x positive deviance Open Bowl

Plain Rice
    Jerry Sternin observed, unorthodox Vietnamese rice paddy farmers quietly add little wild critters and weeds (unlikely proteins, minerals and vitamins) to their rice bowls, so their families stay healthier than other families who stick with just plain rice.
Strange  Condiments
    What these farmers do, we all do in so many ways.  In every realm of life we seek out "low-hanging fruit"---solutions, that though unconventional, are easier and better than the norm; solutions that enhance plain life for those with an open bowl.  
    What is your "bowl" open to?  Imagine that you are a family member of one of these rice paddy farmers.  Would you open your bowl to the wild critters and weeds they offer?  Or would you just stick with plain rice?  Why?  What would be the consequence of your choice?
    Realizing that you are already open to wild solutions (you speed) is the first step of Positive Deviance Therapy (PDT)  Then, opening even wider (speeding faster) is the second step.  The following art pieces help you take these steps. 

Dandelion Solution

The PDT Icon.  Like my fellow artists (painters, sculptures, photographers, filmmakers) who find beauty in that which is close-at-hand, yet often ignored or disdained by society (e.g. grandma's wrinkled face and hands, grandpa's quirky remedies) I delight in effective solutions that are easy, immediate, yet often overlooked or sneered at because they are merely unorthodox.  The dandelion is a great example of the low-hanging fruit at the heart of My Art.  This tiny flower imparts important lessons.  First, I am reminded to maintain modest expectations for how well people are likely to receive my best work (My Art) when we see how easily people miss, dismiss and deny the full beauty, wonder and value of dandelions (they really are spectacular!).  Second, how the dandelion is generally treated in our society reminds me how powerfully determinant conventional thinking can be, and thus, why it is difficult for people to keep an "open bowl" to my solutions.  One of the most common and  twisted stories (perceptions) of dandelions portrays them as nothing more than a weed---one that merits great expenditures, of energy, time, money, and deadly poisons to destroy and eradicate.  This is stunning, in light of the facts that dandelions are a nutritional powerhouse (the entire plant is edible, root and all; and it can be eaten at any stage of development) and tasty too (it makes good tea, and since my family started eating dandelions we have no more need to grow spinach or lettuce in the garden).  My high-glory story is that dandelions are a blessing...sent as a heavenly reminder, to inspire and give us all courage to set sail on the hunt for new, better solutions despite the harsh winds of social disapproval.  This flower, to me, is evidence that we need to journey on with a bright hope, that there are other things (many things) in our society and inside ourselves that like the dandelion, are better, healthier, more beautiful, and so much closer to home than we had ever imagined, which can be more easily obtained than the conventional substitutes we currently, conventionally strive for.  I discuss this hope in my PDT jam sessions.  Also, check out my Fantastic Forays from dandelions to other wild critters and weeds (including cooked grasshoppers, yum!)..  
    Humanitarian Service Project Solution

small is the new BIG.  This piece is dedicated to Mother Teresa, who said, "There are no great things, only small things with great love......It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home, for this is where our love for each other must start......Jesus said love one another. He didn’t say love the whole world......It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.......Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies....If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.......We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop......Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work." Join us for a jam about doing distal and proximal Humanitarian Service Projects. 
    Helmet Solution

Touchstone.  This solution is a reminder that every "better" solution, regardless of whether it is conventional or unconventional, is like the "Helmet Solution": it really doesn't matter whether the particular solution is undeniably true, beautiful, and/or a betterment of what IS, people will not DO it ("wear the helmet") unless they think it is DIRE for them to do so (they really love the particular solution, or they fear they can't do without it). I jam about the Helmet Solution, here.

    House Rules

Guidance.  I wrote a book to reveal the 8 rules to keeping an "open bowl." Just click on the graphic above to read this little book.  I jam about it in our PDT sessions.

    One-Page Version Book Solution

New Standard.  The One-Page Version Book Solution is strong evidence for my belief that "small and simple things bring about great things when great energy is brought to them" (The Hunt Is On).  Take for example my book, Move More, Eat Less...or, Just Eat Less.  After an extensive meta-analysis I was able to pack all of the essential information a person needs to successfully lose weight into a single page with exactly 152 words!...which happens to be the exact same word count as one of my favorite books that has been read by millions of adults and children throughout the world.  Good Night Moon is my new standard for what qualifies as a "book".   With this standard I have been able to write books in only a few minutes, instead of months and years.  I jam about one-page books in PDT sessions and also here.

    Summer Home Solution

HomeSweet Agreement.  I've long wanted a big new home...but you can't always get what you want. We have four kids and one bathroom in our century-plus old home.  One day I said to my wife, with a sigh, "You know, this little-old cramped house of ours would be just fine..., as a summer home.  It's a lot like my Irish friend's summer cottage on the coast.  And it's much like our next-door neighbor's summer home; nothing fancy, quaint and comfortable."  Just then,  it dawned on me.  I quickly called my brother and entered into an agreement.  In an instant we had a summer home (and a winter home to boot!).  Now, each morning, when I take a shower in our unfinished bathroom, cook in our tiny kitchen, or fix one of the hundred things yet needing repair, I feel better.  I look around and I think, "not bad for a summer home..."   (Artist note: as soon as I shared this solution with a friend, he immediately created his own summer home.  Another friend promptly proclaimed his trailer house "The Retreat.").  I jam about it, here.

Want more solutions?  This collage continues on my YouTube Channel, where you can subscribe to keep informed of all new solution-art pieces I create.

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