Space of Love
Understanding the Power of Thought and Wisdom in Living with Autism
By Gayle Nobel
I was helping my son in the shower this morning. It was very early and I was feeling a bit grumpy about having to be awake and busy at 5 AM.
As I settled into the tasks, I found myself dropping into the present moment. The grumpy feelings began to pass as I remembered that moments very similar to these inspired my poem titled Space of Love. This poem eventually became the title of my third book on living with autism.
My son Kyle, an amazing soul who happens to have autism, still lives at home at the age of 34. He needs a lot of assistance with many things, hence our daily meet ups in the bathroom for shower, shave and grooming.
I wrote Space of Love when I realized I had something very important to share with the autism world. I had seen something deep and powerful that I couldn’t unsee.
In one of my stories I pose the question, “What if the stress and strain you feel isn’t coming from the condition of autism, your child’s behavior or challenges, or the obstacles in your life?”
At this point the reader might respond,“What? Of course it is. My stress comes directly from autism in the form of worry, fear, and exhaustion. It comes directly from my child in the form of behavior, learning challenges, extra parental demands, etc.”
I gently invite the reader to look in a different direction. To understand that there is a powerful force at play between a situation or condition such as autism and our personal feelings and experience of it.
This force is a formless energy called the gift of thought. Thought energy is a constant hum within us. We hear bits and pieces in the form of mind chatter or personal thinking but much of it is deep below the surface of our awareness.
Thought is the paint that creates our experience whether it be happy or sad, stressed or relaxed. It colors the lens through which we view life and literally paints our separate realities. We can’t have a feeling without thought because thought creates feeling.
So autism will be autism. My son may still need help in the shower every morning. And my experience of all of that will change as the energy of thought flows through me. I am crabby one moment and grateful the next. I might experience showering my son as an obligation or a Space of Love.
Thought is quick and slick. It shows up uninvited. Fortunately, it is also fluid. Therefore my feelings and my experiences are fluid. Thought needs something called consciousness to bring it to life and create the movie of our experience.
There is comfort in seeing my experience is created from the inside out, not the outside in. This means autism doesn’t need to be fixed for me to feel okay, even great. The implications of this are incredible and vast.
Simply getting a tiny glimpse of this understanding has the power to completely change our experience. As the outside world may appear static and unchanging, there is comfort in knowing “this too, shall pass”. While it might sound cliche, this is exactly the nature of thought. Like the water in a river, it is always in motion.
As thought begins to settle, we begin to settle too. From that space, there is room for wisdom to slip in. Wisdom comes in the form of insight which is brand new thought or a sense of knowing we may not have seen or known before.
For me, that might look like a bright idea on how to help Kyle be more independent in the shower. Or maybe an inkling that it might be time to get some help with this task. Something fresh and new occurs to me that couldn’t make its way to my awareness when my personal thinking was revved up like a marching band.
Similar to thought, the gift of wisdom or intuition is a powerful energy. It seems to spring from within yet at the same time, it is, in essence, the spiritual energy to which we are all connected. It is part of the same energy that grows a human in the womb or a flower in the garden. Wow!
In understanding the gift and power of thought and wisdom, we may start to sense resilience is part of us, as it is only one thought away. We strain less, and listen more.
In seeing this, we begin to know that peace and grace are available to us on the most challenging journeys, including the one with autism.
Space of Love consists of stories and poetry. Here’s a sample.
A child with Autism
When you tell people, they seem sad
a momentary gaze of pity crosses their face Beyond compassion, sympathy perhaps
Life gave you a lemon, say their eyes “He’s so handsome though”
Something to deal with
An obstacle to happiness and a good life
Something to reframe
Put a new lens on the glasses
from which you gaze out into your world
Make the best of it if you can Squeeze that lemon, add sugar Make lemonade
The only way to make it okay
But what if …
the lemon-ness of autism is not real but made of thought?
And our experience does not come from our child, his behavior, his autism but from lemony thoughts.
They create our lemony experience.
What if we have the ability to allow the energy of thought to float through, knowing there is something new that will come along?
Something sweeter at any moment in time
Nothing to do but wait live
The transient nature of thought creates the transient nature of our experience
We can see something new without effort
changing our child
No squeezing of lemons because lemons don’t exist
They are not solid like the ones on my tree They are made of the formless energy of thought
A relief to know I don’t have to fix my son, so handsome
or my experience,
Or make a single glass of lemonade