Inpower Institute Insights

Dancing Through Dementia

Written By: Teresa Warren-Gardner and April Warren Grice, PhD  |  March 15, 2019

I was sitting knee to knee with Marchelle at our weekly Spirit Salon at InPower Institute, “a space where people come to get their souls touched up.” Carolyn, our leader for the week, asked us to discuss in pairs what supports us in choosing YES! to life.

My response was “everything.” I realize that everything that I have experienced and encountered has aided in my development, even those things that I thought were against me have served me in finding my truest self. For instance, my end-of-the-world breakups helped me to discover myself more fully so that I could live a more authentic life. My experience with my mom and dementia have taught me to listen deeper, appreciate each moment and discover new ways of sharing love with her. No matter the hardships, I am reminded that my soul wastes nothing. This has been true my entire life. Everything that I have experienced has been useful.

Marchelle, in agreement, shared how she too discovered the joy in choosing her perspective. She explained the story of how a friend who told her that he was just “playing the hand he was dealt.” Her was response was, “You chose the deck. It’s your game.” Immediately, I gasped for air and clutched my imaginary pearls. What did she mean!?

Marchelle explained, we may not have chosen our exact situations, but we chose our live lessons and that includes everything that comes with them. It’s our job to decide how we want to “play the game.” And because it’s our game, we can make the rules. We don’t have to write a jail sentence. Instead, we can write a ticket to a new life discovering the possibilities in the circumstance. She went on to ask, “How can we change our perspectives to see and do things differently, so that we reap fresh fruit from what appears to be a rotten deal?” What if we chose to really experience life in more transformative and vibrant ways?

After talking with Marchelle, now this is what I am doing with my mom. We have taken ownership of the game and have decided instead of experiencing dementia as a death sentence, we are creating a new life and dancing our way through it. We both LOVE TO DANCE, so we are making our own rules as we dance through dementia.