Breathe. Remember to just breathe.
When did life get so overwhelming? I had it all planned out. I did everything in what seemed like the most logical, most efficient order. I had some semblance of balance and control. Or at least, I thought I had it. The ups and downs were just that, the ups and downs. A rollercoaster that I could ride and weather and tolerate and work with. Then the autism happened. Then the rest of it happened. And at some point last year, something funny happened to my mind.
Now I have to remind myself to breathe. I find tools for meditation. I take special vitamins [read regular over-the-counter multivitamins, not “special vitamins” in any other sense *wink*]. I seek out specialists for all the different parts of my life because no one person is big enough anymore to find all the answers I need. My son has no less than 10 “experts” following him at any given time. He has been “under the microscope” since age two. And the most common reactions to the rollercoaster dips and turns on his developmental path?
“Still a puzzle…”
“We’ve never seen that before…”
“Sometimes this [insert therapy, intervention, medicine or food of choice here] actually has the opposite effect to the one we predicted…”
“Well, in the end, it’s really the parents who know their children best. You do know your son, don’t you? I’m sure you’ll find the answers. …Ma’am? Did you hear me? You do know the answers, don’t you? …Ma’am?”
That’s where I space out and tell myself again to breathe. In and out. In and out. Just a few more minutes of breathing and the amazing answers to the autism puzzle will come to me… (Dr. Such-and-Such will you please stop waving those expert resource lists in my face, can’t you see I’m trying to meditate here?!)
I suppose I shouldn’t be amazed, but I am continually astonished by the amount of energy it takes to live this life and raise my child. Not that I’m chafing all the time, mind you. Many days I am quite content with being busy, running the marathon, even putting out the spontaneous fires that erupt periodically. It hasn’t killed me yet, so I can only assume it’s making me stronger. Still… remember my six word memoir? Astonishing endurance.
For that reason, I’ve decided today between breaths to share with you all one of my very favorite new-found resources for managing stress and unlocking doors to a healthier, happier existence. The website is www.tarabrach.com (“meditation, emotional healing, spiritual awakening”). The book is “Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.” The author, Tara Brach, is a nationally known teacher of Buddhist meditation and a clinical psychologist with over 35 years experience helping people live healthier lives. I invite you to dive on in and see if anything resonates with you. The writings, meditations and links have been wonderful resources for me.