Language Translation

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Social Grace

I recently went to New York.  While there I saw "Wicked" with my good friend, Cecily.  It was such a fun experience for me.  I worried that the energies flying around the auditorium might be too much for me.  With the exception of the symphony, I have rarely been in a packed auditorium without being on the stage - the extra energy was great because it just gave me a little more while performing.  But sitting and watching is so different.  I rarely patron the theater, mostly because I've been afraid of what it would do to my ability to stay grounded and balanced.

Then the play started.  I have a hard time turning off the "symbolism" button in my brain.  It is always there and no matter where I am or what I'm doing, I just see things, always.  So as it began, I related greatly to the main character.  She is different.  She is odd and it is apparent to everyone that there is something about her that is so very odd - so much so that they fear her and will not allow her to be close to them.  Then she is kind of thrust into a friendship with someone who is willing to consider a different view.  They end up close friends.

As I watched this, I felt so drawn into the story and the emotion was so powerfully true to my life that I was beginning to feel overwhelmed by all of the emotion.  Cecily, as always, knew just how to help me and I was able to stay and enjoy the rest of the show without having a complete meltdown.  She is good like that. 

Anyhow.  I learned a couple of things.  It takes a lot, I mean a lot of conscious effort, but I am able to step away from the symbolism and see things on the surface like others do.  It is really hard though.  It is hard not to see how everyone and everything is connected.  I'm learning though.  This play was a great exercise for me.  It may sound silly, but something Cecily whispered made a huge difference.  I already knew this.  I knew it clearly, but the connection between brain and heart kind of was lost for a minute.  She said, "Tara, it isn't real.  There are a lot of things that you see that are similar, but it isn't the same thing.  There are a lot of things that are different.  It doesn't mean this is the way your life is going to go just because you see a few things that are how your life has been."

It took a minute for my brain to translate her words, but once I did, I realized what she was saying and what she was seeing.  I was so caught up in the emotional connection that I forgot that I was watching something that was completely fictional; that this show was meant to have similarities, that's what makes it successful.  But there is nothing that says it is a prophecy for those of us who may relate to the characters.  Well, duh!  Right?  It is so funny how my brain has such a hard time keeping the reality on the forefront.

So what I've learned from this experience about how my brain works differently from that of my NT family and friends:  The story may be fiction, but the emotions are reality.  If you know anything about metaphysics, you know that emotions have substance to them, actual form.  They are more dense than wavelength but are not as dense as matter.  They are something of substance and they are not kept within our bodies.  They come off of us, some people (like those of us on the spectrum) are more sensitive.

Now.  Try to see from this angle for a moment.  I am picking up the emotions of all of the people in the audience.  Excitement.  Disappointment.  Frustration.  Exhilaration.  Boredom.  Tired.  Interest.  The list goes on and on in that large of a setting.  Then there are the emotions of all those involved in the show.  Backstage is rushed, stressed about keeping things moving, worried about the bloopers and how to adjust the props to fit the changes, lighting and music queues, etc.  Orchestral members were frustrated with some of the things...I'm not sure what, I was trying to not sort it all out.  I think the conductor was upset about something.  Anyhow.  The orchestra was struggling with feeling like a group.  Then there were the actors.  Frustrations with their voices not being what they wanted them to be.  Times when the audience didn't react where they expected it and because they've done it a million times, the air was popped out of the balloon.  Then the audience did react where they weren't expecting it and again the actors felt a little off.  There was so much emotion coming from the stage that was incongruous with what the character was supposed to be feeling.

I was also picking up on many of the things Cecily was feeling, but I'm not going to share those things because that is personal and not mine to share.

Then we come to my personal feelings.  The story was a surprise to me - I knew two of the songs from the play, that was all I knew about it.  I was surprised by how much I related to it emotionally.  So my personal emotions were very heightened.  Then I felt bombarded by everyone around me.  I felt lied to because what the actors had in their hearts was different than the lines and the songs.  Sometimes they were in character enough that it felt honest, but most of the time I was trying to tell myself that I was okay and no one was lying to me.  No one was breaking the rules.

