I love when I read a post and it brings up a past experience that relates to the situation but in a very different way. I recently read a very good blog post by candidkay about clearing out the negative in our lives and making room for more positive influences. The link to her post is here. Please be sure to read it, I am sure you will be glad you did!
I am always both so amazed and fascinated at how alike and yet totally different our lives can be. No two people are ever exactly alike. Just like Dr. Seuss says, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.
I must tell you of an individual who I am very grateful to have met. I will refer to him here as Phillip. When I first met Phillip I was told “You must never use the word no when you talk to Phillip”. Phillip had a lot of energy. He was about 6 foot tall. When happy he would sing, clap his hands, cheer and had a beautiful smile and laugh. When he was angry he was very strong. When agitated he would put his pointer finger out as a child does to resemble a gun, and begin shooting pshhhhh, pshhhhh, pshhhhh. If not calmed down fairly quickly and redirected from the cause of his anger, it could escalate into physical attacks on others as well as major property damage. He had a diagnosis of explosive disorder. Minor agitations could quickly grow into a major outburst without proper intervention.
Some memories of my first week with Phillip went a bit like this. Phillip talked in broken sentences. “Orange Juice?” he asked. “sure” I walk to the refrigerator to get him some. I very calmly realize we are out of orange juice and in a happy light hearted way I reply “Oh no, we are out of orange juice. How about some grape?” I don’t think I even realized that the word “no” flowed out of my mouth. “Why you pshhhh, pshhhh, pshhhhh, Thank heavens a veteran staff was training me. I look over at them questioningly “whats wrong?” I asked. “You said no” she said as she very calmly cracks a smile. So what do I do but respond all nervously “oh no, now what do we do?” I knew this would be a bit of a challenge but good Lord it had only been one minute and I had him upset and already used the word no twice! Being trained to work at this home was both extremely funny and stressful at the same time!
Believe it or not, this very quickly became one of my favorite places to work. Although it is not easy getting used to seeing someone rushing toward a housemate to grab them and 90% of the “usual” statements used to respond to a situation like this were off limits. I learned to adapt very quickly with positive reinforcements and redirection. The “game plan” was when he is agitated simply offer him a choice to do something that he enjoys doing, like saying the word Ghostbusters (one of his favorite movies) and then getting it and putting it on for him to watch.
I worked with him for a number of years and very quickly learned what things made him happy, calmed him and redirected his mood. One of my most successful calming plans for Phillip was singing He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands. Running in between two angry individuals grabbing the “attackers” hands looking directly into his eyes and breaking into a song became my #1 go to plan for keeping Peace. 🙂 Phillip loved going to church and he loved when you put his name into a verse….” He’s got ______ _________, in his hands”. It was a perfect example of the Lords peace in action.
He is such a shining example of how positive energy can fill our lives with hope and peace. As candidkay put it we are all responsible for the energy we bring. Are you the screaming meanie in your family, berating those around you for not serving your every need? Own it. Start where you are. Make it better. Also take care not to let others suck you into a their negative vortex.
Although Phillip’s thought process was very childlike I truly believe he understood there is no room for negative energy in our lives. We need to weed out the negative! Like bad weeds in a garden, negative people and thoughts prevent a person from growing, blossoming and being productive.
We should all take a lesson from Phillip, get creative, be more positive, say no less and look to Jesus to bring you peace 🙂
Luke 24:36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them “Peace be with you”
With respect, hope, joy and love, Carmela