From the birth of her first beautiful daughter, a unique child with special needs, Marianne Disipio began a personal journey that transformed her professional career. It led her to expand her areas of interest from traditional work in Occupational Therapy to a passion for family wellness grounded in soulful nature-inspired interventions. Her life purpose is to help unique families, children, and individuals, not only learn how to cope with unavoidable challenges, but also dare to find calm and meaningful beauty in the face of adversity.
In 2006, I gave birth to my first beautiful girl. I knew before she was even conceived, that she was going to join our family, and be unique. My deceased grandfather had visited in me in a dream and told me so. I could tell by his tone and soft smile, that he was trying to warn me that it would be a mixed blessing. Upon waking up from this dream, I was left with a feeling that this was meant to be.
On March 28th, my daughter with special needs came into this world with the greatest peace I have ever witnessed. Her arrival was written in the stars, and now the time had come for my soul to take on a new purpose for this lifetime. I felt gratitude about having a degree in Occupational Therapy, as I felt confident in knowing how to address my daughter’s needs. There were no coincidences! I found strength in my beliefs.
Feeling the Reality of Isolation
I would be lying through my teeth if I were to say that I did not experience bouts of extreme sorrow. At various stages of my daughter’s development, I felt overwhelmed by the huge sense of life long responsibility for this precious being. I felt a terrifying lack of control to assure her with a positive outcome. Loneliness also crept in, as I often felt unable to relate to moms of typically developing children. My daughter was often excluded from play dates and parties due to her differences. The heartbreak I felt was suffocating. Although we always celebrated her successes, I quickly came to realize that my happiness could not be directly dependent on how well my daughter was doing. I needed to look outside of myself for help in how to cope with a situation I could not change, and would be present forever.
Renewing Joy and Moving Forward
And so, I turned to the great outdoors! It was not a conscious decision, but the wellness effects were powerful and transformative. My main medicine became being in the presence of horses, which happened by chance. This was so effective for me, that I adopted 3 of my own, and moved my family to a beautiful wooded area outside the city.
The other things that helped were using materials in nature to create beautiful pieces of art. I used this alone time to work through many difficult emotions, only to feel triumphant at the end of my projects.
My husband and I also decided to strengthen our family values by choosing to pursue our own active healthy lifestyle outdoors, as opposed to trying to keep up with the Joneses. It now feels like magic is present in every aspect of our lives!
Building Resilience with Art & Nature
The difference in my life now is not that I don’t feel sadness or stress. It is that I now have personal resources that can help me cope in difficult times. I have included things in my life that provide me with such joy on a soulful level, that I can better weather the storms that roll into my life.
I don’t like my life, I love it!
There will always be storms. I know this by the very nature of my child’s disability. Will I ever get depressed in the future? Chances are I will. But just maybe, I will get through it with greater ease, and find my way back more efficiently.
I hope to help you do the same… Connect. Create. Move. Renew.
Marianne Disipio, Family Wellness Practitioner, B.Sc. OT, CWC, CEH