Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Using the quilt as metaphor to represent Integrative Life Planning

Welcome back to the blog! In keeping with the theme of finding new solutions to all the challenges brought on by change on all levels of society, the Integrative Life Planning (ILP) approach has been introduced. Today’s blog will mainly consider some of the reasons cited by Sunny Hansen for using the quilt as metaphor to represent the ILP approach.

Before we start looking at how a quilt represents ILP, it seems fair to ponder how quilts are made, what they are good for, and how these characteristics can be likened to what we try to achieve by introducing ILP into the context of career management and development.

According to a web-based source, the word quilting can be traced back to the Latin word culcita, which refers to “a padded or tied mattress”. First examples of quilting can apparently be traced back to the First Century; the technique has been used to produce a thicker and stronger form of fabric, which was used for protection and warmth. In addition to the above applications, traditional quilting techniques have also been used to create forms of art. Quilting is also not unique to certain cultures – many examples of quilting are found in various cultures across the globe.

Now let us take a brief look at how the practice of quilting can be linked to Integrative Life Planning (ILP). According to Hansen, the “quilt metaphor can be used to convey many messages and (can be used) to offer an idea of how to weave together the personal, the professional, and the practical”.

As with all things in life, we need to consider the quilt on multiple levels. Firstly, quilts can be seen to represent the global context – big picture – within which large-scale change has become the standard. As the ILP approach spells out in some great detail, these global changes are seen to impact on individuals, groups, families, communities, nations, as well as the entire globe.

A second level at which we need to consider the quilt, is in terms of the world of careers, which includes career management and career development. In a previous series of seven articles, the need for new approaches to career management and development were indicated; these changes can be represented by the quilt metaphor, due to the high degree of change observed in terms of knowledge and knowledge management.

A third level at which the quilt metaphor can be considered, is to say that the quilt represents the ILP approach itself. In blogs to follow, we will be taking an in-depth look at the six critical tasks associated with the ILP model. In the final analysis, these six critical tasks are to be integrated with the intention of creating a new and meaningful whole – the opposite of the high levels of disintegration seen in societies of today.

The final level at which Sunny Hansen looks at the quilt metaphor, is to state that it represents the pieces of her life. This is in fact true of everyone – our lives consist of (almost) enumerate facets, each significant and important in its own way, and in one or the other way connected to one another. The manner in which we live our lives is indicative of how we view and fulfil the various tasks and roles we choose; it is also part of our developmental challenge to find ways through which we can optimise these various facets and how they are or may be inter-related. As promised, the blog will be providing detailed information and guidance in terms of the ILP model – so please check back and make comments or ask questions!

(Based on the work of Sunny Hansen: Integrative Life Planning: Critical Tasks for Career Development and Changing Life PatternsDescription: http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=bal06-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0787902004).

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