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The Autistic Voice

To inspire, entertain and most importantly help you realise that while life doesn't always follow your chosen path, there is always something positive to be learned and more to be gained. Dr Sandra Beale-Ellis

ADDICTIONS: TELEVISION

In a nutshell, television wastes time… but why do we love it so much? After a four day holiday weekend, much of which has been spent binge watching our latest favourite (The Good Wife) on Amazon Prime, I thought I would mull over the subject of television.

In this category I include pre-recorded programmes, DVDs, Blue Ray discs, Netflix, Amazon Prime and all the other ways to watch television shows or movies at home, on a box sat in the corner of a room; or in some really dedicated households, hung on the wall like a prized piece of artwork.

Like so many habits or activities our fascination with television probably began in our childhoods. Personally I loved a whole host of childhood fantasy shows: Bagpuss, The Flintstones, Andy Pandy, Bill and Ben (yes, the originals with the wires and everything), Trumpton and Camberwick Green.  ‘Pugh, Pugh, Barley McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub’ (names from my memory).  These shows have such an impact phrases from them such as this list of firemen being called, stick with you for many years after watching.

As I grew older, Blue Peter, Grange Hill and the Monkeys played a role, and during the school holidays, Why Don’t You?  This, ironically, was a television show aimed at teens giving them ideas to stop watching television and ‘go and do something else’ instead.  So on a Saturday morning, what did we do instead?  Go to the Cinema and watch something on the big screen instead!

I shall come to the Cinema another time, but as a nation we have a tendency to be drawn towards the television rather than find something else to do.

There is no doubt it is great when you feel tired and can’t be bothered to do much. This is likely the main problem.  We often watch just about anything, flicking from channel to channel even through the advertisements of our favourite programme, just to be watching something rather than having to talk or get up to make a cuppa.  I have found myself during these type of television sessions, watching the dullest programmes: dating while cooking, dining with complete strangers, watching houses being auctioned, families moving to other countries, repeats of shows I have watched previously, sport (need I say more?).

I love to watch television but nowadays I try (mostly) to watch it purposely. I sit down with the intention of watching my favourite show(s).  Often I will have these pre-recorded so that I can see them when I have spare time rather than being limited to when they are being aired.  I can also fast forward past bits I don’t care to watch.  On a particular entertainment show I forward all the bits in-between the main sections where they tell us about their personal journey and how desperate they are to reach the final.  This bores me completely.  Sometimes I forward the advertisements, but often I will use this few minute period to go and do something useful: put on a load of washing, whizz a duster around the room, tidy the kitchen, load the dishwasher; and still be back on the sofa for the next part.  It makes me feel productive and less guilty for watching television.

I have guilty secrets to share:

  1. We mostly watch television as we eat our meals – I know dieticians say this is bad. We don’t digest our food properly or some such thing. I have been doing this for 50 years and it doesn’t seem to have done me much harm. Yes, we should be talking but we do this when we go out for a meal and we do this quite often. I work with my husband and we are together pretty much 24/7/365 so I think a little television watching is not going to harm us.
  2. I love American crime: CSI, NCIS, derivatives of both, Criminal Minds, Law and Order (all variants) Scorpion…the list is endless.
  3. I once spent most of my spare time watching the complete box set (every series until the end) of Desperate Housewives! This was several years after the series ended and I had watched them all before. I would scurry home from work and put another on, then another… and then suddenly it would be bedtime. I know, don’t judge me. I went on a 10 step programme after that to ban television for a couple of weeks at least.
  4. I would move heaven and earth to watch BBC’s Holby City at the time it is on, preferably while drinking a glass of wine. I often now teach that evening, so IPlayer is my new friend. I can’t tell you why I am so addicted to this except for my extensive medical history and my love of hospitals – remember my last blog. I used to love ER in the same way.

So there you have it, whilst I consider television a waste of time, I also love it and find it difficult to leave it alone.

I would love to know your television guilty secrets!

