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MettaCare (Carekshetra)

Guided and inspired by the real-life caregiving experience in the aftermath of a 2002 catastrophic injury, MettaCare is emerging as an integrative model of omnidirectional care awareness (ODCA).

Growing up around the continuing recovery of Mr. Kabir Kadre, this model recognizes care for the interiors and exteriors of both the individual and their community, as essential for meaningful wellbeing.

MettaCare is exploring the channels of interdependent care that make up ODCA. These channels nurture and inspire the body-mind-spirit of not only the primary care recipient, but also the multiple contexts that ripple outward including the circle of caregivers, and the family members and friends within and beyond this central system.

Unfolding in this field of care we see a wholeness of being, with growth and development naturally and robustly emergent in the members of this community. The ongoing MettaCare experiment is transforming a community’s perceptions and understandings around the meaning of human awakening. We are expanding the bounds of creative imagination, learning to ever more deeply care for ourselves, each other, and the world we live in.

Source of Intimate Insights: Nucleus of an Emerging Care Field

The Turn-Over

It happened: November, 2002.

The screeching tires, crunching metal, tearing earth, sprays of dirt, rubber and blood had come to rest, and the quiet afternoon calm of a warm Arizona early winters day closed back in around the scene.

Emerging from the wreckage of the torn vehicle, a young woman, tossed and disoriented began to make sense and appraisal of the tragedy surrounding her. Stumbling about, she began to call out to her companions, a kind of roll call to see who might be there to answer.

Sadly, two of her compatriots lie dead or dying, unable to respond. As she called the name of the third, “Kabir!” A voice echoed back from somewhere inside the twisted wreck… “Kabir here…”

The brief call and response echoes in my mind, a memory reconstructed only a handful of times in the 17 years since that fateful day. My friend, the young woman, walked away from that accident that day. Our two other friends passed that day from this life. I came away alive, but no longer walking, paralyzed from the chest down.

Such an acute tragedy, it’s unsurprising to me to have lost contact with the young woman who did the calling. Perhaps she only called out once and I only replied once, in my mind there was more back-and-forth, but never mind that…

Today, it’s still true, “Kabir here.”

Re-balancing ‘Self’ without Limbs

I landed – after three months and two hospitals – in a small seaside apartment in Carlsbad California where I would live under my brother’s loving care for the next two years.

This was an intense period in our lives, we had some (30 to 40 hours per week) support from hired care which operated purely on a maintenance level, but beyond that the brunt of my needs seven days a week and 24 hours a day (a.k.a. The Other 128 Hours) fell squarely on the shoulders of my brother.

The time was spent, for the first year, getting up and out the door to three hours of intensive recovery therapy five days a week. The process of getting me up for this and down again on our return, as well as travel between added another three hours.

When not in this cycle, I was home in bed, entertaining myself with an endless stream of Netflix movies, and thanks to the voice software on my brothers laptop, composing email, poetry, and eventually some rudimentary webpages.

The recovery facility, in Carlsbad California, was about 5000 ft.? of open space filled with various traditional exercise equipment, anywhere from 15 to 30 paraplegics and quadriplegics, family members, and about as many young and healthy physical fitness trainers. Some had relocated across the country or the world from their friends or family, others lived locally, and still more commuting from as far away as Los Angeles multiple times a week.

There was often music playing in the background and a general cacophony of people in a range of states from “Olympic level focus” to the general grab ass of blowing off steam.

This was a space of community, and everyone knew the intensity of experience of those around them. There was a strong spirit of fellowship flowing throughout, and it wasn’t long until my brother and I would be hosting little gatherings of 3 to 7 people in wheelchairs, caregivers, or family. Mostly the conversations were in the spirit of friendship, but also carried the distinct note of exploring our collective new experience of disability and acute concerns for care. This was my first experience in how important the empathic, reciprocal caring relationships in treatment and recovery is for WellBeing.

