Parent of a Special Needs Child by Louise Storey

Louise StoreyMy first child Jack, came to this world against the odds, IVF baby and then born at 24 weeks. Yes and here he is strong and well.

I say well not in the lightest way. When Jack was diagnosed with autism and sensory processing disorder at age 2 and a half, I was thrown into a new world of language and thinking as well as judgement and well meaning.

I have to admit I didn’t really know what autism mean’t and certainly had no idea what sensory processing disorder meant. So I did what I had always done, I researched the web and talked to as many medical professionals and parents / families who also had special needs children as I could. I got myself signed up to parent support blogs (which I now see don’t support but fuel the problems)

At that time it was the best thing I could do.

I loved Jack with all my heart and I truly did the best I could for him, but I was flapping around in the unknown with conflicting ideas, suggestions, fixes, feeling very depressed and isolated. In the meantime as he was getting older and started pre-school, he was also wandering around in a strange world. I was so occupied with finding fixes, thinking how unfair life was for him and us, how resentful and guilty I felt, all these years I wanted a child and now I was so unhappy and depressed in this chaotic world of tantrums, screaming, shouting, isolation from other‘normal’ families. My relationship with my family and husband was so tense, I was trying to control every second of someones interaction with him.

I would have weeks of depression, a blur of days , totally unconnected to the world, self loathing, drinking, blaming. Anyone who knows me, won’t recognise this last sentence as being me. I was so good at putting on a face of coping, happiness and understanding. Underneath I was lost!

My little boy who was already trying to make sense of this strange world, looked so confused when I’d snap at him for not doing something that seemed so obvious to me to do. How lost and untrustful he must have felt… and no wonder, because his feelings were driven by anxious thinking. Thats what he had learned from me. How to be anxious. His challenging behaviour therefore emerged from anxious feelings. He was doing the best he could too in the circumstances.

I had expectations and plans for him, so far removed from what he could understand or comprehend, and of course when I didn’t think he would meet them I was distraught and thought how on earth is he going to cope in this world when I’m not here…this terrified me. So that was then…. and I am now smiling as I read this last part.

My little boy is now 7 at a mainstream school with some teacher support.

Every year he has surpassed everyones expectations. Yes he may have to go to a different school with special needs provision at some point, and that will be fine, I’m no longer fighting what I think he should have, when and how. I absolutely know I’ll know when the right time comes.

The day came when I realised that he was perfect and he was fine and he would always be fine. He doesn’t need fixing.

Just knowing this now has made all the difference to our lives. I can slow down to his pace and really watch him and see whats going on in his world, I was shocked at how little I really understood his needs. When he is in a anxious mood and having challenging behaviour, I know its time to drop what I’m doing and to slow down and see where he is, give him the mental space to calm down and see for himself that there is no need to be anxious. I can’t tell him the phone won’t hurt him or the dryer noise won’t hurt him or that dog in the park won’t hurt him, believe me we’ve tried. He has to eventually know that for himself and with my help he might just one day trust that the phone is actually ok.

Now I’m not dragging him from pillar to post on my timeline or on anyone else’s timeline.. well maybe school…ah and that reminds me..

I remember the mornings of sheer panic and stress in the house, trying to get everyone in the car with hair done, school shoes on, bags packed .. etc…once again I was teaching them stress and boy was I an expert at that…. and no life is never perfect and we still have some mornings like that, but they are the exception now..

We have just had the most precious Summer together as a family at home and on holiday. No major tantrums or meltdowns, in fact we were so amazed at how him and his sister played so well together and bonded like we’d never seen before. The calmness in the house and our everyday lives had settled so much they were able to be calm with each other.

Don’t get me wrong, there are always times of brother and sister fighting in various forms, but what I see now is a life lesson of finding their way through each others emotions in that moment and that these emotions and moods change… rather than wanting to stop the commotion, because I am tired and want quiet.

My daughter and I have a beautiful book we talk about together (What is a Thought – Jack Pransky) and when I’m in a grumpy mood she knows I’m on a cloudy route and if she’s on a sunny route she will ask me if I want to join her on the sunny route… she knows my moods have nothing to do with her behaviour….. and it jolts me into being more present…

I want to share my story, this is something everyone has access to. I’d like to help parents stay together and have a loving relationship with their partners and be able to fully enjoy, love, see their children growing up and be part of their education but in a more gentle and understanding trusting way that will last forever.

 

Louise Storey

www.clearmindacademy.com

The Order of Things

Here’s an out-of-the-ordinary question: What comes first, a situation or a feeling? If you’re a hockey player, for instance, does scoring a goal lead to an elevated feeling state or does an elevated feeling state lead to scoring a goal?

