Wednesday, June 1, 2011

With autism... you simply can't fake it

I have a new belief about the world our son lives in for most of his days. I believe that he has a keen ability to experience the thoughts people have as a conversation between minds. In the same way that you and I might have a casual conversation about the weather. He simply hears what we are thinking about the weather and then adds his thoughts assuming we can hear them the same way he hears ours. As I observe David while holding this belief my entire experience changes fostering a uniquely different connection.

A portion of this belief is built from my belief about genetics. My entire life I have had what is sometimes referred to as a "sixth sense". Strong intuition is a term preferred by the spiritual non believers. For me it is simply how I experience the world differently than others. I am highly observant so my scientific side believes that I simply put all those observations together quickly and draw conclusions. The fact that I am able to this more quickly and accurately than most results in my ability to "read" people. Sometimes I simply feel or sense what a person is experiencing in their lives. If I trusted this "sense" completely, I might conclude that I am actually hearing the conversation that is happening in the minds of others. The subconscious conversation happening clouded by what an individual might be currently focused on. For example, when you have an argument with a loved one that nags you all day although you don't verbalize it to anyone. Given my ability to tune this sense in or out given my own focus allows me to operate in this world as a "normal" person. Although some my argue the definition of "normal" especially when it comes to me.

So now, imagine a child who has that same gift, an inability to regulate his focus, and a challenge with spoken language. Why would anyone work so hard to talk when they learn and know so much more by not talking. How many of our thoughts do we filter when translating them to spoken language? My aha moment came on a day when I was doing a lot of filtering. Allowing myself to be stressed out to the point of worry between my work, rebuilding our home, recharging David's program and a bunch of other daily stuff that simply needed to be done. I spent a good portion of the day faking complete command over all my accountabilities but that nagging stress continued to challenge my heartbeat and the chaos occurring in my mind. I tucked David into bed, whispered goodnight, and turned to walk away. The moment I turned, the absolute love and tenderness I felt for David quickly transitioned to the laundry list of things I needed to do before I would be able to fall asleep. In that moment, David whispered in the most angelic voice, "don't worry".

In that moment, I finally understood why so many spiritual masters talk about living an authentic life. Many who practice authenticity describe a freedom and happiness that most never experience. David experiences authenticity always and is just about the happiest kid I know. How about we all try a little more authenticity this week.

Love to all,

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