When you are not watching TV don’t forget to check out my website http://www.theautisticvoice.co.ukand perhaps purchase one of my books instead – much healthier J

RESETTING MY LIFE: CHILDHOOD CANCER AND BEYOND…

Hi Readers

In a bid to reset my life and my Voice from this day, I need to travel back in time to an event which impacts my every action; my very being: my childhood cancer.  The photo shows me in the lovely and then very fashionable cheesecloth shirt and green skirt, during the summer my hair was growing back after 18 months of chemotherapy, and getting ready to start secondary school.  What follows may or may not be the start of a book I am planning, along with my parents, to write in the near future…

‘The cold, smelly, waiting room was empty; it was late in the evening.  I remember being given a band to wear around my wrist with my name and 3AB.  I didn’t realise it then but 3AB was to be a ward which would become my second home.  It would be somewhere I would spend many weeks.  I would have a new family there.  I would make so many new friends.

I also didn’t realise it would be a place of memories.  Forty one years on (on 11 February) and I still remember the ward as if it were yesterday.  I can picture the various beds I spent time in; the kitchen where I made popcorn with the nurses and my fellow patient-friends; the playroom where I spent ages making flowers out of pencil shavings; and the treatment room where I received many tortuous treatments.  As I write, I can taste the toxic drugs flooding my veins, ready to speed through my body in a bid to destroy the bastard tumour that was filling the space between my fifth and sixth left ribs.

Ward 3AB at the Hospitals for Sick Children, lovingly and more commonly known as Great Ormond Street, deep in the heart of West Central London, was to be the place I called home for the next two years.  The hospital would be in my ‘heart’ for the rest of my life.

My family would be changed forever with the events which followed a seemingly minor accident in 1976.  There is no concrete proof that this caused what followed, but it was deemed highly likely by professionals at the time and my gut has always told me this was true.

My life since has been shaped by that day and made me who I am.  I am a fighter, a survivor… and this is my story.’

***

I may be autistic, and it may be a part of me but it is not the only thing which influences who I am.  I have come to realise this more and more over the past couple of years, and have decided that some things I can try to change if I choose to.  I can’t blame all the negatives in my life on a diagnosis, or two, or three.   To be fair I never have and I refuse to do so.  Whatever diagnoses I have had in my life, and there have been many, there have been challenges to live with, perhaps to overcome, and to at times to celebrate.  A recent controversial posting of mine on a support site for partners of ‘aspies’ (I hate this term) led to much moaning, some comments of support and some comments of indifference.  We can’t blame our diagnoses for everything in our life, but there is no doubt that life is heavily influenced by them.   Sadly my posting was in response to complaints and frankly many nasty aspersions about ‘aspie’ partners, which in my opinion, and many others as it turned out, were simply a way to blame bad human behaviour on a diagnosis and remove all responsibility.

Look out for my continued story… until next time

sandra

Check out my website www.theautisticvoice.co.uk

 

 

 

MY LOVELY (AUTISTIC) HUSBAND

Hi Readers

I have been with my husband for twenty seven years. I am his ‘second wife’ as, even now, he tells people. He was married to the ‘first wife’ for a little over four years.  He gets berated by many for referring to me as his ‘second wife’.  I doubt that it will stop him – after all it’s a fact – I am!  Joe deals in facts and cannot understand the point of fiction.  He sees nothing wrong with saying something if it is a fact – no matter if it upsets or hurts someone.  He doesn’t mean to upset someone but it seems to just happen and he often can’t control it.

Of course this is usual – Joe is autistic, clinically diagnosed just eight years ago with Asperger’s Syndrome. I was, at that time, studying for a Post Graduate Certificate in Asperger’s Syndrome, run by Sheffield Hallam University and the National Autistic Society.   It was the second week of the course and a particular lecture on sensory issues, set off a light bulb in my head. ‘takes his shoes and socks off, and often his trousers, as soon as he gets home’ – yes; ‘wears clothing inappropriate for the weather’ – short sleeves all year round; sensitive to certain colours – thinks I wear red all the time although I now have only two red items in my wardrobe; ‘fussy about the feel of clothes, bed linen, cushions etc’ – yes; ‘dislikes being touched lightly but enjoys hard touch or scratching’ – yes.  The list went on and I kept saying ‘that’s Joe’.  Coupled with the tempers, often pedantic and repetitive speech, constantly moving things to make them symmetrical, obsessively cleaning the kitchen and bathroom after use, and a major dislike of any family occasions which require a party; my feeling was ‘ oh my goodness, my husband has Asperger’s and no-one has ever realised.  Two years later, and we had arranged for the diagnosis process.

