Oak Communications
September 8, 2010
In This Newsletter
Oak Communications

Oak Communications Blog

Past Newsletters

We sat around Kim's dining room table with our heads down and pens in hand. We wrote for five minutes in response to the writing prompt, "When I awoke from the dream..." Once again I was surprised by the great variety and the power of the writing by our participants in the Writing Down Dementia workshop. I was not surprised by their shared wisdom and loving silences.

For more than a year now, Kim Fowler and I have been offering Writing Down Dementia Workshops for people who have or have had a loved one with dementia. Each time we do so, I feel validated by what we are offering. The workshops help others (and me) to understand our feelings and our relationships that were affected by such a pervasive end of life illness.

Aniruddh D. Patel, describes in an article in the New York Times, "I've been passionate about two things since childhood - science and music. At graduate school, Harvard, I hoped to combine the two....In 1990, I found myself in Australia doing fieldwork on ants for a Ph.D. thesis. And there, I had this epiphany: the only thing I really wanted to do was study the biology of how humans make and process music.... I wrote (my professor) E. O. Wilson that there was no way I could continue with ants." Fortunately, Wilson wrote him back and told him to come back to Harvard. Wilson said, "You must follow your passion."

Fortunately for Patel, as a young man, he recognized and acknowledged his passion for science and music and this passion was validated by his professor. He has gone on to do research on the neurobiology of music and published the book, Music, Language, and the Brain.

While Patel's book sounds interesting and I have included it on my long reading list, I am most interested in his story. Had he not taken the risk to pay attention to his feelings while doing research on ants in Australia, and had he not let his professor know that he needed to change his research direction, and had his professor not agreed to let him come home and pursue a new direction, his story might be very different today.

When do we feel validation? I think it is when we believe that we are doing work and living our lives in ways that we were meant to. Often we feel validation for our work when an event or action takes place that confirms we are on the right track.

For me, it may be the look in someone's eyes or in the quality of their voice as we are engaged in a coaching conversation, or as in the example above, when in a Writing Down Dementia workshop the participants clearly feel validated for their feelings and experiences.

When do you feel validated?

All my best,

Sue Schleifer
Favorite Links

Ruth Bancroft Garden
Barrel Cactus

The above article was inspired, in part, by the video Validation. I think you will like it. You don't even have to watch the entire 16 minutes to enjoy it.

A couple of my recent favorite music videos found on You Tube:

Cedric Watson's Road to a GRAMMY. I recently saw Cedric perform live and was so impressed with the creativity of his music and his presence on stage.

The Zydeco/Cajun GRAMMY Nominees - this film gives you a great flavor for the rich music scene in Southwest Louisiana. Come on down!

Want some Cajun recipes? Check out the Ms.Enplace blog.
Writing Down Dementia Workshops

 Ruth Bancroft Garden
spiral cactus

Do you have a loved one with dementia? 

Have you lost someone to Alzheimer's disease?

Are you feeling isolated or overwhelmed?

Writing Down Dementia
offers a rich experience of creative expression and emotional support to people who have, or have had, a loved one with dementia. This workshop is also designed for caregivers and professionals working in the field of aging services.

Using writing prompts, music and poetry, we share our fears, frustrations, joys and challenges of watching our lives change - and those of our loved ones - with the advent of dementia. No writing experience necessary.

Please join workshop facilitators, Sue Schleifer and Kim Fowler for a Free Information Call to learn more about the upcoming Teleclass.

Thursday, September 9, 2010
2 - 3 pm CST (noon - 1 pm PST, etc.)
Phone: 218.339.3600; Access code: 291156#

Teleclass Dates: September 23, October 7 and 21, November 4 at 2 -3 pm CST. To register, contact Sue.

For additional information about the Teleclass please visit: Writing Down Dementia Workshops

Writing Down Dementia Workshop at Hospice of Acadiana

Friday, October 22, 2010, 10 - 11 am
2600 Johnston Street
Lafayette, LA
For more information, contact Sue at 337.534.0954 or Ann Wallace, Volunteer Coordinator, 337.706.3732

If you would like to schedule a Writing Down Dementia Workshop for your organization, please let me know.

I am considering starting an ongoing Writing Down Dementia workshop in Lafayette, LA. If you might be interested in participating, please contact me.
Coaching with Sue

Headshot Sue

Have you been thinking about working with a coach?

Perhaps you are tired of feeling stressed and overwhelmed and want to feel a sense of clarity and energy.

Do you yearn to bring your creative side back into your life and not sure how to proceed?

Maybe you would like to make a change in your career but are not sure what is next for you. Or, you would like to have a sounding board in your role as a leader in your organization.

I would love to talk with you about how I can be your partner in building a satisfying life and career. Call me for a complimentary half hour telephone coaching consultation.

Coaching is extremely effective via telephone. Let's talk.

Sue Schleifer
510.316.3319 - cell
Consulting Services
I also specialize in helping organizations to fulfill their missions, work smart, and communicate effectively. One of the ways I do this is through working to improve the internal communications in the organization.
  • Is everyone clear on their roles and responsibilities and how decisions are made?
  • Is there tension between people that is getting in the way of productivity?
These are just a couple of the questions that we will explore to help you get your organization back on track.

For more information, contact:

Sue Schleifer
510.316.3319 - cell
Oak Communications

Lafayette, LA and throughout the country

510.316.3319 - cell

Do you know someone who might enjoy this newsletter? Please forward it to them by clicking on Forward email below.

If you do not wish to receive future newsletters, please click the SafeUnsubscribe link below. Thank you.