There are so many layers, spheres, processes and containers to the human experience right now. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been moving in and out, up and down and all around trying to make sense of things, make sense of your life, who you are, who you’re not. In some moments, you’re feeling more aligned and grounded than you ever have, and then, before you know it, you’re questioning so many things, maybe questioning everything! If you’re a parent, then this can be incredibly amplified. And if you are a parent of someone with special needs, then ‘amplified’ might not even begin to capture your experience.
We’re all swimming in this soup, and we are all exactly where we’re supposed to be.
For quite some time now, I have felt the desire to share with anyone who wants to hear. That time feels like it has arrived, and so, here we go….
For the past 12 years or so, I have had the honor of working closely with individuals living with special needs. The majority of these people have a diagnosis of autism, and their bodies are heavily impacted by their autism. While I technically fill the role as ‘therapist’ or ‘teacher’, the reality is that these children and young adults have been the greatest teachers of all. Through our work together, they have taught me some of the most profound lessons that life has to offer. Their teachings are taking shape in our world now, holding their ground stronger and more pronounced than they ever have before. Now, the entire world has the opportunity to start to understand the message that I was initially exposed to 12 years ago: when everything else is stripped away, all we have is ourselves and each other. The ways in which we relate to ourselves and each other is paramount to all else. People living with autism and other special circumstances urge us to learn and to return to the basics of human connection, relationship and interaction. Their healing process can begin when we show up fully in this manner, and the reality is, that is how we can all begin to heal.
What does the word healing really mean? It is used so often, and I find myself getting lost in the ambiguity at times. We are human beings, which means we are here on this planet at this time to learn. Learning is healing. If you are healing, you are learning and growing, and if you are learning and growing then you are healing. For me, there is no end to the healing process, so long as we are living as a human. Everyone’s healing journey is different. The healing and learning paths of individuals living with autism is just as diverse as that of those not living with autism. None of us are ever truly “done” or “healed”. That in mind, we can reach deeper, more informed, compassionate, peaceful levels of ourselves and each other as we do this work. As many would agree, healing is not without challenge. In fact, healing is FULL of challenge. We cannot grow without challenge; it is in how we meet these challenges that our learning, our healing, can continue to unfold. This is true for all of us, with or without autism.
I believe people living with autism know the power behind the fundamentals of human connection, and are here to remind us of just that. Sometimes, from an outsider’s perspective, that might not seem to be the case. Here are some of the challenges they may face: spoken communication, maintaining a still, “controlled” body, sustaining a regulated pattern of movement like walking or running, engaging in what is considered a ‘typical’ social interaction, or remaining safe while interacting with themselves, others, and/or the surrounding environment. If you live with, parent and/or love someone impacted by autism, then you know that these challenges are challenging! They force you to dig deep within yourself to find compassion, empathy, love, trust, understanding, humor, empowerment. These challenges are part of their healing and their learning and their growing, and they can only meet and rise above these challenges if we can meet ours: truly connecting with ourselves and each other in the most compassionate of ways as we persevere through the difficulties of life. Their growth depends on ours, and ours depends on theirs. While we are trying to help them begin their healing, we are, in reality, beginning to heal ourselves, to learn, and to grow more compassionately in time of challenge.
And so I come back to my original point, in this dynamic, who is teaching who?
These lessons that I am describing are available for all of us, all of the time, and especially now. It is the thread of the human experience. It is our healing, our learning, our work, our growth.
I want to dedicate ALL of my love, compassion, empowerment and gratitude today to the children, young adults and families living with autism that I have and haven’t met. I am here FOR you, because of you, and to serve you.
Thank you for you. Remember, it is in love that we learn.
More to come on this. It is only the beginning. Please reach out with any thoughts or questions that this sparks for you.