Bless Cecily's heart for leaning over to me and just saying "It's not real...."  We talked a little during the intermission and that helped as well.  I am happy to report that by the end of the play, I was able to completely separate from the situation and just enjoy the show.  That was quite an accomplishment for me.  :)  The separation was hard to do until I quit thinking about it.  It's like the Tao te Ching expresses - when we are trying to think about or name something, it escapes us.  When we are just being, it comes flooding into us without any effort.  Or, I should say, without any effort at grasping it.  The effort is there.  It looks like opening and accepting rather than chasing and reaching though.  There is effort, it is just an effort to be open, to accept, to be rather than to do.

Now.  To my main point.  There is a scene in the play where the socially-outcast main character finds herself in an all-too-familiar awkward situation.  They are at a dance and she is being gawked at as she flops around, trying to dance.  Her counterpart, who had been ornery to her, felt badly.  She reached out to the main character and showed her the same movements she was making and did it slightly different.  She showed her the grace and flow that would make her movements rather lovely.

I feel like that is what people in my life do for me, especially my friend Cecily.  They show me that what I'm doing isn't too bad, it just needs a little finesse, a little grace.  I've learned that, while it takes a lot of very conscious effort, I can learn to come across as normal.  I can learn to be less offensive and less blunt.  I can learn to not step into others' personal space and to be aware of social queues and body language.

I am capable of being like everyone else.  I don't want to be anymore though.  I don't want to try to do things the way my NT family and friends do.  I wasn't made that way and it is so much effort and work to do that.  It causes so much stress and work and frustration in my life.  I learned, by watching "Wicked" with my dear friend, that I am not only just fine the way I am - quirks and all - but I am meant to be this way.  I may not have social grace.  I may not be the most charming woman you will ever meet.  I probably will never be easy to live with or be around.  I will definitely never stop asking a million questions or being curious about all people and things around me.  I will never lose my passion for religions and culture and customs.  I will never stop being fascinated by the connections between different belief systems and cultures and the individual.  I will never stop LOVING the word "why" - ever. 

This isn't pride - not even in a good sense.  This is acceptance.  This is opening and letting myself be instead of do.  It's interesting that in the moments I am able to do that, I am able to do all of the things I had been trying to do for years and years.  I learned that by accepting me and just being me I actually do have social grace.  Imagine that!  ME!  I can do things properly without thinking and running through the millions and millions of variables that could be considered.  I can just be.  How happy is that?!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Balancing the Chakras

*This is a blog about my own life and my own experience.   If you choose to follow anything written here, you do so without any claim on me for problems or complications that may arise.  I am not a doctor.  I have no degree.   I am not a professional.   This is my perspective and experience, that's all.  If you don't think you should do something on here, then don't.*

I have had many comments and questions about one subject that I have been hesitant to address in such a public forum.  But the same topic keeps coming over and over again.  So, before we go on, know that this is a very age-sensitive topic.  I do not want to embarrass anyone, and I certainly hope no one is offended by this topic.

I receive somewhere in the neighborhood of 90-150 e-mails every week that pose the same basic problem: My child is touching him/herself in public.  My son/daughter is gyrating in public and all the time at home, what do I do?  How do I teach them this is inappropriate behavior?

First, let's talk about the gyrating.   This is usually, not always, but usually a sign that his Sacral Chakra is out of balance.  His Root Chakra could also be a contributing force behind this.  But let's start here.   The Sacral Chakra is the second energy center in the body.   It relates to sexual and creative energies, as well as relationships that are intimate and affectionate but not sexual (such as a parent or a sibling or a dear friend).  It also concerns the basic emotional desires and needs of a person.