Although our feelings and perceptions of the world outside come and go so quickly that it’s easy to miss, to me the answer is certain: Feeling state first, situation (scoring a goal) second. That is, a situation can’t cause a rise or drop in one’s level of consciousness. One’s level of consciousness is what causes a person to be productive or not; to score goals, or not.

Why is this an important distinction? Because the misunderstanding that happiness or misery is dependent on circumstances is responsible for virtually every problem known to mankind. From poor performance on the playing field, to skyrocketing divorce rates, to wars over territory, to unethical business decisions—all over the world, people are attempting to manage their circumstances in a quest to find a good feeling, always with diminishing returns. I mean, are all rich people happy? Are all poor people miserable? Of course not.

What we need to consider, then, is that chasing external wants requires thought, a lot of thought. And a lot of thought is what causes bad feelings; it detaches us from our own inner wisdom and instincts. On the other hand, grasping the true order of things—how we feel on the inside determines our perception of everything on the outside—is at the heart of our power to create, give back, and consistently achieve.

Here’s a final illustration of life’s rightly order: I once had a golfer tell me that he “loves the feeling that comes from making birdie putts.” So, to his detriment, he became desperate for more of them. I said he had it backwards: “Love comes first; birdies are sure to follow.”

Raw Emotion, Plain Truth

Here’s something fascinating that happens to many of my new clients: When they consider that their feelings are created from within them, and are not the result of something that’s going on in their lives, they say, “Inside-out feels so familiar; so right. Why have I never heard about this before?”

Indeed, that’s what takes place when a person uncovers what they know to be true and, at the same time, starts to wipe away layers of outside-in misinformation or programming. The world will insist that circumstances cause one’s state of mind, but every person alive knows, deep down, that this is not the case.

Here’s something else fascinating that happens when people start to look—I mean really look—in this inside-out direction: They become emotional. As people wake up to the fact that they’ve been vainly searching outside for explanations, when all answers are found on the inside, the pressure immediately comes off and the tears start to flow.

Last week, for instance, I bumped into a friend and his business associate on the street here in Morristown, New Jersey. My friend said, “Garret, tell James about your work.” I briefly mentioned that I teach people that their feelings come from the ebb and flow of thought, and even though it looks like the conditions of our lives can affect us psychologically, they just can’t. Wouldn’t you know it; both my friend and James had tears in their eyes as we spoke. I did, too!

The bottom line is if you want to know if something is true, or not, see if it touches raw emotion. See if it frees, quiets, or makes simple. See if it sparks the wisdom within. How, then, do I know that inside-out is the way human beings really work and that everyone posseses a self-sufficient psychological immune system? That’s an easy one: Teaching this understanding tugs at my heart on a daily basis. And that’s plain truth.

Common Sense or Fear? Our choice.

 

Every time we get new information, we have a choice what to make of it. That choice has nothing to do with the information. It has to do with whether we understand how we bring our own thinking to life as reality. We don’t choose the first thought that comes to mind. But every subsequent related thought and what we make of it is strictly up to us.

fork in road

The more deeply we understand our own spiritual nature, that we are generating our life experience by bringing thoughts to mind and then taking them more or less seriously, the more easily we make common sense choices.

Example:  I am walking my dog as usual and I see another person, also walking a dog, fall down. This is not something I expected, nor is it something I can simply not allow into my mind. So I am at a crossroads. My next thought could be anything. It could be to rush up to help the person; to stay away in case that person is contagious;  to stand there and shout for help; to turn my back on the situation and figure someone else will come along — and so on. That next thought sets a direction. If my first thought was to rush up to help, my next thought might be caution. Or my next thought might be the checklist I know to determine if the person is having a stroke. Or my next thought might be to secure my dog so she would not interfere with the other dog while I was trying to help. And so on. On the other hand, if my first thought was to turn my back, my next thought might be the formation of a justification for turning away, or it might be to decide the person probably tripped and got right up and I spared him embarrassment, or it might be regret for being uncaring, and so on.

We don’t break our thinking down this way, but that’s how it works. We take in information and then we create our own thoughts about it. We do not act on the information; we act on our own thoughts about it. The direction our thoughts go has a lot to do with our knowledge of what is going on in our minds, and the depth of our own recognition that when the train of thought is leading to anxiety, self-doubt, fear or darkness, we can change direction. The types of thoughts that continue to come to mind are defined by the state of mind in which we are thinking. If we are calm and confident, we’ll continue to think of increasingly constructive things. If we are stressed and fearful, we’ll think of increasingly less constructive things. If we don’t like the feeling state our thinking is leading us through, we can change our our minds.

There is one and only one reason for thoughts of anxiety breeding thoughts of fear breeding thoughts of panic breeding hysteria. That reason is upsetting thoughts taken increasingly seriously. For those who understand that their rising levels of tension are being produced by their own thinking, not by events or circumstances, this doesn’t happen. They know they have a choice, and one choice is to pause, let the flow of negative thoughts pass and allow their minds to quiet. A whole different quality of thinking will arise from a calmer state of mind. Vivid examples of this choice arose in my life this past week.