I was a little ashamed. I had been teaching children with Asperger’s for six years prior to this revelation, had read a lot about it, but had not put the two together.  I suppose looking back, I had flashes of ‘maybe’ especially with moving objects around and his dislike of social functions – also his talking constantly about his favourite subjects to anyone he met.  He often asks people he has met to describe him in three words – I always used one word – ‘Unique’, or I called them his ‘Joeisms’.

Although the process was very emotional for him, he went through many stages of acceptance: it has been literally ‘a new lease of life’ for him. He finally understands his life so far – why his temper has been so bad and why seemingly silly triggers set him off;   why his temper got him into trouble in his younger days; why his ‘first wife’ wound him up so much; why he didn’t have many friends at school and why his few friends are so special to him; why he hates crowded places, loud noise, and the colour red; and why his music, love of history and Cromwell, and collections of sugar-shakers and keys are so important to him.

Joe is a wonderful karate instructor – children adore him, adults respect him. He tries to identify with students with Asperger’s and other ASDs and help them to accept themselves.  He also clashes spectacularly with other students.  He has been, and is, the Chair of a national martial arts governing body since its inception in 1992, President and Chair of Karate England in its founding years, and ran another martial arts organisation (with the ‘first wife’) for some years.

He is constantly coming up with ideas and schemes. He set up NAKMAS Publishing a couple of years ago; became a renowned ‘tea-room guru’ some ten years ago when he was treated badly in a particular tea room locally; has turned his childhood love of Simon and Garfunkel music into an ongoing obsession, and has coined the phrase ‘Isn’t It Nice, Being Nice’: good deeds to strangers randomly.  For all of these passions, he has set up popular pages on Social Media and has extensive websites for them all.  In addition he never forgets his past and has similar social media pages for areas he grew up in; namely Bethnal Green and Nine Acres in Ashford Kent.

Joe can be utterly exhausting to live with, yet his unique skills and talents, which he possesses despite or perhaps because of his autism, are inspiring and unending.

He loves an audience but is a very quiet and private man; a spicy blend which needs to be seen and heard!

For more insight into our lives, check out my new book Sensing the City: An Autistic Perspective or my website theautisticvoice.co.uk

Keep reading: a new theme will be coming shortly for this blog’s future.

Until next time…

I LOVE BOOKS!!!

Hi Readers

Right back to a very young age I have always been obsessed with books. My Auntie Sally apparently tried to get me to repeat nursery rhymes after her as she read them to me; sadly I was a pretty stubborn toddler.  My mum tells me that as soon as she had left the house, I proceeded to recite, or perhaps read, them all perfectly.  I started reading from the age of three, yes I was precocious but also unbeknown at that time, autistic; and this is a common clue for diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome.

I remember at Christmas, there was always a book in my stocking (make that a pillow case) left by Father Christmas (or Santa as I call him). I remember waking each year at about 2am to find a stuffed pillow case and all I looked for was a book shape.  Once I had opened this gift, I was happy to go back to sleep until a proper waking time, when I would read said book.  My other favourite gifts were a notebook and pen but I will save that for another lesson.

Through the first ten years of my life, I worked my way through the libraries of Enid Blyton, Noel Streatfeild, Lewis Carroll, Anna Sewell, Frances Hodgson Burnett and many more. I loved all books, but my absolute favourites were Enid Blyton hardbacks including the Faraway Tree, the Naughtiest Schoolgirl and Mr Twiddle; moving on to the series books: Famous Five, Secret Seven, St Clares and Mallory Towers.  Even now I have some of these books on my shelves and I read them from time to time.  I was even a member of the Enid Blyton fan club.

I always wanted to go to boarding school and take a tuck box with edible goodies to eat at midnight feasts. There is something about books read as a child; the memories live with you always.  I can almost smell the macaroons, the fresh bread devoured by the Famous Five on their adventures, and yearn for the ‘lashings of ginger beer and hard boiled eggs’.  My nan used to make rock buns and I imagined they were those eaten by the Secret Seven during their meetings in the shed with homemade lemonade.