Second chakra – Sacral chakra – Orange chakra - Swadhisthana



So now we are left again with our problem.   Well.  There are many things you can do in the home to help him balance this chakra so that it is happening in private and not in public.   There are many exercises to balance this chakra as well as music and art.  The art will tend to be based around the color orange.  There are as many physical exercise videos and musical compositions as there are personalities.  You can find many different forms on YouTube, there are app downloads for the iPhone (I'm sure for other phones as well), there are books upon books upon books about the Chakras and how to balance them.   There are a few differences here and there, some use slightly different shades of color or use a different tonic key and so each succeeding key is off because the tonic is not correct.  Generally I stay away from the trendy, "Americanized" versions of Chakra balancing and look for links on YouTube that are more basic videos and the overall feel of the music is more Asian than anything else.

There is a movement therapy that I can never remember the official name of, but I know it is used by OT's all the time.  They have the child lay down and then move them from the legs or the hips or the ribs, etc.  The idea is to get the body to relax enough that you are able to move him without any tension being felt.  This kind of therapy is very helpful for getting the energy in the Chakra centers flowing again.   It is very beneficial for the Sacral Chakra since most of the movement is based around loosening up the hips and the lower part of the trunk.

Something else that could be a factor is your child's neurological age.  If he is physically 14, but neurologically he is 3 or 4, there will be a lot of problems with this.   His body is still experiencing the chemical changes, but his mind is still in the curiosity-let's-find-this-out mode.  That means he is more likely to experiment with what his body can do and will not at all be ashamed about doing it in public.  It's like a new trick, like discovering that his finger fits perfectly into his nostril.   For him it is the same kind of thing.   Just as you will see a young child with their finger up their nose in public, you are going to see children who are teenagers, but neurologically much younger, "discovering" their bodies - often in public.  You will probably react the same way any mother would react... "Honey, don't put your finger up your nose.   Use a tissue."  Well, he's not putting his finger up his nose because it needs to be cleared, he's doing it because it is a new tactile sensation and he is discovering his body.  So, to him, the idea of a tissue is absurd.  His finger is there to feel, not to clean out.

So.  What can be done about it?  At this point, very little.  Except to continue to help him understand that it is inappropriate to do certain things in public.  He'll get it eventually.   And if you take the time to explain to those in your circle, they can help buffer and protect.   Just as they would tell him to quit picking his nose.  It isn't much of an answer, I know.   But I hope that you can at least see this from a different perspective and understand why he is doing it and why he just doesn't get that it isn't okay.  Especially if you tolerated other behaviors in public that were discovery behaviors for him...he will not understand why those discoveries were okay and these are not okay.   The best thing is to help him understand as much about his body as you can when you are at home and in private.  Then he will hopefully have less curiosity in public.

*This is a blog about my own life and my own experience.  If you choose to follow anything written here, you do so without any claim on me for problems or complications that may arise.   I am not a doctor.  I have no degree.  I am not a professional.  This is my perspective and experience, that's all.   If you don't think you should do something on here, then don't.*

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Empowering Families to Heal Themselves

Today is the first installment of who knows how many "how to" posts.  I am going to try to take this one step at a time and still have breaks in between for those who just want the informative posts.  So these posts will probably every other post or so.

Everything that I do is about one thing: Helping families heal and mend, whether they have special needs members or not.  As I work with a variety of families, I learn new ways of healing and I learn to see different aspects of the process from different angles.  What I write here is my view, my angle.  It doesn't make it the angle.  The principles are true principles though, and they are true for all of us, not just me or people on the spectrum or friends and family of people on the spectrum.  They are principles based in eternal truths, unalterable truths, truths found the world over - no matter a person's race, religion, or gender.  That is because truth is truth.

Which leads me to the first point.  Each of us has had experiences in life that have taught us how to be and how to act.  Sometimes those experiences are based in eternal truths.  Sometimes those experiences are based in situational truths.  Sometimes those experiences are based in complete falsehoods.  No matter what they are based in, we form belief systems from those experiences.  If the experience is a situational truth or a falsehood, then our core belief systems will be incorrect and we have a skewed view of every relationship and interaction.  Yes, I do mean to use the word every.  I know that is quite a claim, but it is truth.