First, I watched in astonishment as the U.S. whipped itself into a state of panic over the Ebola virus because one case occurred in a man from Liberia, where the virus is rampant, and infected at least two nurses in exactly the way we understand this virus spreads, through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person. There is a lot to learn about how we manage health care institutions and how we train health care providers from this case, but there is no reason to extrapolate that everyone in the US is now in imminent danger. But somehow, within days, response escalated into reaction, which escalated into over-reaction, which escalated into national blaming and widespread panic. The increasingly dire thinking about what could happen has spread like wildfire. It doesn’t matter how it started. It spread because people simply are not aware of what they are doing with their own thinking. The first fearful thought brings a little tension, and opens the door to increasingly fearful thoughts and more tension and the race is on. Once people have worked themselves into a frenzy of concern, all common sense is out the window. Unless we know that we have the power to turn it around, our thinking can run wild.

Second, I received the news that one of my dear friends, Dr. Jamie Shumway, had succumbed to ALS after six years of decline. Jamie was a colleague at West Virginia University School of Medicine. He really saw for himself the profound meaning and import of the message of hope I and my colleagues were working to impart: we create our own reality by using the gift of thought to enliven our consciousness of what we perceive as real. When I first met Jamie, he was an irrepressible outdoorsman. He white-water kayaked. He hiked. He fished, He snowshoed. He skied. He was in love with high energy activity. Some years later, he had heart surgery and he had to give up many of his strenuous undertakings. Did he mourn that loss? No, he decided to take piano lessons, and spent hours quietly practicing and coming to appreciate music. He even took part in a recital with a group of youngsters who were taking lessons from the same teacher! He got a huge kick out of that. Just as I was leaving WVU to move to Florida, he began having unexplained weakness in his legs. He served with great grace and wit as the moderator for the beautiful farewell party given for me and my colleague Dr. Bill Pettit, even as he leaned heavily on a podium because he had discovered that he couldn’t stand for very long without support. At that time, he was having neurological tests.

Then came the news, ALS. For the next several years, Jamie did every single thing he could do within his increasing limitations. He moved from a cane to a walker to a wheelchair, but he kept on  going to WVU sports events, going down to the dock to fish, attending parties and events. He continued to work as long as he possibly could. After he retired, he continued to teach, his huge smile quickly helping students forget his voice was strained and his movements very small as he negotiated his motorized wheelchair with the last of his strength. He spent his final months working with a collaborator to finish a book about his life. He died at home. All along the way, he never talked about what he couldn’t do; he reveled in what he still could do, and made the most of it. Even in his last years, many of us had lively conversations with him about the things he had always enjoyed talking about.

He could have spiraled into fearful thinking and regret and recrimination and anger. Certainly, some terminally ill patients facing a long, slow, irreversible decline do that. But he knew how to use his thinking to keep his bearings. He knew how to ignore fear. He knew how to live in the present moment in gratitude for what he had, without wasting precious time stewing about what he didn’t have. He put his energy into ordinary, common sense thinking about making the most of life.

Those who have followed their thinking into a state of agitation about Ebola are not wrong or bad. They are innocently unaware of the simple logic underlying life. We are making up our own interpretations of what is happening and living through them as though they were reality. Jamie knew and felt the power in that. It is a power we all have.

Sydney Banks says it beautifully here:

 

The post Common Sense or Fear? Our choice. appeared first on Three Principles Living.

Anne Marie’s Story – shared by Janet Lindsay

lindsayMy probation officer told me the Simple Truths programme would benefit me emotionally and mentally. At the time I was in a deep dark hole, I just wasn’t able to get out of. I was depressed, I was stressed, I suffered from anxiety attacks and I was taking really strong antidepressants.

I’d been to counselling and a psychologist, and basically they told me I was depressed and to keep taking the medication.

The first time I attended, I thought that it just wasn’t for me.  This woman, Janet, didn’t know anything about my life, she knows nothing about me. I was like a time bomb just waiting to go off. I was sad depressed angry, frustrated. I knew deep down I had to change for the sake of the children, I felt like no-one could help me and I hated being like this.

Janet spoke about Mind, Thought and Consciousness, how could a woman talking about the 3 Principles change my life, but it did.  I began to realise the way I was, was down to my thinking and baggage from the past.  I realised I was carrying all the baggage that didn’t need to be carried.

I emptied all the baggage from my mind.

This group has been my inspiration, I’m a totally new woman.  I’m getting back to being me!  I’ve got my self confidence back, I’m positive again.

I just needed someone to show me the way.

