Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just Stop It!

...or, Did Anything Really Change?

I was sitting in a diner with a friend this evening, talking about the things that we allow to fuel our feelings of sadness or happiness. She is a recent college graduate and has not yet found a job in her chosen career path. She feels uncertain about the future, about where (in which country or state) she will live and what she will do. Sometimes, she is doing fabulously, thinking about her bright future, focused on actualizing her dreams. At other times, she feels lost and wonders about her ability to navigate her world. We were talking about some of that this evening, and I wondered: What internal changes prompted her change in response? What changed?

From Not Knowing to Knowing
My husband had to tell his personal assistant that she no longer had a job due to whatever companies say these days. As far as he was concerned, she was doing a great job. Last week, she was feeling comfortable. This week, she is not. What changed?

From Genius to Globally Delayed
I look back on my journey with Jaedon. Being my first born, I had no prior frame of reference; everything he did was amazing. He started staring at his toes and fingers at 3 months, and didn't stop for years. I thought he was incredibly smart. "You are going to be a scientist, the way you are studying those fingers!"

Jaedon could find the pivoting point of any object and set that object spinning for seconds, no matter how irregular its shape. "Amazing!", I thought.

Then, a few months later, I was introduced to the idea of autism and all the related jargon. Looking at his hand became 'posturing' and 'stereotypical behaviors'. Spinning objects became 'perseveration'. I moved from amazed to depressed. I started telling Jaedon "Stop looking at those hands! People will think something is wrong with you!" It was no longer amazing or smart to me. What changed?

Jay improved so much between the time we originally tried to get an assessment at 22 months and his official assessment at 30 months, that I went into the Kennedy Center full of optimism. He was looking people in the eyes, going over to people with interest, playing with toys... This was amazing!

When I read the report they wrote about him, I wondered "which child are they writing about?" He was what? Globally delayed in all domains? Moderate to severe autism according to the CARS rating? I was devastated. What changed?
I allowed someone else's voice to be louder than my own internal voice (a bunch of unhelpful beliefs there). I threw out my voice that said, "This is wonderful", and substituted a voice that I had given authority, a voice that said, "This is horrible."
My son was exactly the same boy that I was awed by just 24 hours earlier; yet, I had embraced something completely different. Once I gave up my own voice, everything started changing all the time. My whole frame of mind and my perspective all depended on whom I spoke to and the credibility I gave them. I would then replay their voices over and over in my head to firmly establish their unhelpful thoughts in my mind. What changed?

Back to the Diner
My friend seems to be doing the same thing I did with Jaedon and all my advisers. Hopefully, she will talk soon to someone who gives her a chance to explore her beliefs and find her own answers. Tonight, I was not that person. I just told her to stop it! (see the link in the title...I know, but watch it, hilarious!)

I guess I was really talking to myself. Honestly, why should I give up my own voice, my own good feelings, and place higher value on the thoughts and feelings of others? It just results in me embracing negative beliefs about my life and situation. No! I decided not to do that anymore and encouraged my friend to do the same.

OK... maybe I will gift her a dialogue with Iris, just in case my Stop It! didn't help.

Amazing Me, Amazing You
I've decided to look for new opportunities in every life happening. I can find ways to help my son, who is amazing, communicate more effectively, just as I can find ways to help my 'typical' children do so many other things more effectively. In both cases I can celebrate their existing amazingness while moving happily towards their future amazingness. No need to motivate myself with fear that they aren't really as amazing as I thought, or, that I'm not as amazing as they need me to be.

I can maintain my idea that I am amazing, that my husband is amazing, that my kids are amazing, that you are amazing, even if external things happen that I may not like or want, even if others tell me otherwise.

My wish for you is that you will do the same (no dialogues required), no matter what comes your way.

When you hear a new opinion, receive a new assessment, finally get the news, remember, nothing has really changed.

You are still the amazing you that you were yesterday!

PS, Please enjoy this inspiring example of alternatives to the dialogue.

2 comments:

  1. Faith, I loved reading your blog this morning. It was perfect for me.
    Just yesterday, I received this kind of bizarre email from an old friend whom I haven't seen in a while and who has been a bit cool towards me. I've done a lot things in the past to help him out, and there are things that I'm still doing for him that he's simply forgotten about.

    Anyway, his email was full of accusation, innuendo and posturing and so on. The list went back a couple of years and the note was even a bit threatening.

    The thing that took me by surprise was that my friend is someone who strongly advocates authenticity as the best way to go. And yet, unless I misinterpret his email, he's been stewing about some of this stuff for quite a while.

    Last night, based on the fear and animosity of the email, I pondered simply stopping doing the various things I've been doing behind the scenes to help him. Realizing the extent of the impact doing so would have on him and others I dropped that line of thought pretty quickly. Still, I woke up feeling unresolved on what to do next.

    Reading your blog this morning was perfect. Essentially, I just got a new assessment of my friend, but in fact, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. Everything is as it was, I just have new information. I can continue to love my friend and to support him. Though, with the new information, I am tempted to tell him to simply STOP IT!

    Thank you for impeccable timing!

    Teflon

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  2. Been there, explored that choice Tef, tempting that it is.

    Then, on giving myself time, the simple question, what can I do, will I do...the answers, options, seem to magically appear. My sense is, having followed Stuart Wilde for many years, is that we are surrounded by playful benevolent spirits. The more we learn to be fearless, open, appreciatively loving of this, and to receiving stimulation, increasingly loving, effective answers/options seem to magically 'appear,' or become 'clearer,' the initial oportune fog of puzzlement tends to dissapate.

    Coupled with this is my growing awareness of the uncharitableness of my attempting to tell anyone what to do, and the joy of simply being an admiring observer, always looking for something of the stimuli, to value and to be grateful for. (smilingly, I thank YOU for stimulating my wonderment, and my love for you) bw

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