Monday, May 3, 2010
Crucial Conversations #3
Interdependence at its best is healthy symbiosis. When I went looking for a definition of symbiosis I learned that a better term for my purposes is mutualism. According to Wikipedia
"mutualism" describes any relationship between individuals of different species where both individuals derive a benefit. …Many biologists restrict the definition of symbiosis to close mutualist relationships….for example…an Egyptian Plover picking the teeth of a Nile crocodile…and a large percentage of herbivores have mutualistic gut fauna that help them digest plant matter, which is more difficult to digest than animal prey. Coral reefs are the result of mutualisms between coral organisms and various types of algae that live inside them. Most land plants and land ecosystems rely on mutualisms between the plants, which fix carbon from the air, and mycorrhyzal fungi, which help in extracting minerals from the ground.
I love this kind of information! I also love that mutualism describes caregiving at its best---everybody thriving. For sure I know that many times the person I was caring for felt like a different species from me!
Mutualism is a great goal. It is also a craft. Requires shared disclosure and trust built over time.
Like any craft, having a teacher can be invaluable.
I think that this is one of the services that geriatric care managers can provide: working with all the parties to craft interdependence/symbiosis/mutualism.
As I write this I remember people like Anthony and Dan and Rich and Michael and David among others who insisted that we work out from the getgo what I was getting out of the relationship.