As I became a teenager I read pretty much anything put in front of me but one book which impacted me more than any other, was one studied for GCE O’Level (yes, I’m THAT old!). To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee was published in 1960 and is the most wonderful book. I loved everything about it; the innocent but so intelligent child’s language narrating the story, the serious message behind it about racism which sadly still lingers on today in many parts of the world, even in this country, and the suave lawyer Atticus Finch who tries to be fair and just.  Most of all I love the interactions with the characters, especially the children and the lonely character of Boo.  More recently I have been aware that there is a chance that this character was autistic; a co-incidence I wonder?  I managed to quote from this book in every one of my doctoral papers including a few times in my final thesis and now in my latest book Sensing the City.  There seems to be appropriate words for pretty much every situation, and I continue to read this book time and time again. I was so incensed when it was taken out of the British school curriculum I wrote Michael Gove (the Education Minister at the time) a strong letter and sent out a press release objecting.

There is something about books – the smell of the paper, the feel of the pages turning. My books often looked ‘lived in’ with tea and coffee stains, and just yesterday I managed to get a beetroot stain on ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ a classic I just discovered after it being mentioned a couple of times in a movie I was watching.

That is not to say I don’t love an E-Reader as well. I resisted for several years before someone I respected in higher education told me he had discovered one and loved it.  I quickly became addicted as I could download most of the books I wanted in the seconds I actually wanted them.  No waiting for a bookshop to open, or the postman to arrive.  It also meant I could flit about from book to book depending on my reading mood, and was especially useful if I was travelling or away.  No having to decide which books I wanted to take with me, or limiting my choices depending on the weight and size.

Regardless of how or what I read the books these days, I do have a few more unwritten (until now) rules than I did as a child who read just about anything.

  1. If the description doesn’t grab me, even if the reviews are good, I usually won’t bother to read it. If the author or the publisher hasn’t made an effort to entice me as a reader, why should I spend time ‘trying it’?
  2. I need to be caught up in it by the end of the first couple of chapters or I usually give up on it. There are so many books out there to read, I need to spend my time reading what will inspire me.
  3. I realise that having read no 2, I am now at risk that you may be considering putting my books in with your next charity donation, but give me a chance; they are well worth reading… really.
  4. If the book is a printed version, I now pass it on to someone else; either by way of charity bag donation, or I leave it on a coffee shop table, park bench or train seat with a sticky note telling the finder it is a gift for them but to pass it on when they have finished reading it.

I believe that being able to read is a gift. Books teach language, spelling and grammar, give inspiration and motivation, pass on knowledge and skills, and create a strong foundation to build a life upon.  Reading is a skill or pastime which can last a lifetime.  If someone can’t read for one reason or another, there are audio books which can be equally wonderful to listen to.  There are stories, poetry, life experiences, languages to learn, facts to absorb, or words to inspire.

Books have made my life complete and I would never want to be without them in some way.

I am especially proud to be releasing this blog today, which is the publication of my second book Sensing the City: An Autistic Perspective.  You can read about it via this link or in my last blog.

Many thanks

Until next time…


 

SENSING THE CITY

Hi Readers

I have not blogged now for nearly three months.  It has been a difficult time with various activities and projects, two family deaths, the death of my best friend, and a two week old baby of another friend, and the upcoming publication of my new book.

As the publication date of my book is only two weeks away, I have decided to write about this for the first blog back.  The rest can wait for another day.

Sensing the City: An Autistic Perspective is the culmination of an idea which developed nearly three years ago, just after my doctorate was completed.  I was on a much needed long weekend break with my husband in London, and we were having brunch in one of my favourite restaurants, when I started to point out the sensory delights around us.  I wondered, to him, whether we notice them because we are autistic, or does everyone see what we see.  And so the seeds for the book started to grow.  With some bravery after a couple of months of working on the idea, I approached Jessica Kingsley Publishers to see whether they were interested in the project and the rest as they (who are they?) say, is history… or is it.