I would like to give you some examples that might help to illustrate what I am trying to say. 

As a child, I remember waiting for my diaper to be changed.  I had lain down so mom could begin, only to remember that she had forgotten a washcloth (this was in the days of cloth diapers).  She went to get the cloth, but did not come back for quite sometime.  There was a fight amongst my older siblings.  Mom went to take care of it.  Then she forgot why the washcloth was in her hand and set it down as she realized what time it was and she needed to get dinner started.  Much later the phone rang.  While she was on it, she sat down on the couch in the living room and saw me, still on the floor, waiting patiently for my diaper to be changed.

I have one vivid memory of this happening.  My mother told me that it would happen frequently, and said something about how nice it was that she didn't have to worry because I would just lay there and not move until she came back.  From an adult perspective, yeah, that was great!  Who wouldn't want a child to just lay on the floor, diaper open, and not have any mess to clean up no matter how long it took you to get around to things?  That's really great!

But as a child, whether it was truth or not, I developed a belief system from that experience.  Now, before I go any further, this is why I can qualify saying things like all and every.  No matter what parents do, there are things that will happen in the lives of their children that will cause them to develop a false core belief.  It has nothing to do with whether or not it is eternal truth.  For that child, in that situation, it is truth...thus the term "situational truth."

Anyhow.  The core belief I developed from that experience told me that I was the least important person in my mother's life, that I mattered less to her than anyone else on this planet.  From that developed the belief that if I mattered that little to my own mother, then there could not possibly be anyone else on this planet who would ever just love me for me.  It began a lifelong push to do for others constantly - first, because I didn't feel like I was worth anything unless I was contributing a lot, second, because I felt like my contribution (when I was able to help someone or give to someone) determined my value or worth.

I began to determine my worth by how many people I could help and give to.  It took me until about 3 or 4 years ago to realize that this core belief was there and that it was a false belief.  Of course I mattered to my mother, but only my head believed that, not my heart.  That is when the "why game" I spoke of in an earlier post came into existence.  I had to know why I was feeling the way I felt.  Why did I feel so very worthless to everyone around me?  Looking at my relationships from the outside, people were interacting with me and seemed to want to be my friends, my family looked like they loved me.  But my core belief said that I was worthless and in order to preserve the illusion, everything (and yes, I mean everything) was interpreted in some way that could reinforce that core belief.

Once we have decided something is truth, we generally fight tooth and nail to preserve that "truth" - no matter how false it may be.  I have found that the more false a belief is, the harder I fight any view that does not align with it.

So here I was, my mother dead so I could not ask her how she felt about me, and feeling rather hopeless about the whole mess.  (This was before I figured out the Why Game.)  As things progressed in my life, I realized there had to be something done.  A good friend of mine was instrumental in my refining the process that will allow changes to occur.  I had already had quite a bit of the process figured out, but there were a couple of pieces missing that were helpful.

One day I just began exploring the emotions.  I didn't know what else to do.  There was no one there to walk me through this process and I couldn't just sit there and feel this way.  Looking at the emotions, after a time, I became curious and fascinated with them.  I learned that asking "why do I feel...." really helped me understand it a little more.  But I had a problem.  I was using my head to speak for my heart.  That doesn't work.

This is where my friend came in and was very useful.  Usually I would catch myself when "going into my head", but sometimes I wouldn't.  It was really nice to have her there and say things like, "You're thinking too much.  Get out of your head."  Or something to that affect.

A few hours in I hit the core stated above.  To my core I believed I was worth less than every other person on this earth.  That realization stung, deeply.  Then my friend asked me if that was the truth.  Was I really worthless? 

"How do you know?"
"Because I just do.  My heart tells me that is not the truth."
"Then what is the truth?"

