Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More on acceptance, Nakedness, part 2

Accept, then change. It seems that we humans can be awfully resistant to change when imposed upon us by people who don't accept us as we are. Embracing's way better than just accepting 
That was part of Teflon's comment to my last post about nakedness.  I thought back to my earlier forays into accepting autism. At that time, it was a breath of fresh air. I didn't have to resist my son, I could accept him. I could hold him to my bosom, love him for who he was in that moment. It was liberating! I genuinely accepted him and fell in love again. He was delicious to be around. It definitely helped that everyone thought he was the sweetest thing, a pleasure in almost every way. So what if he did socially inappropriate things like flapping his hands or spinning plates and didn't talk.?He was still adorable.
I later realized that my acceptance in that moment was static. My inner programmer says my acceptance function, Faith.AcceptsJaedon(), was designed in a very limited way. It only accepts very few parameters as input. If I run Faith.AcceptsJaedon() with any of the following input: flapping, eating limited variety of foods, pre-verbal, echolalia, rigidity, and a few others, it runs well. Aggression, nakedness, eating non-foods, not wearing pull-ups are all inputs that detonate Faith.AcceptsJaedon(). Not very robust at all. Who knows what else grinds this system to a halt?
I also noticed that acceptance was not the end game for me. I'm sure it has its own value, but at that time, it was being used as a strategy for helping Jaedon make progress. As in,

Jeadon.MakesProgress() is equal to:
  1. Faith.AcceptsJaedon() and
  2. Faith.PlaysTheRightGamesAtTheRightTimesWithJeadon().

The second function crashed a long time ago and I've discarded it. So back to this issue of acceptance.

I defined acceptance as could happily tolerate. No grin and bear it for me. No enduring. Happy tolerance. The thing is, I am finding happy tolerance very difficult in the face of simultaneous undesirable inputs. That difficulty has me here, wondering about redefining acceptance as embracing.

I must admit, I have no idea how to move forward with this.  I guess I'm making it up as I go along. Deep down, the idea feels good, right, calming.  I wonder what would happen if embracing became the end game?  What if I dive right and
  • clasp nakedness in my arms
  • cherish, love nakedness
  • welcome nakedness
 I was laughing with some friends as we talked about everyone in my home conducting life naked.  The other 2 kids would need little prompting!  One friend laughed and commented that the strangeness of this reversal would prompt Jaedon to put back on his clothes!

My clothing...I mean closing musings.....Does embracing something mean you have to love the thing?  Then what about the things we don't love? Can I embrace Jaedon's nakedness without loving nakedness, just because I love him? And if I decide to love nakedness, will that impact my willingness to work on a strategy to help him wear clothes? These and more thoughts to come.


  1. Faith, as I read your post, it occurred to me that the challenge isn't one of acceptance, but instead in the conflict that can arise when we accept things that are incompatible.

    We often think about acceptance from the perspective of living on a desert island; we isolate that which we struggle to accept, look at it deeply and from all angles, and come to a point of acceptance. This approach gives us a deeply rooted form of acceptance.

    The problem is that we end up being able to accept multiple and completely incompatible, things, situations and people. In isolation, it works. Bring them together and poof!

    So, I guess acceptance is necessary but not sufficient. It seems that once you've accepted all the colors on your palette, you still have to paint. Otherwise, they tend to run together on their own.

  2. Faith, I will. Didn't want to go too long in my comment.

    On the other hand, Iris (being ever practical) made a suggestion that was simple and elegant. After reading your posts on nakedness, Iris said, "I'd just turn the thermostat down to fifty degrees. Clothes might become really appealing."

  3. Iris's suggestion also falls under the Brilliant category :-).

    Thanks for your two posts on this topic, Faith. I have a thought that might be along the lines of what Mark said (to be confirmed once he elaborates). You may have hit on it yourself when you mentioned that your initial acceptance was 'static'. The way I define acceptance, it is simply full & clear recognition of what has (just) happened, of the stimulus that has just presented itself to us. Past stimuli are not valid arguments for functions like IDoNotWant() or ICannotTolerate(). Repeated attempts only increment the Unhappiness and Powerlessness indexes.

    However, each PresentMoment variable that is not called by HappyPowerfulAction() gets called by DefaultAction(), which typically returns either a StatusQuo or MoreUndesirable value.

    However, (rashly continuing the programming theme), you're certainly welcome to input JaedonContinuesNakedness for the FutureScenario variable. DoIWant(FutureScenario) will return NO, which takes you to the GenerateActionPlan() subroutine and many options thereon.

    So, try splitting Faith.AcceptsJaedon() into two functions, Faith.RecognizesJaedonPast() and Faith.ImaginesJaedonFuture(). For me personally, the first one is pretty robust but the second one needs more debugging.

    1. Sree, let's talk about this more. To spare others the excessive use of the programming theme, I'll email you!


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