If only it were that simple.  The next couple of years involved a lot of travelling, eating, spending and note-taking; and then the writing began.

For any author, writing a book is always a challenge, even for the most competent writers.  Combining writing the book with the sensory journeys around a variety of noisy, smelly and frantic cities was a task which at various points seemed highly unlikely to ever come together.    Autistic overload was frequent, and the tiredness was akin to running in the Olympics every hour of every day for a month (or in my mind at least).

I owe a lot to my husband Joe – not only for his support throughout, but for some of the wonderful examples and stories included in the book!  I shall not blog my thanks and acknowledgements at this stage; the book is not quite available yet, and I’d rather the interested parties saw the thanks in the book first-hand.

I do need to acknowledge Jessica here however, as she managed to calm me down when I was ready to give in, and persuade me to keep going.

I can’t believe that it has finally reached this stage, and that clever people within the field of autism, have read and agreed to endorse it; Sarah and Nick: big virtual hugs – I know you would not wish to be given real ones by me – for those not in the know, it’s an autistic thing!  Just the foreword by Dr Luke Beardon is worth reading the book for – fabulous.

Sorry if I sound like I’ve won an Oscar; if only.   Perhaps it will be turned into a film?!

Now I would like to travel around India with an accompanying person who can show me around and help with any anxieties – if anyone from the BBC is reading this, please contact me – Sensing India: An Autistic Perspective (copyright me).

So, what are you waiting for?  Get out there and order your copy. Tell anyone who is listening to buy their copy.  Available on Amazon now… or through JKP books.

2

See you at my website www.theautisticvoice.co.uk

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND: AUTISTIC CONNECTIONS?

Hi Readers

Now this is unusual for my blog; to write about a tearoom.  What I am really writing about I suppose is one of my favourite childhood books (away from my obsession with Enid Blyton anyway).  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.  I loved the book and still have my childhood copy given to me by my godparents; red faux leather with gold embossed lettering, published in 1975.  Just getting the book off my bookshelf this evening, has made me want to read it again.  I chose the black and white image rather than coloured ones, as that’s how they appear in my book.

Lewis Carroll, aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, is one of the famous people named on many of the lists of famous autistics.  He preferred the company of children (!) and was very antisocial.  He disliked dealing with more than one person at once.  His time management was such that he missed meals and bedtime, in his bid to concentrate on writing.  He had a curiously naïve belief that others could be converted to his way of thinking.  He was extremely rigid in thinking and planning. He was  an obsessive photographer.   Several of his characters show potentially autistic traits apparently.

These are just some of the traits which have been linked to him.  It certainly sounds as though he was on the spectrum but of course he died long before Hans Asperger or Leo Kanner had described these traits or before they were named.

Local to me is a new tearoom; aptly named Alice and the Hatter.  It is a lovely big colourful place; not strictly following everything Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but there is a very large nod to the book itself.  It is really an assault on the senses; perhaps if autistic and you’ve had a difficult day, it might be a little too much, or simply pick a quieter late afternoon weekday visit.   This seating area is just one section; there is a massive long table with grass going all down it, either for eating at or for children to read or draw, and there are usual grown up tables and chairs.  There is a literary scheme where local businesses sponsor the tearoom to buy ‘Alice’ books to encourage children to read.  I believe the children can take these home with them.   Food is named around characters and scenes from the book.  There is ‘Disney type’ music playing.  At events there is a Mad Hatter and Alice.  It really is quite lovely.  I am trying to encourage the owners to open an ‘Enid Blyton’ themed tearoom next.  I can imagine eating the Famous Five High Tea with ginger beer and rock cakes!

It makes me wonder if I was drawn to Alice when I was younger, being autistic?  Yes, I must read the book again soon to find out if there is any relevance.

 

If you are passing through East Kent, pop in for a visit, but it might be worth booking; at the weekend, it was jam packed.  Until then, just revisit your favourite childhood book; I love to get out of the adult world from time to time.  Let me know what your favourite childhood book was and what memories it stirs.

Until next time…


www.theautisticvoice.co.uk

AM I AUTISTIC? DO I WANT TO BE?