I then began to say what my heart felt was the truth.  It was rather weak and through tears.  She asked me to repeat it.  And again.  And again.  About 7 times I spoke the truth.  Each time it came out in different words, maybe a few were similar, and each time it became a stronger and stronger conviction within me.

It was replacing the lie with the truth that was crucial.  Without that, I would have just felt even more helpless knowing why I felt something, but having no way to understand it.

Now.  What I have said up to now is truth, but it is not the complete or all of the truth.  You may stop here if you wish, but there is a little truth that I wish to share.  However, it may be something that many of you disagree with.  I do not wish to offend, but for those who have an open mind, I would like to tell you all I know about this, and not just the portions that are safe to tell because they are portions that everyone can agree with, no matter their views.  I realize we are all of different cultures, backgrounds, belief and religious systems, etc.  If you disagree with me, please do so peacefully and remember that this blog is intended to bring healing and hope and love into your life. 

While listening to a lecture from Pardes at Jerusalem, I learned that in ancient Judaism there was a tradition known as "Giving a Crust."  They would pull the bread out and cut off the thinnest slice of the crust they could manage.  This crust was thrown down to the ground and became the food for the pests and bugs.  It kept them on the ground and the rest of the loaf was safe.  If the crust was not thrown down, then the rodents and insects would come up to the bread and eat from all over it and the entire loaf would be ruined. As long as the crust was thrown down, the loaf was whole and safe to eat.

Symbolically, if we learn to apply this principle to our lives, we learn to be a whole person.  Each of us is a loaf of bread.  Each of us has two sides, the natural man and the spirit, or the ego and the true self, or the eternal and the mortal....whatever you relate to.  I will refer to them as the natural man and the spirit because those are the terms I am most accustomed to using. 

If the loaf of bread represents each of us, then the natural man is the crust and the remainder of the loaf is our spirit - or our true self.  The natural man must first be cut away from the loaf in order to be thrown down.  But how do you know how deeply to cut unless you can define the line between the ending of the natural man and the beginning of the spirit?  This is where questioning everything you do and think and feel comes into play.

You react to someone.  As soon as you think of it, pause and ask yourself why you did what you did.  Don't settle for the first answer off the top of your head....the top of your head is the natural man 100%.  It's not always a bad voice to listen to, but when you are trying to discover your true identity, it is the worst voice to hear.  Keep going, asking questions of yourself until there is a shift from blaming others to seeing your own responsibility in the situation; or seeing where you viewed things askew from the reality of the truth. 

Once your spirit has a voice, however faint it may be, continue to ask questions until you find the core, similar to the above mentioned.  But here we bring in a power beyond our own.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ is what allows this shift possible.  Whether or not you recognize His power or even His existence, does not change where the power source is.  There is something that allows the energy exchange to take place.  A power that is in existence outside of time and space.  It is a power that can transcend all walls, barriers, and blocks - but He will not step in unless you invite Him to.  He will not force His way into any heart, any life.  If you open the door upon which He knocks (your heart) then He will enter in and He will heal you.

Back to giving a crust.  By clearly defining the difference between your natural man and your spirit, you learn what each voice sounds like.  This allows you to recognize when other things are coming in from somewhere else.  The voice of Satan, the Holy Spirit, the voice of the Savior, the voice of the Father.  It also allows you to be more keenly aware of other voices, those you are closely connected to emotionally.  This is where understanding your children/spouse/friend comes in.  We all have the ability to do what I do.  Every person, if they will open their hearts and begin to feel and sort out the difference between the influences around them, can do exactly what I do.

As you learn to separate the crust from the loaf, or the natural man from your spirit, you will learn so much.  You will be able to see clearly.  Your life and the way you saw it will be redefined in so many ways.  Your definitions of all of your words will change.  You will say the same words, but they will mean so much more and will have a level of depth that you may or may not be capable of verbalizing.

