FROM WILLIAM: I have just returned from England where we taught our Advanced Son-Rise Program Training, New Frontiers. It was a great week and just beautiful to see moms and dads soaking in all the material that was presented and to see them stretching themselves to be more comfortable and excited as they continue their journey of helping their autistic children.
One of the attitudinal themes of the week was recognising our capacity to choose what we say, do, think and feel. In fact every single moment we are making choices. Right now you have a choice to continue reading this blog or go for a walk - most of us can recognise that we are making this choice. There are always alternatives to our current choices of how we are acting and feeling.
The challenge and the grow comes from recognising that our unhappy feelings (fear, anxiety, sadness, etc.) are also an experience we choose to have. We do have alternative feelings to choose from when faced with unwanted situations or events. We could feel easy, relaxed, at peace, calm, excited, etc. The growth comes from understanding why we want to give our self an unhappy feeling when faced with challenging situations or thoughts (trantruming, hitting, isming, a difficult partner, thoughts about your child's future, etc.).
We make choices to feel unhappy because we belief it is useful and it makes sense to feel this way. It may keep us vigilant and alert to danger, it may motivate us to take action, it maybe a way to show we care, etc. Yet by now you have probably come to realise that these unhappy feelings are not useful in your life, with your special child, with your other children, with your partner, your work colleagues, your health and well being, etc. You can in fact be vigilant and relaxed, motivate yourself from just love and passion for what you want, show you care with a feeling of being at peace with what has just happened, etc.
Recognising our capacity to choose and that we are always making choices was a fundamental insight that many parents and volunteers in the New Frontiers program took away for themselves. They started to looking at situations they were unhappy about and changed these feels to one of ease, comfort and excitement. It was wonderful to see.
Today, just start by being aware of all the choices you make - what clothes to wear, food to cook for dinner, reading your email verses doing some else, getting upset verses staying comfortable, etc. The next step would be to ask yourself why you are making those particular choices.
Have fun with your choices.