Thursday, March 17, 2011

Perspective

Uncommunicative or communicating with everything?  Thoughtless or thinking about other things? Developmentally disabled or brilliant? It's all about perspective.  I'm not saying much today because I'm giving you time to watch this video done by an autistic woman exploring her interactions with the world around her.  Most of my musings may seem random I you haven't watched the  video, so please, hurry and waatch it.  I'll be right here when you get back....

I've been using the video to train some new volunteers in Jay's home program and the discussions that have come up!  I was really moved when one of the ladies commented that people who perceive as Jay does are seen as healers in her native culture. 

This past week, my in-laws were visiting with us.  They haven't seen Jaedon since last May when we visited them in Jamaica.  My mother-in-law was effusive about how changed Jaedon is.  Now, according to my perspective, he may even have regressed since they saw him last.  The sleep challenges seem to have gotten worse, and he seems to be on speed or a related upper.  His speed is focused on his current passion: food.  By 11 a.m. I'm winded from the chase.  From her perspective, however, he is much more sociable, he is playful and teasing with her, he responds what she says, even when she is setting boundaries (previously, she said, he only responded to me), his movements seem more fluid, and his demonstrated understanding of what is being said is off the charts.  WOW!  I hadn't really seen much of that.  Our perspective determines what we see.

Bigger than all that, the video helped me see again the beauty in each person, a beauty that isn't defined by their capabilities, a beauty that is made up of everything to do with that person, every quirky, unfamiliar to me, strange thing.  It's a beauty that doesn't fade, even when they don't any longer do something that they used to do.   I reflected last week that emotions are thoughts.  Actually, thoughts and our representations of those thoughts are varied and wide.  Who then can say whether someone has thoughts or not?

Sometimes I judge my own thoughtfulness.  I hear old voices yelling my stupidity.  Although I may want to think differently about something in the future, I thought, and it's a beautiful thing.  As I think about judging myself as thoughtless, I recognise my own judgement on others.  Thinking thoughts that are different from mine has somehow become aligned with stupidity.  Is this any different from those who would challenge my son's thought life and suggest he is mentally retarded?

I get to chose my perspective everyday.  Today, I chose curious engagement, over knowing all the answers.  What perspective do you choose?

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