You will come to a point that you need to face that one, big core belief.  The one that terrifies you because, if it isn't true, then you will wonder who you are and if anything in your life was true at all.  It will make you spin and feel frightened and confused and so many other emotions.  You will see where all of your interactions were tainted by this one belief system and how it caused so many of the problems in your life as well as so many trials in the lives of those you love.  It is a very sobering view my friends, a very sobering view indeed.  It was very tempting for me to fall into a black hole of despair at that point, the view was so sobering.  I felt hopeless and helpless.  It felt as though the darkness was about to engulf me and swallow me whole.

At this point you have a choice.  You can try to put the blinders back on, try to pretend you didn't see what you just saw.  Or, you can plow ahead.  You can finally give up, recognizing how truly hopeless we all are without God.  Because, believe in Him or not, He is the power running this show and in the end, all of us are brought back to one question over and over again.  We may harden our hearts.  We may step away from it.  We may deem Him an archaic belief used to placate terrified children, or a silly old fable good for laughs.  But at the end of the day, truth is truth.  If God is not, then we cannot be.  There is not time for me to go into the reasoning I have behind my very adamant statement, in the affirmative, of His existence.  Maybe I will do that one day, but not right now.

For now, all that needs to be known is this:  You cannot truly be open in your heart until you learn to give ALL of your heart to God.  You cannot give all of it to Him if you are harboring a small corner of it somewhere for safe keeping.  He must have all of you, or you are not all His.  If you are not all in, then He cannot heal all of your heart.  He can only heal the parts you give Him because He will not take away your agency, your right to choose to come to Him or to choose to walk away.  He will stand with arms outstretched, longing for you to come into them.  But He will not tackle you down and wrap you up.  That would be taking from me the one thing that is not His, the one thing that truly belongs only to me - my personal will.

Once I offer it to Him, Oh MY the miracles that happen!  Then, as Isaiah testifies, "at an instant suddenly" all of those things which were harbored in my heart become His and I am freed from them.  I am released from the burden of those things without being deprived of the lessons.  His Atonement makes this miracle possible.  I can think back on the things I have done, the burdens that were mine, and they are no longer burdens.  They have become experiences, wonderful experiences that have taught me and continue to teach me so much.  The burden is His because He wants it.  The joy is mine because that is His yoke.  I get to experience life and He gets to carry my burdens and leave me with only the good and the light.

So my point in all of this?  You must give your whole self to God if you would truly be healed...and by giving your whole self, I mean your whole heart.  And you do that by opening it up to Him, in a conversation with Him.  Tell Him how you feel, why you feel, what you feel.  Talk with Him, out loud, to Him.  As you tell Him, He will first listen and then invite you to learn when you are ready.  This learning will give you the sight needed to let go and to see things as they really are, as they really were, and as they really are to be; it allows you to see truth, eternal truth.

He is waiting to heal you, won't you give Him the chance?  Once it happens, you will begin to receive all kinds of feelings and thoughts and impressions that may seem odd at first, but you know to trust that voice in your heart, the one that is left once the crust is thrown down.  So trust your true self, your spirit, that has a clear connection to God.  Trust this voice and learn to define when it is your spirit and when it is the Holy Spirit that is speaking.  Follow this voice and you will watch miracles unfold moment by moment every day of your life.

Friday, September 2, 2011

"Why are you laughing?!! THIS IS SERIOUS!"

I remember being scolded for laughing when I was young, and often.  It was very common for me to laugh or giggle at a lot of things.  But the thing that was most frustrating to my mother is that I would laugh when she was upset at me for something.  I would giggle to myself when she was scolding me.  It got to the point that if I had done anything wrong, she wouldn't even waste time with words anymore, because words were too frustrating.  She would just spank me and tell me not to do that again.

Depending on the severity of the thing I had done, her spanks ranged from a slight tap, to a bare-bottom beating.  The more I laughed, the harder she hit and the more frustrated she would become, which would make me laugh all the more.

