Barbara, I look forward to your dumb questions. I mean...Your dumb questions are smart questions wearing sheeps clothing, or something like that. ANYWAY... [color=#800000]You wrote: 1) How much does a disability have to be part of a disabled person's consciousness? And identity? Does it intrude so much that most disabled people think of themselves in terms of their problems instead of 'I am Gertrude with the lovely singing voice, 10 pounds overweight, lousy at math, who always leaves a mess in the kitchen but is a great cook?' If you get my drift. [/color] It's a great question. How much does one need to identify with a disability, if at all. I wonder if we can re-think the idea of disability more on the line of how do we need to negotiate a situation. So for example, you're someone who can't walk, so you'll need to figure out how to get to the second floor of a building to eat at your favorite restaurant. Am I making any sense here? I think it is probably pretty common to identify with a disabilities instead of the most interesting parts of our person. You know our language doesn't help along these lines. How often have you heard someone say phrases like "my cancer" "my old trick knee," "oh my gout is acting up again?" I'm as guilty as anyone. Maybe owning it is healthy in some way. Although I think we run the risk of making our limitations something like a prized possession. I have been guilty of this in the past too. I think it's all about balance. We need to be able to say, "I think I could use a little help here." Like crossing a city street at night, in my case. And saying "I can't do anything." I think the newly, permently, disabled are very vonrable here. I have seen people really quite life because their old idea of who they are doesn't fit any more. I've also seem people go ubar, and go crazy bilistic to prove they are everything they used to be and then some. I guess that leads nicely into your #2 question... 2) You said something funny that I can't remember -- but you were trashing 'rehab.' What did you say, and what's wrong with rehab? Ummmmmm, I said..."screw rehab." (can I say that?). If you loose a leg, it ain't growing back! You are not going to be rehabilitated back to the two legged person you used to be. So I think in all kinds of situation, even things like loosing your job, what you really need to do is ABILITATE yourself, or get help doing it. Who you are is not your job or your leg, right? But you might not have ever really asked who you are. Who you are is still "Gertrude with the lovely singing voice, 10 pounds overweight, lousy at math, who always leaves a mess in the kitchen but is a great cook?" You are still all of that, jobless and limbless. What's changed is that you might be even a bigger mess maker and you're going to need yourself a prep-cook maybe. 3) You want your audiences and readers to learn something so they can change something -- or change their thinking about something, anyway. What would you like them to change?[/quote] I would like them to learn to consider disability in a little different terms. Take a look at where they might be disabiling themselves and how they can take the steps to choose something much more rewarding for themselves. I would like readers to laugh and not be as afraid of talking about disability. I think lots of people fear the topic because they know "it could happen to them." Maybe I need to keep working on answering this question because if feels to me like I have a lot of stuff here and maybe too many different things for a single focused book. Thanks for the dumb questions, they made me have to try and be smart. Rachel
When people work with me, their book gets written, their project gets finished, their words get published, they lose the weight, they find the husband, they travel to India – in 90 days or less.

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Re: Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby BarbaraSher » Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:18 pm

Splendid answers, Rachel, and a perfect and (I agree with Beth) passionate response, perfect for the book. I quarrel only with your last thought that you should stop because so much is ready to pour out, not on this subject: it is too soon to hold yourself back for any reason. If something is ready to pour out,let it come. If you think it's too long for a post, finish it and then go back to the top and insert "Warning: Long Post coming!]. If you don't want everyone to see it for some reason, keep writing anyway, then cut and paste the part you choose for privacy, paste it on a Word document etc, before you 'submit' the response. Well done!!
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Re: Write/Speak Student Asks "What is the Cape-Able Life?"

Postby RachelACornell » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:18 am

Thanks for the conversation on the BB. I just posted this on my blog, inspired by the questions that I've been asked here. (Some of the thinking about, and behind the book) I have some issues related to my sight and yet I love the visual arts. I also have a passion for language (despite dyslexia). I love poetry, music, and most of the social and behavioral sciences. I’m inspired by theater, dance and human interaction. These are some of the things that simply make my soul sing. I am convinced that we all have a master list of loves and passions that are unique to us. Born when we were born and are a part of us for our entire life. When we live by the list, so to speak, we have peace of mind, when we’re not referring to it in our actions we are not of service to our-self or others. You may have forgotten you had a list,or not even know you had one at all. We ignore it, or try to set it on fire. WAY TOO OFTEN we decide, or maybe we’re told, or both, that what we love is not an option for us. Try consciously or unconsciously to erase that list, and I promise you it will show up in the weave of your living-room curtains, roll across the credits of a movie screen or be tattooed on your forearm. You can’t escape it, it’s as much a part of you as your next inhalation. A friend once said, “you can’t hold an inner tube underwater forever. The longer you try to, the greater the irruption when it finally surfaces." If you suppress your list, you’re spark for living is submerged. So before you go and electrocute yourself and zap those around you, let me help you learn how to power up your life! I don’t care about your circumstances by the way. If you had Polo and always, always, always wanted to be a dancer, I say dance! If you had a career as a painter and then had a spinal cord injury I say paint anyway. You would not have been handed your list without also being given a clever enough brain to bring that list to life. Yes but… I lost my perfect job I lost my perfect left leg I have to support my kids I can’t support my weight I I I believe there is always a way! By the way, you don’t need to OVERCOME anything. That’s bull anyway. You might not ever fully get “over” some of the more painful experiences in your life. Let it be the kindling that gets you to the starting line. You don’t have to have a good attitude even. A good attitude is over rated anyway. Notice a few paragraphs up I said “peace of mind,” I did not say, you’ll be happy. Peace of mind is something that runs much deeper and you can have it even when you're in a dower mood. All you need to start out with is a willingness. Hell, you can even get started if you don’t have the willingness. Just be willing to be open to becoming willing…. If you are reading or listening to this in a wheelchair in some skanky V.A. hospital or barely holding back the panic about all the bills and debt collectors staring you in the face, this might not be funny or cute to you. I don’t care. Don’t laugh. Just get willing, because I do care about you getting to live from your "list." Rachel
When people work with me, their book gets written, their project gets finished, their words get published, they lose the weight, they find the husband, they travel to India – in 90 days or less.

Rachel Z. Cornell, The ProNagger
http://ProNagger.com
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