Obviously I am not writing daily.
I’ve had people ask in the past couple of months, “What are you doing with all of your time now?”
I’m still catching up on organizing my house.
I have more responsibility at work.
I’m doing some consulting.
But the best thing? Yoga.
I started doing yoga.
Funny, because I thought I would HATE yoga. The thrill of the run, the feel of the sweat, the absence of breath…that is what I’ve most’ enjoyed’ about exercise. However, my life, at times, just felt too fast. Like I was losing control of everything around me and I was feeling helpless. I was on the outside just watching everything happen or in the center of a tornado watching everything swirl around me.
Often while exercising I would think of other projects, other things, more to be concerned about. I rarely experienced the ‘flow’ of running or working out – that moment that everything becomes easy because it’s so well-practiced. This is sometimes called the ‘Runner’s High.’ I arrived there a couple of times…and admittingly, it did feel very good.
After running a 1/2 marathon my body was just beat up. I know, people run further than that all the time – but my interest in running was lacking, at best. Too much training.
So, a friend told me to try yoga. I rolled my eyes…really? Yoga? How is THAT exercise?!?!? Then again…I’m up for trying just about anything.
I started yoga at our local workout facility. Twice a week. By the second week I recognized that I may actually like it. Then, my teacher asked me how long I had been practicing yoga. I told her about four hours. She responded, “Well. You have a very natural aptitude. I hope you stick with it.”
Two weeks later I purchased an everyday yoga program. Three days in, I realized how much I loved it. It was one full hour, every day. One full hour to clear my brain, to slow down, to concentrate on my breath, and think about how my body actually felt.
Some days I was doing ‘two-a-day’ yoga, one at the workout facility and then another hour with my hubs at night.
I went to yoga one night after a particularly conflict-filled day at work. I just couldn’t balance, couldn’t clear my head, and I couldn’t get into the pose. I was *probably* pretty huffy. I was looking around at everyone else. I imagine my instructor saw this struggle because she said, “Stop pushing. Yoga isn’t about pushing. Yoga meets you where you are. There is no wrong. Once that position feels comfortable, move further into it. Even just 1/4 inch further – that may be enough. Don’t look at other people. Yoga is about you and your body. Meeting you where you are and taking you just a bit further each time.”
Class finished. I walked out to my vehicle on that crisp fall day and sat down in the driver’s seat. Clicked my seat belt. Put the key in the ignition. Then I stopped. I took a deep breath, bowed my head…then the tears began to roll.
Yoga and autism.
Maybe that was what I needed all along. I needed to just slow down. I needed to be more mindful of my thoughts, actions, and words. I needed to be. Be more. Be more in the moment.
In my experiences Autism is best served by yoga principles. Meeting Tucker where he is. Not comparing, not judging, not pushing. Meeting him where he is and going just a bit further. I hate to say we’ve had ‘success’ – because that would imply that something was wrong or needed to be fixed.
There is nothing wrong with him – but, we have had to help him live in this Neurotypical world. Yes, I wish the world would just automatically and immediately love him and understand him the way we do, but that’s not reality.
Pushing too hard always resulted in melt down mode. Pushing too hard always led to regression. Pushing too hard, it just never worked.
Meeting him where he was? Getting comfortable and developing understanding in that moment and then moving another 1/4 inch? That is what worked.
Last week was Tucker’s IEP Renewal.
I haven’t been able to write about it, because every time I see those words, “He graduated.” I cry (including right now).
9 years. 9 years of IEP work. 26 separate goals.
Each goal – met and pushed just a bit. Not so much that it hurt or damaged…but pushed just a bit.
And again…until we met it and moved on.
Now it’s over…and at the same time…it’s just beginning.
Only one word can describe the journey we have been on and where we are heading.