I laughed for a lot of reasons, as I said.  But laughter when I had done something wrong - well, I'll tell you a little of how I was feeling inside when I would laugh.  At first it was laughter out of nervous agitation - knowing I had done something wrong, not quite sure what it was, and knowing that mom was really upset at me.  I picked up on her energy.  Her emotions were overwhelming me and I was scared and nervous and I didn't know what to do, but I had to do something to release some of that angry, frustrated energy that was pouring over me.  So I laughed...or giggled usually.

As the scene escalated, I became more and more agitated, more nervous.  I was not capable of doing anything but laughing because what she was feeling was so hard to bear and I had no other way to get out all of that emotion then and there except to laugh.  When I think back on those experiences and close my eyes, I can still feel the tension and anxiety and........and..........GGGEHHGHCK! (for lack of a better word) oozing out of my heart.

Whenever I felt all of those things, it made me feel like I needed - no, had to laugh.  Not because it was funny.  Not because I didn't know how angry my mother was and how much trouble I was in.  I laughed because of all of that darkness building up in my heart.  I needed it to get out or change, it was painful and would instantly cause a meltdown.  (Yes, laughter can be a meltdown.)  Because I was so very connected to my mother, more than any other human being, her emotions were as strong as (and sometimes stronger than) my own.  There was nothing that overwhelmed me faster than my mother's anger directed in an undiluted stream at me.

I don't think I put two and two together until just now, but I realized why it was so hard coming from mom and would cause an instant meltdown.  I always picked up on everything my mother felt.  It was not overwhelmingly intense usually.  I think the reason it was overwhelming when I had done something wrong is that it was aimed directly at me.  For one so young and with so little life experience, her anger with all of her perceptions and baggage from her 40+ years of life was like a laser stream of rage pouring directly into me.  It was like that anger had all of my older 9 siblings and their mistakes plus all of my mother's years of growing up and the anger from her all piled up into this massively painful rage searing my heart and ripping me into a broken mess.  So I laughed because crying wasn't extreme enough, and I doubt that I could have cried, even though I may have wanted to.

I don't know how to explain that the laughter was the most positive and fastest release of the toxic pain.  I could have screamed, but that would have just intensified the negative emotions and made them stronger.  Laughter weakens them, changes the negative to positive, and allows me to feel like I can still breathe.  The more angry my mother got, the harder I laughed.  It was not a conscious thing.  I was not choosing to laugh.  I was choosing to survive.

So, long story short - my laughter was because I wanted the death-ray of anger to change before it consumed me.   My laughter was a meltdown.  Plain and simple.  I knew how serious it was.  I could feel it.  It was as though my mother hated me more than any of my siblings.  I know in my head that she didn't.  But when my heart was forced to feel so much anger from her, it made it very hard for me to believe her when she told me she loved me.  I felt her love.  I knew she loved me.  It's just that the feelings coming off of her when she was angry were about 6-10 times more powerful and intense than the feelings coming off of her when she was sharing love with me.  She didn't love me as fiercely as she was angry at me - or so I interpreted.  Not because it was truth, but because of the emotions she accessed.

When she was angry, once that part of her heart was opened, all of the anger for everyone came out and was dumped on whomever was unlucky enough to open it.  When she was pleased with me and loved me, she was only thinking about the emotions she felt towards me and not everyone.  So her feelings were not of the same magnitude.  I interpreted it to mean that she disliked me far more than she liked me.  That's sad.  My poor mom.  I wish I had known how to tell her these things so that she could have explained to me how she felt.  I wish I had been able to let her know that I understand now and that it's all okay.

Here's the thing with all of this.  When mom was angry - there was nothing held back in her emotions (again, I'm speaking of the ethereal, not the physical...she definitely exercised quite a bit of self-restraint physically).  Those emotions allowed her to be open and poor out everything that was negative.  Now, when mom was happy with me, her heart was still partially closed because there were other things in it that she was either unaware of or didn't want to deal with.  Because her heart was fully accessible when she was angry and only partially accessible when she was happy, it lead me to believe that the anger was really how she felt about me.  Not the love.

