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From unsung heroes: Occupational gifts for a meaningful life

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Presentation on theme: "From unsung heroes: Occupational gifts for a meaningful life"— Presentation transcript:

1 From unsung heroes: Occupational gifts for a meaningful life
Rachel Thibeault Programme d’ergothérapie - Occupational Therapy Programme Université d’Ottawa – University of Ottawa

2 La question de départ: What are the occupational choices and strategies that lead to a healthy and fulfilling life?

3 Exploring philosophy Occupations that foster the emergence of our deepest identity Choices rooted in justice and ethics Occupations that speak of an awareness of the interconnectedness of life… and are ways of giving back.

4 Exploring the works of mystics

5 Exploring neuroscience (Ricard , Davidson, Lutz et al, 2004; 2005; 2007)
Shaping meaningful intent Giving shape to that intent - doing Rewiring neuronal pathways

6 Exploring modern psychology (Erikson, 1976, 1982; Seligman, 2002)
Good life Pleasant life Meaningful life

7 How do we shape a meaningful life, for ourselves and our clients?
Let’s draw a parallel

8 If I were to work on improving physical health, I would focus on…
Strength Endurance Flexibility Speed Accuracy…. And I would use occupations to match

9 If I were to work on cultivating meaning, I would focus on…
Presence Compassion – love - tenderness Gratitude Forgiveness Justice Temperance (Seligman, 2002) And I would use occupations to match

10 What are those occupations?
Exploring real life: 5 occupational categories from my unsung heroes

11 Centering Ephemia - Zambia
Occupations that foster presence, awareness and calmness such as repetitive tasks, productive or « non-productive »

12 Contemplation Ingrid and Annie - South Africa
Occupations such as prayer, meditation, or anything that induces awe of life

13 Creation Lakech and Wagaye - Ethiopia
Occupations that meet the need to create – even if only for oneself.

14 Contribution Doris and friends – Sierra Leone
Occupations that allow you to give back, to be a valued, productive member of your community

15 Connectedness Emmanuel - Nicaragua
Occupations that speak of belonging to your community, to Life.

16 How do we know if me make the right occupational choices?
Two more lessons

17 The notion of « junk occupation »
Chewing « qat » in Ethiopia Spider solitaire for me What is yours?

18 The body as barometer Vitality Alertness Fluidity of movement
Breathing Tone of voice

19 What I have been given for my 30 years as an occupational therapist

20 An occupational tool box for the soul
Core elements of meaning Compassion- love Gratitude Forgiveness Justice Temperance With the occupations to match Centering Contemplation Connectedness Creation Contribution

21 “One knows from daily life that one exists for other people - first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving...” Albert Einstein The world as I see it

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