Mind Building

I continued to grow into this new body and its emergent and novel identity, composting the “old Kabir” for the Renewed Kabir.

Newly betrothed to the woman he met at the recovery center (also a quadriplegic) my brother moved to Michigan. Our time together had forever changed and deepened our relationship and appreciation for one another. Now I had the opportunity and experience to build from the ground up a care-model to meet mine and my daughter’s ongoing life needs.

I moved into a house from the apartment, now with a bedroom for my 10-year-old daughter, Jett, from whom I had been formerly estranged. Not long after, she moved in with me for the first time and we began the journey of an intimate, caring parent and child relationship.

About this time an old friend had dropped into my life and encouraged me to participate in a cohort-based, 18 month, leadership development program that required some traveling to Washington state, with intersessions online. The program was titled Generating Transformative Change in Human Systems. The year was 2006.

During this time, the catastrophic injury litigation case I had been involved in for over three years settled which allowed us to pay off enormous loans that had sustained our efforts for the previous years, and to turn focus from fundraising and maintenance towards a more sophisticated engagement with developing more nuanced processes of care.

The Generating Transformative Change (GTC) Training Program couldn’t have come at a better time! I was now responsible to manage a household, raise a child, build a new life, and manage a greater sum of money than I had ever seen. I was to do this in a paralyzed body while managing not only its care and recovery focused maintenance, but also begin to refine structure, process, and culture of the 24/7 staff of people that would help to make this possible.

I was a living exemplar of transformative change in that particular human system. And, I was one with the wholeness which that generated.

Community Building

With a daughter in the mix and an increasingly sophisticated view of the mix of friends, family, and hired care necessary for daily function, as well as a budding intelligence around the nature of thriving human collective systems, what was once just my brother and I with a few weekly visitors had become a bustling commons with me orchestrating the emergent field of care from the center.

As years moved on and Jett’s care needs grew more worldly as she moved into her teens and the busy life of a highschooler…

Having graduated the globally focused personal and professional development program and returning to the program for a second 18-month GTC Session as a Mentor I had moved from the primary focus of physical recovery and establishing an existential foundation to a more integrated and holistic view of well-being. This new view served not only my life in San Diego, but also now a GTC cohort of internationally diverse leaders.

My growing practice of systems (field) stewardship reflected earlier awareness and insight, having been raised in a small community focused Montana town, but my practical experience by this time was an order of magnitude more mature in terms of the perception and conscientious engagement with the perspective I had grown into.

A dear friend, David Clemmons (“The Godfather of Voluntourism”) who has been and remains a model of servant leadership had stepped in to help support my care in 2010, bringing with him a wealth of experience from previous, largely hospice, care settings. In that year, David really helped to systematize our model of care process.

In early 2011, David moved to the kingdom of Jordan to serve as a consultant to the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association, a joint project of the EU and the Kingdom. This initiative intended to increase Voluntourism opportunities for all stakeholders in that wide community, including solidarity tourism with the Bedouin. Two years later, David moved back and into the “granny flat” in the backyard. Jett was a successful high school sophomore, and I had begun to focus on developing additional professional skills and capacities, particularly in the realm of understanding and facilitating adult development into and through post-conventional stages of maturity.

David quickly adopted the role of “active uncle,” supporting Jett in various more active engagements like rollerblading and light errands – the kind of things that I might have done, were it not for the friction of wheelchair and necessary entourage of care. A prime example of the “it takes a village” adage, this also helped to draw our attention to the “field of care” function that served not only individual, but collective well-being.

Also acting in this care capacity, David now had more face time exposure with other “caregivers” who would otherwise only see one another in passing as they began and ended “shifts.” This thread began to weave dimensionality into our care system as it continued to reveal aspects of this field of care intelligence (now commonly referred to as Omni-Directional Care Awareness) with greater focus and granularity to our care partners.

