Little One

This is my oldest son and his daughter (my only granddaughter… so far).  I don’t know what it is about babies that is so enthralling, but I could watch her for hours.  Maybe it is that everything mesmerizes her… everything is an adventure.  Oh, to remember that everything is a miracle!

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Personal Growth Podcasts

Today’s post is a series of links to some new personal growth podcasts you may find valuable.  The first is an overview of the isa (Institute for Self Actualization) Experience, a weekend-long personal growth seminar that helped me change my life some 15 years ago.

What is the isa Experience?

The second is a little different way of thinking about forgiveness that makes a lot of sense.

The Practical Benefits of Forgiveness

The third helps explain why it is sometimes hard to follow through with what we say we are going to do, and how  we can take charge.

Who is Really in Charge?

The final podcast in this list distinguishes between our lower and higher selves, and how we can become the kind of person we want to be.

Human Animal vs. Human Being

Enjoy!

 

Thriving With Autism

I walk nearly every day. While I’m walking, I listen to personal growth mp3’s, webcasts, podcasts, or radio programs. As I walk and listen, I frequently begin composing my blog post for the day, often unintentionally. Tonight was no different.

Today was my youngest son’s 12th birthday. Although all children go through things as they grow and develop, some have more challenges than others. My youngest son is one of these. Fortunately, he has dealt with these challenges well.

He was initially diagnosed with generalized anxiety, ADHD inattentive type, and a short-term processing deficit. My purpose is not to get into a dialogue about labels, but to paint a picture of the struggles he was facing. Later added to his diagnoses were mild Autism and possible dyslexia.

When very young, my son wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone except immediate family. He was extremely anxious. If we drove home a different way than we usually did, he panicked. We avoided many places and situations in order to keep him calm. Like many children with Autism, my son has sensory issues such as hypersensitive senses of smell and hearing. He also has proprioceptive problems, which cause him to walk so hard that he wears holes in the bottoms of his shoes in a very short period of time, and make it difficult to do things that require balance, like riding a bike. He had great difficulty with fine motor skills such as writing and did not learn to tie his shoes until he was eleven years old. I could write a book on the difficulties my son struggled with, but I would rather celebrate his successes.

Over the years, my son has seen psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, naturopaths, pediatric Autism specialists, educational Autism specialists, language therapists, occupational therapists, reading specialists, and special education teachers. All of them were impressed by how much progress he has made over the years. He was essentially a non-reader in the second grade. He had a series of teachers who have helped him get close to grade level now that he will be entering sixth grade.

When my son was eight years old, I took him to an international camp for young people. Prior to attending the camp, we took him off the medication he had been on for his ADD and anxiety, at the suggestion of the facilitator. One purpose of the camp was to teach children how to face and overcome their fears. On the way home from the camp my son told me he didn’t think he needed his medicine anymore. He hasn’t been on medication since.

Socially, my son is working on things that many children with Autism must be taught more explicitly than other children (i.e, taking turns in a conversation, showing interest in other people and what they have to say). He tries to turn every conversation back to whatever he is interested in at the moment (currently it’s the Beatles). Ironically, he loves middle school. Even more ironic is the fact that he likes it for the social aspect.

Tonight at the dinner table, we were talking about the fact that my son likes older music (mostly from the sixties, seventies, and eighties). His classmates often give him a hard time about this. (I’m sure they point out his idiosyncrasies well.) He commented, “I’m just different, and that’s okay.” I know that no matter what he says, he doesn’t like being teased. I do believe that he has healthy self-esteem and realizes that the children that aren’t so nice to him are simply ignorant and rude.

In addition to his positive outlook, my son does love music. He dabbles in guitar and piano, and sings like a bird. He loves costumes and getting into character. When he likes something, he learns everything he can about it (one of the Asperger’s traits he displays)… and will tell you all about it. Above all else, he is happy. So my son is not suffering from Autism, he is thriving with Autism. And for that, I am happy.

Tutoring for a Teenager

My son needed to make up a half credit of Algebra II to complete his graduation requirements.  He attempted Credit Recovery (essentially, online summer school) for the same, with negative results.  This program leaves out one of the most important components of education, which is the aid of a human being who can diagnose problems and coach the student accordingly in real time.  

So I hired a tutor.  Incidentally, I used to tutor through an online tutoring company, so I did my search there.  As I searched for the right tutor, I found a woman I knew.  We had done some personal growth work together, so I knew her character and work ethic.  After I hired her, my son pointed out that she had been a teacher at his previous high school.  He had not been happy about getting a tutor, but knowing that this woman was going to be the one seemed to ease the discomfort for him.

