Recently I became a Whanau Ora client for a couple of weeks to get a true taste of the Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope tool and what it can do for whanau.
P.A.T.H. has been around for a number of years. It helps people achieve their dreams and aspirations in a logical and structured way. It includes painting a picture (literally) of a goal/dream, discovering who is needed to support whanau on their journey, how they want those people or resources to support them, and understanding and clarifying the barriers that may prevent them from achieving their goals.
Community Services Manager Maree Macdonald sums it up well: “We eat with our eyes, so we explore adventure with our eyes.”
Whanau can use pictures, colour and vibrancy to construct the picture of where they are at and where they plan to be. It allows people to set dates, gives quarter-way and half-way marks, and enables people to look at what they already have. I didn’t realize until engaging in this process that I’m actually much closer to my dream than I thought.
My dream: My long-awaited wedding to the father of my son, my partner of 10 years.
But of course, and I can admit it, I have a terrible habit of over thinking things and being a general worrywart, so the idea of planning the wedding had me feeling a tad overwhelmed. It’s obviously meant to be exciting but it felt as though there were multiple hurdles (and so many decisions) along the way.
I sat down with Maree for my first appointment as a client. The first thing she asked me to do was picture, and physically draw my dream. That was the easy part! I’d been envisioning it for a long time – we’ve only been engaged six years after all.
But those hurdles! First there was the dress – a minor detail but a large one to the likes of myself. The problem I had was I’d already found my dream dress but that was two years ago and it was no longer available (trust me – I emailed all 20-something stockists across Australia and New Zealand). Second, where were we actually going to get married? How do you decide on a venue when in your mind everything is already perfect? I’d spent hours imagining the wedding of my dreams on a tropical beach in Rarotonga. How can anything compare?
And so we began. After painting the picture Maree took me through what I had already accomplished, my first steps, my areas of strength, the barriers, and who to engage as support.
Pretty soon I could see the dream actually coming together. Had I really already achieved this much?
What I thought were barriers were simply minor road blocks easily conquered with a clear plan. And soon, I realized the dream was so much closer than I’d thought. Painting the picture had never crossed my mind, but here I could physically see the steps in front of me and it brought everything into perspective.
I had a goal, but now I have a clear plan.
After going through the process myself, it’s easier to see how P.A.T.H. could be used in a multitude of situations. It allows whanau to easily visualize their goal/s and develop a clear vision and the pathway to get there.
I’m happy to report that since I sat down with Maree I’ve spent time searching for great deals online, visiting venues, and the dress debacle has been solved (woohoo) – my dream dress will be recreated by a dressmaker!
Thank you Maree for putting my mind at ease and helping to turn my goal into a reality.