Making a list and checking it twice…three times…four times…
How many times a day do we rush around trying to get everything finished that we have on our list? Whether that list is in our heads or we have written a list of things to do today, if we were to really examine it, we would recognize a human being was not meant to sort out everything on our ‘list’. One of the lessons my son Connor constantly reminds me of is to BE in the moment. Early on after his diagnosis of Autism, I tried my best to continue doing everything on my list even though I had to add many more things to do given therapy appointments, doctor’s appointments and trying to keep my home clean for the barrage of people coming into our home for home therapy. I can feel an overwhelming sensation at the thought of all I thought I had to keep up with back then.
Connor would fight me every step of the way when I tried to rush him. Certainly I could have tried to make him but anyone who tries to make a child do something, especially a child with Autism, knows it is not fun for anyone. I knew I had to figure out how to handle him without struggle or physical force because I could not imagine me going through this with a 15-year-old who was stronger than I was. I could not understand why he was being so difficult, why did he fight me when I had things to do? Doesn’t he know how busy I am? I have two other children besides him, doesn’t he know that? I have a husband I want to take care of and to know he is well taken care of by his wife, doesn’t Connor know that? We have a home that needs to be taken care of, doesn’t he know that? Obviously Connor could not recognize this stress I was under or he would acquiesce to my discomfort I was feeling and showing and not fight me, right? WRONG! That was not how it was meant to be. The more I tried to get things done, the slower Connor’s pace became. Finally, finally, finally, finally I gave up! I threw my hands up in the air and surrendered to this child. What else could I do at that point?
I began to slow down…..because I had no choice. I was making myself crazy and felt powerless over this child and his tantrums, his persistent nature, his insistent nature, his blessed non-conforming persistent, insistent nature and he wasn’t about to back down. And what did I notice when I slowed down and began going with the flow, following his lead, allowing him to show me what was so wonderful about slowing down, doing what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it?
I began to notice……how lovely the breeze was as he climbed his favorite tree. I began to notice the ease he felt within his own being. I began to notice how calm he became when I no longer pushed against his being. I began to notice more about this child in those moments of calm we shared together than I had noticed in the first year and a half of his life. There was a reverence about him, a calm about him, a sense that he was fully aware of his well-being. He knew without second guessing how to command balance of his body as he climbed, no words were spoken in that time we shared under his favorite tree yet I was filled with so much knowing and understanding that went beyond words. In the big picture the list of to-dos does not mean a thing. This child was trying to show me a different way of being, they are all teaching us a new way of being if we take time to listen and observe ~