By my nature, disposition, and proclivity I was already engaged in a conscientious reciprocal leadership dynamic and friendship with those who step formally into the roles of collaborative service to my immediate care concerns. Now, with more engagement in the mix, we begin to feel a greater sense of the emerging heartbeat of community as the continuity of care, not just for me, but throughout, began to mature.

As Jett left to explore Latin America on a gap year, David and I, unencumbered by the concern of proximity to Jett’s high school, moved back towards the city center where we could be closer the homes of some of our longtime friends and community. In this move, our care field evolved to encompass a multidisciplinary mesh-work  of roommates, executive assistants, best friend’s husbands, family handyman, community stewardship process, and wider local and global connections. Again our focus shifted from an inward well-being and containment attention to questions of how we might start to leverage our successes for the wider world.

In this time we engaged in hosting local community groups for consciousness building games (I had already been hosting the chapter of San Diego Integral on a weekly basis now for the past three years.) We also brought in various leaders from around the country and the world to engage in workshops and conversations around individual, group, and wider systems development.

Our Care Field now had a self reflective quality, an ongoing dialogue about the nature of care, how it flows, what obstructs it, whether it is linear, patient focused, reciprocal, or in fact Omni-Directional. In practice we begin to recognize each of ourselves as facets of a field of care that could be energized, nurtured, and expanded or taken for granted and neglected.

Continuous Learning

Now, 17 years later, after the SUV rollover, and over two dozen people cycling in and out, as they do, of care-giving positions this thread of inquiry about Omni-Directional Care Awareness and Fields of Care continued to deepen, nurtured by David , myself and those around us. Our work on the emerging model and process, now evermore visible, began to attract new partners with increased interest in uncovering the wisdom at its core.

Each new participant in the care field brought with them not only new perspectives, tensions, and insights, but their own existing fields of care and community.

As new partners encountered us, and we them, we would each see ourselves and the unfolding process differently having been reflected in the eyes of another. A living, dynamic, pulsing quality of a system undergoing natural development and evolution became clear and apparent.

A remarkable community development movement in Sri Lanka offers the slogan of inherent reciprocity:, “We build the road, and the road builds us.” This has held true in our Omni-Directional Care Awareness context that we now refer to as “MettaCare”.

Aggressive Inquiry and Opportunity for Action

Among the strongest findings of our experience is that the level of care that each of us – not only “hired care,” but me as the nucleus of this particular field, and the way that we can invite others “just visiting” to participate, and the seemingly external practitioners like my doctor, physical fitness therapist, and others – brings to this “field” translates directly into well-being for all of us, both individually and in relation.

These experiences and realization have cultivated a thirst in both David and I, as well as our partners here to expand and develop this new Care IQ (or perhaps EQ) with more intention, more rigor, and with others.

The recognition that well-being is an artifact of natural well care and that that creates healing resiliency, and in fact positive growth in the face of the bumps and bruises that we all experience in life, stands in contrast to a previous model that imagines “injury” as the aberration and a linear application of care as its suitable remedy.

MettaCare is, quite simply, Just Better Care. Built on the bedrock of autonomous agency, synergy, and inter-dependency (Omni-Directional Care Awareness) and a fledgling understanding of the Multi-Capitals of Care, we have on our hands a replicable DNA for the evolution and upgrade of care systems, whether they are home-based, clinical, residential facility, acute care, or even executive aspects of those systems.

San Diego, as nearly anywhere nationally, to say nothing of globally, is facing the ballooning care needs of the baby boomer generation precisely at the moment where our healthcare systems have exceeded their own capacity to care for the individuals operating within them.

Care intelligence, at the next level of maturity and sophistication, is desperately needed by those operating those care systems, the “patients” whom they serve, and the family, friends, and community whom are increasingly called upon to take active roles in those acute-care concerns.

MettaCare stands ready to be a leading, contributing, and synergizing voice in the impending paradigm of practicum and dialogic that is upon us with everyday increasing urgency.