"Rewriting the Myths, Redefining the Realities"
Today (4/9/03) at the State Capital partisanship was set aside and true democracy was at its finest. In the House Committee on Health Welfare and Institutions (HEWI), Representative Witwer of the Joint Budget Committee reluctantly presented a bill that originally would have severely limited the private duty nursing benefit in the Medicaid program. This was one of many painful decisions made by this committee charged with the impossible task of balancing the budget.
Often during the “budget season” testimony and public input are limited due to time constraints. HEWI Chairman Representative Lori Clapp chose to not to limit testimony, but to allow the many parents of severely disabled and ill children testify. As these parents shared their labor of love with the committee, politics went away. The representatives listened, and the love the parents showed for their children as they described the amazingly difficult work that they do on a daily basis, took over. Parents did not come to complain or to say that these children were burdens. Parents repeatedly said that despite the work involved, they would never trade their child for a so-called “normal” child. Parents were clear that they were willing to give up some of their care, despite the hardship this will cause, in order to help the state with the budget crisis and preserve the benefit for others in need. The testimony of these parents changed the whole mood of the day.
Representative Clapp offered amendments to restore some of the lost benefits, with the support of Representative Witwer and every single member of the committee. Members of the committee, after listening to these awesome families, reaffirmed their commitment to use the scarce resources to provide services to those with the greatest need. The hearing was peppered with the noise of the machines that keep these children alive, as well as the occasional cry (of both child and parent). However, the eloquent way that these parents respectfully described the needs of their children drowned out not only the sound of the machines and crying, but the partisanship that so often permeates these issues.
The parents that sat for hours to save their childrens lives need to be commended for their dignity. Representative Witwer and his JBC colleagues need to be commended for their flexibilit and, to agree to the changes in their proposal when they learned it may do irreparable harm. Representative Clapp deserves high praise for the compassionate manner in which she handled this committee. Despite time deadlines, she made sure that every person in the room had full opportunity to speak—and offered changes that made this reduction acceptable to those whose lives depend on the benefit. We hear so much about the negativity that occurs at the Capital. Colorado citizens need to know that Democracy is alive, well, and working in Colorado.
Julie Reiskin is Executive Director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. See her article “Confessions of a Crip Lobbyist” on page 11 for more information about what happened in this legislative session.
Enjoy Without Question
I have just returned from Sedona Ilchi Meditation Center Tour based in the desert near Sedona, Arizona. I am legally blind and it was my first time traveling alone. I was nervous but I had wanted to take this trip for a long time. I knew this was a place where I could relax my mind and quiet my thinking. I noticed a difference the minute I stepped off the plane in Phoenix. The people were friendly and very helpful. I had no trouble getting
to the Center.
The first thing I felt was the beauty of the desert. The colors of the soil, grass, flowers, trees, mountains and sky swirled together, soft, and complete, not one greater than the other. True unity. The people were the same. There were many cultures from the U.S. and Korea, here together. Everyone was willing to help one another freely without reservations.
The Grand Canyon, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Airport Mesa and Peace Park were just a few of the many places we visited, each one containing their own individual yin and yang energy. There are also many vortices in Sedona Ilchi Meditation Center. We were assisted through guided meditation and had the chance to do our own free meditation. I remember each one clearly but I will tell you
about the first.
We were sitting on top of Airport Mesa. I was in deep meditation and could feel the strong energy pushing me. I was told that I would receive a gift, but I would not know what the gift was until later. I was then told to open my eyes and enjoy this bonus without question. When I opened my eyes, I was able to see more clearly. I saw each individual leaf. The colors of the earth were clear. The landscape was beautiful. Then I thought to myself, how could this be possible? There has got to be an explanation and, after that, my vision became
My mind quickly went to the words, “enjoy without question,” and the clarity returned. I knew this blessing was not supposed to last, so I just enjoyed the view. In my heart I know that the gift I have not become aware of is not about my eyes. That was a bonus, a way for me to trust, to enjoy without question. When my true gift is known to me, I will write and tell you. Until then, I am patiently waiting.
That was just the beginning of my experience in Sedona Ilchi Meditation Center. I wish you the best in your own personal journey. If you have readers who would like to experience something like this, they can call Sedona Ilchi Meditation Center at 1800-875-2256 for information, or go to their website at www.ilchimeditation.org.
Editor’s Note: I met Vivian on a Meditation Tour in April and, when she learned I edited The Colorado Quarterly, she offered to share her experiences with our readers.
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