Lisa’s Story – shared by Janet Lindsay

When I started the course I was down and desperately trying to make my ex understand I wasn’t taking him back. It was an awful relationship and I kept taking him back hoping it would work. I blamed him for being in debt and in trouble.

I thought the course was all about common sense when it first started until I met Becky. As I listened to her, it all just seemed to make sense. I really enjoyed the rest of the course, I always left with a light, bubbly excited feeling.

I {now realise} I have no-one to blame but myself for the mess I got in. There is light at the end of the tunnel though:

– My ex has given in, he can’t handle the simplified version

– My probation has finished

– My debts are going slowly

– I’m happy so my children are happy

– We are moving to a new house in a few weeks.

It’s crazy how one thought sorted it all in my head and I changed, so everything around me is changing.

I will be eternally grateful to Debs for suggesting the course, and Janet for running it and Becky for just being Becky. I will never forget the Principles.

 

Shared by Janet Lindsay

janet@jrtandc.com

In Control

Have you ever heard a coach, teacher, employer, or parent say: “Control the things you can control; don’t worry about what you can’t control”? I’ve heard it plenty, and it never felt quite right to me. Just the other day, a well-known productivity expert gave an example of this line of thinking. He said, “You must control your environment or it will control you.” Now that sounds difficult—and ominous.

So let’s simplify things. All you actually need to do to remain in control is this: Understand that your environment has no power. That’s right, everyone’s perception of their environment is based on their own state of mind. A low state of mind produces a skewed, and out of control, perception of one’s environment. A high state of mind produces a clear, and in control, perception. In other words, the same environment will be viewed differently based on what’s momentarily happening inside the mind of the person. The environment is neutral (powerless).

This is not to say that you should never change your environment. But true control means that you do this according to you. Not according to something circumstantial (what someone else does or says). There’s a far cry, for instance, between quitting a baseball team because of a coach and the revelation that another team will suit you better.

Remember, people who understand that their feelings and perceptions come from the inside are consistently level-headed or “in control”—they make sound decisions. People who believe that their feelings come from the outside—just the opposite. Perhaps, then, what we should really do is leave the notion of control alone. Realizing that experience is created from the inside-out is what easily puts you, and not life around you, in the driver’s seat.

The world of wellbeing–deeper feelings – Annika Hurwitt Schahn

Why do deeper feelings matter? They’re the greatest remedy to stress, for one thing.  Stress takes a great toll on peoples’ mental and physical health.  When we tap into the world of deeper feelings, the mind re-sets itself.  There’s a rhythm to everything in the universe – everything moves in a wave-like pattern.  When those waves are stalled in the body by too much sitting, too little movement, we get disease.  When they’re stalled in the mind, we get stress, and over time stress can turn into insecurity,  anxiety and worse.

Your mind is always functioning in one of two ways – its actively going after thought, moving around your personal world of data, analysis, past and future, or its receptively settling into the here and now.  You’ll know how your mind is functioning by how you feel.  When you settle into the present, even for a moment, you get touched by the world of deeper feelings.  You relax, sigh, perhaps notice that the sun is coming out, there’s a beautiful scent of fir trees in the air, or that the silence of that moment holds you close.  When your mind moves back into its more effortful function, that awareness disappears, and your feeling state will be neutral.  If you stay in your perosnal world of thought for too long, you will begin to expereince stress, and eventually various forms of distress.

We Are Always Getting Prompts: Everyone has a core of innate health and wisdom, that sends out quiet thoughts to help keep you on track.  Its that same voice, or thought, that appears quietly in your mind when you’re leaving the house and “umbrella” passes through your mind.  You think, no, its sunny out, and leave without it, only to be drenched in a downpour later in the day.

That same quiet wisdom is giving you prompts all the time about how to keep your mind in its natural rhythm of moving in and out of the present.  When you’ve been hard at work, using your personal world of thought , you’ll have the thought, ‘take a break.’  It’s up to you whether you respect or ignore that thought.  If you listen to it, you might take a short walk, or close your eyes at your desk for a few minutes, or do whatever else occurs to you in the moment to take your mind out of current function and let its return to its natural rhythm of rest and be receptive, then retrieve or analzye data.  Again, if you ignore it, you’ll know it by the way you feel – you will begin to feel stressed and tired, or notice that you’re having arguments with people, or making a lot of mistakes at work, or being inefficient at your tasks at home.

Deeper Feelings Help People Function at their Best:

Deeper feelings fill you with joy and well-being.  People’s minds naturally become more inspired and creative.   You become more productive and successful.  And because your own feeling reservoir is full, you have more to give to others.   You’ll be kinder to your children, and get along better with your spouse.  You’re more likely to have the time and energy to check in on a sick neighbor, or volunteer at a food bank.  You become more interested in making our world a better place.