If inspiration is the inhalation of creativity where is the output, the out-breath, the action of innovation? Here is it; inspiration derives from the meaning ‘divine guidance’. My inspiration to develop The Ellis Method wasn’t from a first experience…it was inspiration to become my last. I call it the Battle of Ability.
Margaret and I first met in 2015 and with over sixty years between us, we decided to get to know one another through a reminiscence project. I helped finish a memory book of her life’s story and together we read it through …page by page, with each memory leading to a warm conversation, hearty laugh, or a thoughtful silence. Margaret read the last page, turned it over, and smirked. ‘So what; that’s it? My life’s over?’ I smirked back. In that one moment it became clear, I was inspired. How could life be over when you’re still living and breathing? After all she was still Margaret Ellis; compassionate, curious, and caring, with a life to live and no regrets behind her. Although her physical self was changing, Margaret’s ability shined through wisdom; her ninety-three years of knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. Together, we embarked on a battle of ability against the misconceived perceptions of ageing that Margaret and many others often face; the stigma that in old age we are less able.
Margaret battled repeated acts of stigma from health care professionals and community members. She faced many challenges when expressing herself while her informed opinions and actions of self-efficacy were often devalued and ignored. Although Margaret fought each and every obstacle with every bit of strength she had, the barriers overcame us and we said our final goodbye in 2016.
The Ellis Method is inspired by the wisdom of Margaret herself and the light her situation shined towards the need for a shift in perspective of our oldest generation, from ‘less able’ to ‘wise able’. This approach values dignity, encouragement, and possibilities, from a humble position of working together towards quality living. The Ellis Method’s mission challenges old age stereotypes through the compassionate belief that older adults are the expert of their own life. Now where were we…?
…Inspiration. I have found throughout my experiences visiting with older adults that challenging moments often become blessings in disguise, that there is meaning in madness. Do you choose to breathe in, to find moments of inspiration? Do you choose to breathe out, to engage in whatever inspires you in that moment? What about in every moment? I too choose to be inspired.
- Friend, family, founder