So what can you do?  First, let your heart swim in love when you feel it.  When you feel love for your son or daughter, while sharing that love think of ALL the people in your life that you love.  This will intensify the feeling of love coming off of you and it will help counter-balance the anger.  When your child does something wrong, step out for a moment once you've stopped the behavior.  Just breathe and try to diminish the anger.  If you cannot, then try to have the presence of mind to explain to him that there is more than just his actions this one time tied up in your explosion (again - ethereal explosions are what we feel, not the outward of what you show).  Let yourself be open enough to at least explain that the entirety of what you are feeling is not his baggage but your own.  And when he keeps laughing - try to remember it is a meltdown, not a sign of disrespect for you or the situation.  A laughing meltdown is the most serious meltdown.  It means that what is going on is harder to handle than anything else, I can't just release it, I have to be proactively changing it while releasing it or I cannot handle the level of darkness in it.

There is hope and there is light at the end of this though.  It does not mean that you're doomed to vomit your darkness on your child.  As you learn to open your heart fully, in the moments of joy and gladness, you will learn to release the things that are being harbored in your heart.  Then the dark times will become less intense and the light times will be exponentially increased.  Having a heart that feels is important.  Having a heart that knows what it is feeling is even better.  Having a heart that knows and feels will heal your family and your home.  It will create a safe haven for your child and the rest of your family.  Yes, to get to this level takes work....a lot of work!  It is a lifestyle change unlike anything you've ever done before.  But the joy on the other side of this situation is so worth the work required on this side of it.

Opening your heart is sometimes a scary never know what is in there or the things that are hidden deep down; the things we are ashamed to admit.  So, at the end of the day, it is facing those fears head-on and letting God show us His path for healing that will change everything for us.  If mom heals, then the whole family can heal.  If mom hides, then the whole family is doomed to repeat the cycle which will, more than likely, be intensified.

So how do you heal?  Well.  Now that is something I'd love to share with you.  Truly love to.  I think my next few posts will begin this process.  I've tried to write it down several times, but it seems like each time I sit down to do it, I am forced to put it aside for one reason or another.  I think it is time though.  So I will try again.

In Isaiah chapter 6, the Lord had just given Isaiah his call to become the prophet.  The Lord told Isaiah to make the heart of the people other words, to speak truth to them and let them take it as they would.  They were not ready to come to understand what it was God wanted to say to them.  So God told Isaiah to speak the truth: "....lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed."  (Isaiah 6:10, in part, emphasis added)

So, in telling Isaiah "lest they," God has told us how to heal.  We must see with our eyes, hear with our ears, and understand with our hearts.  If we will do those three things, we will "convert and be healed."

Great!  So, how do I see with my eyes, hear with my ears, and understand with my heart?

You know, that's a perfect question.  We'll talk about it in three parts over the next little while.  First, we'll discuss what it means to see, then what it means to hear, then what it means to understand.  Once we get that, then we'll pull it all together and discuss the how of it all.  So have hope.  You are not doomed to ruin your special children.  In fact, it's a blessing that they are special.  Remember how I told you that when a child reaches certain ages, they are no longer able to learn things easily?  Well.  This is true of unconditional love as well.  If your child feels loved unconditionally by you before he reaches the age of 14 or so, then he will understand love from not only you, but others and God.  If he is older than 14, then it is still possible, but it usually takes a stranger who loves them unconditionally - someone new in their life.  Here's the great news for parents with special needs children...this is based on neurological age, not the physical age.  So, even if your child is 50, but is neurologically only 14, it's not too late to prove to his heart that you love him unconditionally.  YAY!

See you all soon.  And here's to hoping that "soon" will bring the help you desire for yourself and for your family.