We are all born with an inbuilt need to connect with other humans.
Unlike many of our animal kingdom cousins, humans are born – and remain for a very long time – intensely dependent on the adults in their world to care for them and look after them.
Because of this, we crave the continuous knowledge that we are safe.
The baby who cries when you put him or her down does so because to be put down means you might get left behind when the hunter-gatherer tribe moves on to the next set of fruit trees.
The baby who only sleeps when it’s close enough to it’s mother’s breast that it can smell the milk does so because to be separated from it’s food supply means certain death.
And the baby who kicks and flails whenever it’s having its diaper changed does so because the nervous system is so underdeveloped that it becomes completely overwhelmed by the enormous amount of sensory stimuli assaulting it’s brain all at once.
Before we can learn anything else, we have to guarantee that we will survive – that we will be safe.
I’ve thought a lot over the years about why it took so long for us to realize that we were a family on the spectrum, and here are at least a few of those reasons. In our family, autism is the norm. That’s true not only in our immediate family, but among a lot ofContinue reading “When It Runs In The Family”
I spend most of my days sitting down in my wheelchair … Or sitting with my legs up on the couch … Or sometimes sitting in my racing chair. But it turns out that motion still makes a big difference to how I feel. How I think. How I relate to my world. Motion isContinue reading “Motion”
The idea of forgiveness can be very difficult for many people. It had always been drilled into me that it was important to forgive, and I would screw up my eyes and try hard to forgive those who had hurt me, but it rarely seemed to make much of a difference.
Then a couple of years ago I ran across a book by the Rev. Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu, called, The Book of Forgiving: The Four-Fold Path For Healing Ourselves and Our World. And I figured that since Desmond Tutu had grown up under the horrors of apartheid as a black South African, and overseen the Truth and Reconciliation commission there, he might have something of value to say on the subject of forgiveness.
So many people tell me that choosing rest feels selfish.
In the face of kids or partners or bosses that need us; in the face of bills or financial goals that keep pestering; in the face of housework or volunteer responsibilities or the constancy of social media, it can feel selfish to say, time-out!
Fatigue is a part of most people’s regular experiences. It affects people who deal with mental health issues like depression. But it can also take on a whole new dimension when dealing with chronic pain, disease or disability.