Archive for March, 2016

Support – Kindness made Active

Monday, March 21st, 2016

I have some very supportive friends. The extreme demonstration of this was November and December of 2009. I had major surgery to remove a very large fibroid tumor. I lived alone, I had no partner, just my dog and I. Over 50 people chipped in and took care of me for almost two months. I had food, company, dog walkers, house cleaning, even assistance in the first few days turning over, getting out of bed, washing, and figuring out how to walk again.

That was support. And the experience was life changing for me. I had never known that sort of support.

Except of course from my parents. Whose support was strong clear, and very long lasting as it continues through my father to this day. But in many ways fading as he grows older, and actually needs more of my support,

I’ve been practicing kindness. It seems to be my most important spiritual path at this time. And I’ve been considering support, now that I’m single again, and also getting hints of what happily growing older may require.

I had a lot of support in my last relationship, and I am sad to be without the small and sometimes large daily ways of being cared for and nourished. Thrown back into the unwanted status of “single” my support has to again depend on the many individuals who are my community, my friends, people not necessarily pledged to me as a lover is, but who do respond and care in so many small and large ways.

And support comes from strangers and synchronis events and coincidences as well. It matters to stop and appreciate the small and large ways I have wonderful support. People who support my work by being clients or by sending clients to me. Requests for writing and teaching. Peers who challenge and inspire me to do better.

Gifts of food, company, money, chocolate. People who will lend a hand moving something, clearing out a closet, providing expertise as I puzzle out a new project. Those who show up and carry heavy objects, saw lumber, shovel sand and weed the garden with me.

Friends who will read and comment on a book chapter, tell me when I offended them, suggest a softer or more mature way to proceed with conflicts. The support of singing the song while I ranch off into exotic harmonies. The support of giving me a ride somewhere or adjusting my bike for me. Hoisting the canoe, paddling behind me, swimming into the deep part fo the lake together urging me to go further, climbing the mountain (literally) with me when I didn’t think I could do that.

Support in believing in my dreams, introducing me to someone who can make those dreams become real.

And my work, my time, is spent finding how I can support other people. Especially the ones who come to me as clients. I am especially called to support new moms anyway I possibly can. Support them in breastfeeding, support them in taking care of themselves when they are giving so much Support them in having the space and the time to fall madly in love with this tiny person new to the world. I have never been a mom, and never will, but they hold a special part of my heart.

But in all of my clients and students the real purpose is to find how I can support them to be wonderful. Successful. Happy. To make it through hard times, with more than they started with.

I support the cranial vitality when I do Cranialsacral Therapy. I support the brilliant ability of the body to heal when I do other bodywork. I support people being insightful and wise and powerful when we talk about their lives and their struggles. It is all just about being supportive. Finding those small and large ways each person can use support. Making sure they have other people and parts of their lives which are supportive, encouraging them to build more support and move away from the people and things that are not.

It is all pretty simple.

I could use more support in my day to day life. There are tasks and projects and dreams that are behind or delayed. I need help keeping up with day to day tasks, and so many things that need doing. I can be more aware of ways to support my friends and clients and community in those small and large ways, I can do so much more.

When I write about it, I become more aware. As I’m more aware I can be even more active and —- supportive.

Transportation Commission: A Proposal for Ann Arbor

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

I was the Chair of the Pedestrian Safety and Access Task force, that turned in our final report September 2015. One of the recommendations in that report was to have a more permanent place in the city to advocate for pedestrian issues. After consultation with city people, transportation people, and those who have been studying this far longer than I have there was general agreement and encouragement to form a new commission, that would deal with transportation as a whole. One of the reasons, in addition to having a more holistic perspective, is how money is considered and distributed. To have money for bikes and pedestrians, we need to look at the budget early in the process – not just a tiny entity asking for a small slice of the pie.
And foremost in my mind are the many reports and studies that are now set aside for the current crisis. I want a commission that will keep that work and great work in front of decision makers. I want those recommendations to be part of the planning and budgeting process.
The following is a possible charter for a Transportation Commission for Ann Arbor. It is a working draft, now in its seventh draft form after lots of input from many sources.
Your input is welcome. Contact me personally, or leave a comment. Thanks.

Proposed Transportation Commission for City of Ann Arbor
Working Document — Seventh DRAFT by Linda Diane Feldt
With modifications suggested by Larry Deck and others — Revised most recent March 3 2016

Purpose:
The Transportation Commission advises the City Council regarding motorized and non motorized transportation matters and recommends projects and policies to enhance safety mobility and access for all people.

The Commission’s roles include:
• Harmonization — Check the alignment of City Council plans and proposals with publicly generated reports from task forces and committees; and other accepted recommendations including a commitment to vision zero.
• Proposals — Bring forward proposals based on the above body of work, and provide updated proposals and recommendations based on a holistic and inclusive overview of the mobility needs of all people.
• Planning — Participate in long-term planning based on past studies and recommendations, including Vision Zero goals.
• Budget – Participate in the city budget process where it pertains to transportation.

Composition:
7-9 people who serve two-year terms.
At least one City Council liaison.
One city staff resource person, part time.
Appointed by Mayor with approval of City Council.
Commissioners represent pedestrian interests, bicyclist interests, car drivers, UM, health care and prevention, environmental concerns, handicapped and disabled interests, bus transportation, train travel and future planning, also possibly aging and young populations. There will be overlap, as few people represent only one category. Looking for balance and diversity.

Resources to consult and incorpoate:
The Pedestrian Safety and Access Task Force Report, 2015
Non-motorized Transportation Plan — 2007 and 2013 Update
City Transportation Plan — 1990 and 2009 Update
Parks & Recreation Open Space Plan 2011-2015
The Ride Five-Year Transit Improvement Plan 2014
Complete Streets Resolution 2011
Re-imagine Washtenaw Ave 2015
North Main Task Force report 2013
Vision Zero Resolution 2015
Ann Arbor Climate Action Plan 2012
Allen Creek Greenway Task Force (in process)
Relevant documents from other Ann Arbor city Commissions including Disabilities, Energy, and Environment.
And these city-generated studies:
South State Street Study, (Downtown Street Typology?) (South Main Street?) (Seventh Street recommendations?), 2010 Ann Arbor Connector Feasibility Study, (Parking recommendations esp. DDA?), as well as county and state generated studies accepted by the city

Communication responsibilities:
• Planning — Create a rolling ten-year plan based on the completed documents mentioned above, including items for immediate action and advocacy. [consider council approval as part of the process]
• Response — Respond to identified citizen and council needs and requests.
• Education — Create a public access information and education component to help direct people to appropriate resources, advocates, and methods for resolving problems or recommending improvements.
• Outreach — Help the city to disseminate information and updates on transportation activities.
• Online information — Maintain a publicly accessible Google group for resources, minutes, agendas, plans, task force reports, and all other materials used. Incorporate this into the city web site as possible.
• Cooperation — Interact with other commissions where the work overlaps.
• Evaluation – Conduct yearly evaluation of progress based on setting goals for the commission and also monitoring previously identified metrics including crashes, fatalities, infrastructure improvements, planning documents, and educational and advocacy efforts.

Logistics:
Meets minimally once a month
Receives information and alerts from city staff and council and the mayor regarding transportation funding, projects, planning, and engineering initiatives
Thorough orientation and a reading list
Elect a chair for one-year term, follow Robert’s Rules and adhere to the Open Meeting Act.

Utilize sub committees for work on specific topics, include additional public members, the commission retains the final approval for all committee work and each committee has 1-2 commission members at a minimum. Committee members chosen by?

Training and staff support:
TBD

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