Today was his first session.  It seemed so natural, as the tutor had been to our home in the past and she knew both my son and me.  She has a natural rapport with teenagers, maintaining a good balance between connecting with them as a fellow human being and maintaining authority in the situation.  

As she worked with my son, the tutor quickly spotted holes in his learning and set forth a plan of action to fill those holes and move forward.  I am so grateful for the twists and turns that brought us to this place.  My son (did I mention he was not happy about getting a tutor?) seemed very happy when she left.  He actually told me he liked her.  I am hoping this is going to facilitate his learning process. 

Broccoli Greens and Being a Good Steward

My son planted a garden for me this spring.  So far, we have enjoyed red leaf lettuce and butter crisp lettuce from it.  I have also used the spearmint we’ve grown in a cucumber and pineapple dish that I love, and in iced tea.  Because my broccoli began flowering, I researched whether I should toss it or whether it was still edible.  I was fascinated to learn everything that could be done with broccoli.

As it turns out, broccoli can be eaten after flowering.  In fact, the flowers alone can be purchased in some places for consumption.  The stalk can be grated and used to make cole slaw (which  I have seen but never tried).  What I found most surprising was that the leaves could be cooked and eaten like any other form of greens.  Tonight I cooked the broccoli spears and I also cooked the leaves, adding some bacon bits to them as they wilted.  I was surprised at how good they were.  They had the texture of kale, with a milder flavor.

I share all of this to say that I have always strived to be a good steward of what has been entrusted to me.  In this case,  food is the currency.  I often use leftovers to make soups, stews, or casseroles.   I just can’t stand to throw things away.  Incidentally, growing my own broccoli and studying it has allowed me to use all of the vegetable.  (I actually think I like the greens better than the florets.)

If you have any recipes that use other than traditional parts of plants,  or recipes that utilize leftovers, I’d love to hear them.

Relax

Twice today, I was reminded how relaxation can benefit me in so many ways.  The first time was when a support partner suggested a form of relaxation as a way to regain focus on a rather large goal.  The second time was when the facilitator of another group led the group in a relaxation exercise.  The purpose in this case was to “let go” of things that might be hindering us in keeping a daily agreement.

In both of these instances, I realized I have not been relaxing nearly enough.  I am committing now to focusing on relaxing at least once per day, and more often if I have things “come up” that need some calm and clarity.

On that note, it is nearly midnight and I need to go to bed.  Before I go to sleep, however, I will meditate to get myself in a relaxed state.  And I will monitor myself this week to be sure I am sticking to this commitment of relaxing daily.

Design Your Life: Abundance

The Institute for Self Actualization (isa) has been a huge help along my path.  I have been a part of this community for 15 years and I highly recommend any seminar they offer.  I have done most of them and have assisted and helped coordinate events ranging from the weekend-long Experience to the 10-day international youth camp, the YPE (Young Persons Experience).  

I don’t usually use my blog to promote events, but there is an upcoming seminar that I think will be priceless.  It is part of the new Design Your Life (DYL) series.  Read about the series and the upcoming event below.

DESIGN YOUR LIFE!
Love, happiness, health, abundance . . . whatever you want in life is available to you!

This series of one-day seminars provides an in-depth look at the “how” of creating what you want. We focus on both insight and application, with lots of skill building so you have what you need to change stubborn, persistent patterns or to simply create new growth in your chosen directions. Each day addresses a specific aspect of life: relationships, health, wealth and abundance, family, work life and more.

Design Your Life: Abundance
Are you missing out on many opportunities in your life because you don’t have the time, money or energy? Come learn how you can become abundant in all that you do! It is possible to tap into the abundance in us all and have overflowing love, health, money and time!

Order tickets via Eventbrite:
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/isa-design-your-life-abundance-tickets-10709968805?aff=efbevent

Open to isa graduates and non-graduates.

Lessons Learned

Last night I had a nightmare and woke up so scared that I thought my heart would pound right out of my chest.  Needless to say, I had a difficult time falling back to sleep.  When I did finally manage to nod off, it was time to get up.  Then I had one of those days where everything was a challenge.  Now I am not one to wish my life away.  But whatever lessons I was supposed to learn today, I hope I “got” them.  I am not interested in taking those tests again.