Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What if........

I was recently reflecting on my thoughts and feelings the week our beautiful, amazing, sensitive, baby boy David was diagnosed with autism. Having been a psychology major in school, I knew what the books said about autism and I was scared. Upon reflection, I realized that I wasn't even sure I knew why I was scared, but fear replaced all my emotions. I remember sitting on my neatly made bed surrounded with pillows crying about the friends I imagined David would never have, the experiences he would miss, the teasing he would endure, and the family memories we would never create. As I think about it now, tears roll softly down my cheeks. They flow in a trickle of kindness and love that I never knew I had inside me for a life I never knew I needed. A flow far different than the wild and jagged stream of water rushing down my face three long years ago. Captured in these tears is a reflection of my journey. A journey that has not only transformed me and my family but one I believe will transform the world.

What if........ What if instead of autism needing a cure, autism IS the cure. The cure for world hunger, war, poverty, global warming, and every other world issue that seems so incredibly challenging to us today. I began to contemplate this possibility the day David started eating again. After seven days of not eating a single bite of food David looked up at me with those big beautiful brown eyes and said "waffle". After the waffle he asked for a hot dog, and then a cookie, and then two apples. Completely oblivious to the fear and concern we had as a result of his 20% bodyweight loss, David ate everything he wanted to, asked for his binkey and blanket, and slept peacefully for the night. The next morning, he was back to his playful, giggly, happy self. He was playing, talking, looking at us, and smiling more than ever, common challenges for a child with autism. After this experience, I thought about the group of parents from around the world that I web chat with who also have children with autism. I remembered that when Robin, another little boy about David's age stopped eating, the webposts were full of love and encouragement from other parents who had similar experiences. I began to imagine that all these well nourished children in the world were trying to show us that they have more than they need and that they would love to share to their nourishment with the world. Finally, the cure for world hunger!

For anyone who has spent quality time with a child with autism, you know the many gifts they bring to this world. Those of you familiar with the autism treatment program I run with my sun, understand the idea of joining these special children in their unique worlds to lead them back to ours. Here is a new thought to consider... "Join the world of a special child, learn all that they have to teach you from their world, and then together, come back to our world and apply your learnings." Through my journey, I have decided to believe that autism was specially designed by the universe to save us from destroying our world in the ways we have been for decades. If we really learn from children with autism and apply those learnings, we would very quickly change the world! Here is what I have learned so far from David:

1. Expectations created for someone are useless if they have not created them for themselves.
2. The more you try to control, the less control you have.
3. Differences foster learning, sameness stops it.
4. We have infinite potential when we do what we love.
5. If I only take what I need, there is plenty for everyone else.
6. What you judge in others is what you fear in yourself.
7. There is no collective reality.
8. What you do today impacts tomorrow but it doesn't define it.

If you haven't been blessed with the gift of a special child in your life, find one and learn from them. Our world depends on it! All my love, Kathy

1 comment:

  1. Kathy, thanks for the incredible thoughts presented so beautifully. Your line... "They (the tears) flow in a trickle of kindness and love that I never knew I had inside me for a life I never knew I needed." hits such a cord with me - you have expressed exactly how I feel about our life with our son Elliot. Your thoughts remind me of a poem our team member Chet wrote to Elliot.. here it is...

    Dear Elliot,

    I had a dream last night

    it might have been a dream about me

    it might have been a dream about you

    I don't know that it makes a difference.

    I was sitting at a table in the middle of a playroom.

    It could have been your playroom

    or maybe mine

    I don't know that it makes a difference

    One hand was holding a coloring book open

    the other was working with a crayon.

    I didn't give a damn about staying inside the lines

    because the colors were beautiful.

    The door opened

    (it was a very predictable shade of brown

    not at all the kind of door that should be in such a vibrant place)

    and you walked in.

    You were just a little bigger than you are now.

    You came right up to me and looked down

    because I was sitting on the floor

    with my coloring book and table

    (which was the same boring brown as the door

    what's up with all these bland colors?)

    You started talking.

    I forget what you said

    But your voice was confident

    and your speech was clear

    your brain was making ideas

    and your mouth was giving them to my ears

    who told my brain what your brain had made.

    Without a hitch.

    We clicked like puzzle pieces.

    You communicated in a way that anyone

    who spoke the same language could understand.

    You locked eyes with me

    and didn't once look away.

    I might have seen crystals spinning in your irises

    or maybe galaxies

    I don't know that it makes a difference.

    You smiled wide and were at home in your body.

    You were, of course, still autistic

    but no one could tell.

    Then I noticed that the walls were

    all white and undecorated.

    There were shelves but there were no toys

    no books

    they were empty.

    The whole room was empty

    except for you, me, the table, my crayons, and my book.

    Because you didn't need a playroom anymore.

    And neither did I.

    That part, I know, makes a difference.

    And I didn't go tell Mom & Dad

    because they were used to seeing you

    function like this.

    You did it every day.

    Mom could talk to you about anything

    and Dad could take you surfing.

    And you could still show them whole universes

    with the simplest things.

    Commonplace phenomena.

    That part makes a difference, too.

    And then I woke up

    and felt something bigger than myself move across the skin of my soul.

    I went out into the world we try so hard to get you to see.

    And saw that your world is better.

    In this world there are slaves

    and we kill each other for money

    and we've made weapons that could murder us all.

    Your world doesn't have bullets

    Your world doesn't have hate

    Your world doesn't need forced labor to get to the diamonds.

    Your world is better.

    Elliot, prince of kaleidoscopes,

    little shaman of the vortex,

    you don't need this world.

    But this world needs you.

    Love,

    Chet.

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