A tent, or tepee is soon to arrive in the hospital.
I’ll explain a little about the why and the wherefores shortly, but, first, I’d like to think about dens.
When growing-up, my cousins lived in a house with a den; in effect where they would sit and watch TV and eat meals; as opposed to the lounge or dining room.
My kids over the years have created various dens; all sorts of fabric constructions – blankets, sheets, jackets and shirts.
There is something magical about a place of your own.
Occasionally, in the morning, I would find a child had spent the night underneath a pile of crumpled-up linen and duvets.
As a youngster I remember my mum making me a wigwam; this, distinct from tepee is that the former is less permanent – designed for getting about. The wigwam was made-up of interlocking poles aligned with neatly machined slots attached to fabric. It would balance precariously on the slope of our back garden.
As an even younger child, pre-school, I used to love crawling under the dining-room table. The smugness, safety, security of being tucked out of the way.
Yes, we are getting a tepee.
Supported by a wonderful organisation called Camerados.
‘Where did you get the name?’ I asked Maff one of the founders; ‘Ah, from Whitman,’ he said…
“Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?”
And kind of funny, at least to me, as this takes me to somewhere in the late 90’s drinking Cream Sherry with Nick, reciting Leaves of Grass before heading out on the town.
The joy of oddness.
Is there anything worse than being a circle conformed into a triangle or square?
And, intriguing how this takes me to wholeness;
In the workplace (or any place) you can be your best, give your most, when you are yourself; when you are confident, open and secure, when you are not wasting physical, psychical or other energy on second-guessing or over-analysing. Stigma and prejudice bring us down, they prevent growth and progression; happiness, openness and light lead to creativity.
And, so, the tepee.
It is an installation designed to create a space for wellbeing. A place for people to be themselves, to allow their defences to fall, where patient and staff, carer, therapist or doctor can connect as humans; the project is called human hospitals. An attempt to re-humanise the clinical, to balance the scales of person-centredness.
Anyone care to join me?
If you are interested, you can check out the tepee that was until recently installed in Blackpool Victoria Hospital. (here).
Thank you, Walt, thank you, Walden.
Here to the spirit of now!