New Beginnings

Emma suggested I write about “new beginnings and offering ways to practice tolerance and hope for those who despair.”

I asked Emma what she suggested to those who are in despair.  She typed, “Best to give despair less space.”

“Yeah, okay.  How do you suggest people do that?” I asked.

“By filling the mind with all the beauty that is life,” Emma typed.

Yesterday Emma, B. and I talked about what happens when one becomes overwhelmed and how this is a human response, no matter what the neurology.  Overwhelm and feelings of not being able to cope are things all people feel from time to time.  We discussed different ways people try their best to cope: taking a break, taking a nap, acts of kindness, identifying all one has, gratitude, helping others, being alone, quiet, taking a bath or a walk, being in nature…

Emma described her feelings of overwhelm as, “my mind becomes jumbled and louder.”  Her words certainly resonated as this is exactly how I feel as well when everything seems too much and feels more than I can cope with.  Then Emma typed, “there should be practice before it gets too jumbled.”  This then led to a discussion about meditation and how those who meditate regularly call it “practice” because it is something one does daily and can help when “the mind becomes jumbled and louder.”

At the end of a lengthy conversation Emma typed, “I do want to try meditation.” And so we will.

The Buddha with Merlin

The Buddha with Merlin

25 responses to “New Beginnings

  1. I was first introduced to meditation in high school as part of a martial arts class and found it really helpful in calming the noisy (okay, mostly angry) parts of my mind. I hope Emma finds it helpful too. I’d love to hear her thoughts after giving it a try.

    The cool thing about all those years of practice is that these days “practice” just happens when I’m out walking the dog or wandering through the woods or riding my bike.

  2. I love this…
    I think H does this a bit when he is behind the camera and able to pull away from overwhelm and refocus on small exquisite things. He intuitively gets this – but you both have me thinking about the ways this is similar to meditation (or walking meditation).
    The connection here might be a good way to bridge and explain meditative practice – to see if there is interest for H.
    Thank you for the sparkly glimmer.

  3. Emma is very wise when she says to give despair less space and to focus on all the beauty that is life. She is quite an insightful person.

  4. I love meditation. I should really do it more often because it truly helps calm and energize me. Let us know how it goes, and what you and she thinks of it!

    • I smiled when I read “I love meditation.” Most of my friends and I complain bitterly about how annoying it is to sit there, how we immediately start thinking of all the things we should and could be doing instead… All the more reason why meditation is critical!

  5. Happy dance!

  6. I just recently came to your blog through TPGA. TPGA posted a blog piece from Emma’s Hope Book. I am a parent of children with asd and a teacher in early childhood education. I was recently speaking with a friend who has a son working as a paraprofessional in a classroom of autistic students. My friend spoke of a child who was being aggressive and violent towards staff, himself and other students. My friend’s son is overwhelmed by the child’s aggression and I provided some online resources; Emma’s Hope Book being one. I was combing through your site trying to find a piece I read(throughTPGA) about aggressive behaviors and a list of reasons/situations/experiences which could cause a child with autism to respond with aggressive behavior. I could not find the blog post. Can you help?

    • Hi Michele,
      I don’t know which one they posted, but I did a series on this topic. The comments from so many who do not use spoken language, but can type, AND those who can speak and type were so generous and very, very insightful. Really, it is the comments that are most important to read, though I did my best to use the comments within the body of the posts, and tried to include the comments that came to me privately as well.
      I’ve listed the links from the last to the first. So if you want to start at the beginning read the last link – When Upset Turns Violent – first and end with – On the Topic of Violence. “On the topic of violence” includes a lengthy comment from a non-speaking man in his early 30s that I found incredibly helpful, though, as I said, all the comments were pretty amazing.

      • Thank you Ariane.This is so helpful. Providing the links will help me get to the topic and comments quickly. Then I can share them with my friend’s son. I always read the comments. Yesterday I decided to read all of your blog posts. I’m starting from your first post and will work my way to the present but I’m sure I’ll skip around a bit. I think reading a few posts in the morning after the boys have left for school and before I head off to work is a great way to begin my day. Your posts lift me up. Your words about your daughter and Emma’s writing have been revelatory.

        • Oh I have such ambivalence about the beginning of this blog… do remember we were in the “must do anything and everything to take away the autism” mode. It was not until March 2012 that I found Julia’s blog and everything fell into place. Also you’ll see all that I DON’T say about some of these things, but say later (sometimes). Mostly, I think you’ll hear the desperation and fear…

          • Well, I was there too. It seems only human that parents would go through a time of mourning and wanting to find a cure. And given the major media misconceptions, the pseudoscience practitioners and a large so called autism advocacy org spewing fear what parent wouldn’t feel this way. It’s only through a few friends, autistic adults and blogs such as yours that my always present but often struggling “see the glass half full” side has taken over “the glass is half empty” side of me. So thank you again. 🙂

    • Michele–There is also this post from the We Are Like Your Child blog, written specifically for this purpose:

  7. As a behaviour interventionist to children on the spectrum, I absolutely love your insight and wirds

  8. And so will Merlin, apparently! 🙂

  9. I’ve had a very despairing day today, so Emma’s words couldn’t have come at a better time to cheer me up. And I love cats, so the picture helped too.

  10. Hello beautiful ladies! Have you come across Transcendental Meditation? I heard about it through a stress conversion seminar. You may find a centre close to you. I think they offer five lessons to get you started, with a trained pro. A little video intro…

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