Hi Readers

This image depicts a slice of a conversation I had this afternoon with a young teenage girl and her mother.  I had been asked to chat to her as there has been talk that she may be autistic and she was struggling to cope with the world, and school in particular.

Her parents are trying to get the help she needs; meanwhile her life feels topsy turvy while she tries to make sense of the world around her; and the peers who should be her friends but just appear as though they are ‘aliens’.

One day she feels on top of the world; the next she feels as though she is not worthy.  She is a beautiful young lady, with a heart of gold.  My fur babies instantly fell in love with her which makes her a good person in my eyes.  Within seconds of meeting her, they were rolling around waiting for tummies to be rubbed.  Holly, usually very wary of strangers and especially children, was snuggling up to her as she would to my husband.

Secondary school is difficult for her; she is aching to find her place there but it is not easy.  I confessed that I felt the same at her age; it was the year I was bullied: emotionally, name calling, bag being thrown carelessly around the room; every attempt to embarrass me.  Why… I still don’t understand.  I had done nothing to anyone; I went to school, I read mostly, hated PE, and wanted to learn.  Why was this bad?  I watched my peers, trying to copy their clothes, the way they did their hair, or used eye shadow.  Did I want to be like them?  Perhaps.  Mostly I just wanted to fit in so that they would leave me alone… literally.  I would offer to help teachers tidy classrooms; anything to prevent me from having to interact in the playground.  Perhaps I was seen as a teacher’s pet.  Looking back it was highly likely.

Chatting with this young lady was supposed to be for her benefit… it began to feel like therapy for me; a way to let out all the feelings I had kept locked up for decades perhaps?  I talked and talked; so much I exhausted myself.  Despite us autistics not being able to read facial expressions, I knew the moment she’d had enough; the moment I had given her too much information.  I tried to slow down, to wrap it up, but still my voice kept on going.  Now I feel exhausted and guilty that I had overloaded her as I was trying to help.

I left her with a few small coping strategies.  I always maintain I don’t just want to cope, but for now that’s what she needed from me.  Enough to at least get her to school without a panic attack.  She is going home to start a journal; where she can let out whatever is in her thoughts and heart, without saying it aloud, without having to engage with another and not know what to expect in return.  She is going home to work with her parents, in building a ‘chill out zone’ within her room, or somewhere in the house.  Another autistic child I know has a ‘tent-like’ space in his room with lots of squishy cushions, lights and books.  His quiet space.  I would quite like a version for myself in fact.

My own get away is go visit the cinema alone during the day when I can.  I love to do this; sitting in the dark, focusing on a movie, not having to engage with anyone else.  I always pre-book my seat in the same position of the cinema – top right hand corner looking at the screen.  I have a wall behind me for safety; a little shelf for my bag to safely sit and I can see every position including the entrance from this seat.  No surprises.  Complete control.

I feel bad that she and her parents are now going to start the often horrendous process that is diagnosis and all that goes with it for a child.  I hope her school are sympathetic and will do something to help her find a ‘chill out space’ within the school.  Ironically she wants to be a primary school teacher when she is older; perhaps help other children not to experience what she has herself.

When will girls get the help they need; the recognition that autism is not just for boys?  We don’t want to just cope.  We want to thrive, to live…

Until next time…


www.theautisticvoice.co.uk

GRATITUDE – NATURE

Hi Readers

I know… its been a couple of weeks and I should have been blogging about my gratitude challenge.  I am a little behind but I will catch up – promise.

The exciting news is that my book Sensing the City, has finally been finished and is now with the publishers.  As soon as the cover has been finalised and approved, I will reveal it plus a synopsis of the book content.  Just be patient… its due out on 21 August and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

For now, I shall concentrate today’s blog on nature.  I have been inspired today by weeding!

After a lovely yoga class this morning, where concentration was the theme, we practiced balances including tree posture and its various forms.  I then went into my office for a few hours where I became quite stressed and in need of more relaxation.  I decided, for the first time this spring, to do a little work in our large garden.  My plan was to do no more than half an hour, just some tidying and sweeping.  I have just come in from the garden (it was about to get dark) having spent just shy of an hour – I cleared weeds in one large area, collected dog poop (yep, reality kicked in), and walked around the whole garden assessing what was next to be done.

