For the past few months I have been engaged in an experiment - me, the middle-aged autistic woman with a whole bundle of chronic pain syndromes, dancing twice a day almost every day. The result is, I can't possibly summarise the incredible benefits I have reaped, specifically within the context of autism but also relating to reduction of chronic pain...there are just too many to abbreviate and some of them may very well surprise you, so you will just have to read this post...
As an autistic person, I find there is a definite link here between my particular wiring for high sensory processing, which can make me feel more overwhelmed than some other people might be in the same situation, along with a tendency to live in my thoughts way too much, plus also the need to actively process those senses though my body in such a way that the body fully registers them, but without overwhelm, on the way through…because, otherwise, I can tend to bypass the body altogether. Not least because of issues with chronic pain, learning to bypass the body can become a really big issue. Also gentle grounding activities, such as letting energy passively drain through me into Mother Earth, doesn’t feel quite enough.
Rather, I tend to need to actively participate in the processing part in order to remember what my body is there for…and that it is important and useful for me to have one (something I tend to forget…), which is where the power of dance comes in for me. Dancing, quite literally, puts me back in touch with my body and helps me to remain more grounded for a long time afterwards. Yet whilst this especially applies to someone like me, as in highly sensitive person with autistic wiring, I suspect it applies to anyone that lives in their head and has become detached from their body to a very high degree…which is more common that you might think; a typical modern phenomenon.
I plan to share much more about the proven benefit of dancing, for autistic people, soon in another post that I’m working on for Living Whole.
To start off this topic, here is a post I shared yesterday, in my other blog Spinning the Light, on the importance of GROUNDING joy into the physical body (an absolute essential for health and for navigating these times), whatever that happens to take in your particular case.
Cultivating joie de vivre
…has never been more important, or elusive-seeming, so how do we conjure up, specifically, grounded joy, rooted in the body, during such challenging times?
(As doing the research that led to my retrospective post the other day reminded me) a relentless sense of my own joy of life has always been one of my defining traits, as it were, rescuing me from some very hard times, even way back when as a child feeling quite helpless in situations that traumatised me. As an adult now dealing with chronic health challenges, I have come to regard it as an utterly essential ingredient of life, so much so that I cringe when I watch so many people loose their grip on it (not that I blame them in the circumstances) because of perceiving themselves as victims of those circumstance, knowing as I do that unless we take our own personal steps to…
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What have you gained from this year? Do you now find it easier to appreciate? On this final day of the year, if you can scrape through the sludge of a challenging year, dare you ask these very questions and be pleasantly surprised what you find under there? I did and, within moments of intuitively listing a few things, this is what I got.
What would my autism look like if it had been noticed 50 years ago, if I had been fed an appropriate diet supported by the full understanding of what best suits my particular biology, if I hadn't had to work so very hard to blend in as neurotypical for all these years as a matter of survival, and if my autism was welcomed as the useful and contributory trait that it is in its own unique way? Here, amongst some key observations about how "wrong" diet has had such a huge impact on my life, are some aspirations for the future of a world in which autism is better understood and has its valued place.
Being diverse has got to be allowed, as a valid possibility, from the moment we are born, which takes a new kind of culture; one that has reached a whole new stage of maturity and with emphasis to that word "whole".
Autism is overdue to add its own part to the diversity conversation, because the kind of portrayals that it currently gets in the media and our society at large are well-and-truly in need of an overhaul. The world is ripe for achieving a whole new level of acceptance of diversity, in all its many forms and those with autism need to take a seat at that table.
If recovery from chronic illness is like a long-running detective story, with us as its protagonist, this year has felt like one of those chapters that make sense of quite a few things in a series of "a-ha" moments. And though what I have learned in quick succession may very-well have overwhelmed me, it has also enlightened me as in TO LIGHT ME UP with a new degree of self-appreciation and awareness, also clarity as to how certain root circumstances click together to make chronic illness what it is.
Suddenly, people like me, on the long-haul to solo self-recovery from "mystery" illnesses find we are not all alone in here. Amidst the sea of people embarking on the bewildering covid long-haul recovery path, I'm hearing such a lot of talk about syndromes that are painfully familiar turf. So, what would I share with anyone at the start of such a journey and what does (or will) the coincidence potentially tell us about chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PoTs, MCAS and a whole load of other overlapping syndromes? Here begins the mass learning curve!
When you are an empath, you may tend to walk into a room and find yourself tracking the energy fields of everyone in there...do you relate? And in your relationships, dialling into people's energy over their personality? This comes with inevitable pitfalls...I speak from experience here, as well as playing with some reasons why we might do this in the first place and how we can bring the trait into more balance for far better health.
When we subscribe to the belief that we are ugly compared to others, especially when it is delivered to us by other people (and it can be very subtle, but it all comes from the same place of power-play…). it is all one very manipulative case of “smoke and mirrors”. We are being duped…and it makes us into targets for more of the same. When I fell for those lies, I manifested it, and now I don’t, it’s not even a factor in my life. Rather, it’s been a tender plunge into the most supportive relationship I could ever imagine, to love and appreciate all my unique qualities and stand up for them, in all their differences and similarities; a whole mixed bag of traits that makes me who I am. This is as it is meant to be, in spite of the prevailing culture that tries to dictate “conform at all costs”, as is so loudly delivered through life’s tannoy by mainstream media.