Rather than being tired and fed up as I often am when I leave all the gardening to the weekends, I felt invigorated; grateful for the opportunity to get my hands (well gloves anyway) dirty, to smell the earth and the weeds, to chat to the cockerel as I weeded alongside the chickens, to see the sun in the sky as I grovelled on my hands and knees, pulling grass and dead stuff; clearing space to add beautiful plants and flowers.  All around me were daffodils and hyacinths rising to attention, and snowdrops just beginning to flower.

Often when I finish my normal work day, I will sit in the front of some nameless show on television for a while to ‘relax’.  I am not sure that it really relaxes me; I just feel as though I have wasted an hour of my time.  Today I felt productive, excited that I had started to make the garden look better, and grateful for the opportunity to really feel part of nature.

I go into the evening with renewed vigour, keen to continue to be productive but in a relaxing kind of way.  I am sure I shall sleep better, I will have achieved something useful, and I will have more time at the weekend after teaching, to do something more exciting.  For this Sunday, I have planned an audition to take on a small part at my local theatre; it is years since I was on the stage so I am looking forward to this, albeit nervously.

I may end up working behind the scenes this time if the parts involve too much line learning; but the possibility is exciting regardless.  There is a need for a production assistant as well; perhaps I should take this on; I can be very loud when I need to be; bossy, me… surely not?!!

Wish me luck for Sunday.  For now I am off to feed my fur babies for which I am so grateful.  I need a good long sniff of both of them, and then I shall be very happy for the evening.  I also have a lovely camembert in the fridge ready for baking… a certain LB influenced this one.

Until my next blurb…


 

GRATITUDE – THE REALISATION

imagesHello Readers

I have always considered myself a positive person, who is grateful for what I have.  I am in the midst of a yoga foundation course, and have to write a journal as part of the course.  The comment from the tutor, is that I need to make more notes about showing gratitude, rather than my usual critiquing and reflecting.  During the recent day of training for the course, I heard myself saying rather too much, ‘I can’t do that’, ‘oh I’m rubbish at that’, ‘my balance is bad on that leg’…  I hadn’t realised how much I put myself down when I think I am struggling with something.  It has been a real eye opener.  As I was teaching on Saturday, I heard the same from some of my students, yet I became impatient with them, knowing only too well, that they could do it.

I then had a conversation with my husband, over the weekend, while he was washing my car, as he does every weekend.  Have I been grateful for this activity, or do I take it for granted?

The conversation was around the support we give each other in our lives, for our study, our work, our passions.  I began to doubt myself; do I give him enough gratitude for what he has done for me, for what he loves to do.  Does he give me enough in return?

I had a day of being overwhelmed last week, and my two pooches came and sat on my lap, one of them licking my face as a few tears rolled down.  Am I grateful for the love they show me unconditionally, do I play with them often enough to prove my love for them?

I have an assistant in my office who works hard and steadily through her work without complaint, while around her are two stress-y autistic bosses; one who loses patience at many small problems, and the other who is either hyper-active in all that she does, or feeling as low as can be (that’s me).  It can’t be easy for her, yet she seems to take it in her stride.  Are we grateful?

I have a beautiful house in the country, with a large garden, hens, doves and I grow my own fruit and veg; am I grateful?  At the weekend I moaned quite a bit about how much cleaning it takes… yes I love what I have but perhaps I don’t appreciate it as much as I should.  I am not sure why I moaned – I had a lovely time cleaning and clearing out yet more clutter.

I am quite distraught by the fact that I do not seem to be as grateful as I should be, that I am perhaps not as positive as I thought.

I am therefore setting myself a challenge, which you might want to join in with as well.

I am going to find something I am grateful for each day and write it into a journal (my usual notebook on a special page), for 30 days.  I shall blog about these.  They could be just privately acknowledged, or as a declaration on a social media platform, or just said out loud to your family each day.

Once I have finished the whole 30, I shall publish them as an article on my website, www.theautisticvoice.co.uk.    In the meantime keep coming back to my blog for updates as I progress through my journey.

Good luck to us all.

Until next time…

sandra

 

 

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