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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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.
Don’t think this has anything to do with you? Oxalates can be related to a wide range of health issues, from inflammation to urinary frequency, interstitial cystitis, nonspecific joint pain, carpel tunnel, nerve pain, weak bones, vulvodynia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, tissue destruction, autoimmune diseases, digestive problems, skin rashes, vision issues and just so many chronic pain issues, including fibromyalgia, plus very many more. There's also an intriguing link with autism and EDS...
What many people don’t realise is that, to someone born with autism, this is their version of normal and to come to identify and accept your own inherent traits is to “come home”, whatever that may look like to an outside observer. Its as though all the deep enthusiasm you’ve been feigning about your successes pretending to be neurotypical all your life, which by now many of us have got very good at doing (if we haven’t already burned out from the gigantean effort), is finally reclaimed and then unleashed as all this genuine enthusiasm for realising THIS is how you really are. It finally feels authentic and well-fitting, like slipping on a suit of clothing that is tailored to you when all the other ones had been slightly over-tight, twisted, scratchy and, in so many ways, deeply ill-fitting and uncomfortable.
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.
Stress has been the modern pandemic since long before covid-19 came along, which is why so many people and systems have been wrong-footed by it...but therein lies the opportunity to evolve. individually and collectively.
In our DNA coding, we are all we have ever been and could be, some of it realised, some tucked away, some as yet to be activated, but when things aren’t going so well and we defer to some other version of self that feels historic, there are questions to be asked; what is it that we so-nostalgically crave about that earlier experience, what does it offer that we now believe we lack? Is it the sheer fact of simplicity or is it the absence of predators, of duality or stress? Why do we ever crave winding the clock back; can we glean that same "thinking" going on in our biology? What can this tell us about how to tackle the healing process, to get past those really deep "stuck-points"...and how do we recruit quantum methods to hasten that along?
We all need some sort of containment, a reliable edge to our experiences, to enable us feel held and supported in life...and belief systems can do this for the majority of people (to a point). My neurodiverse way seems to have required that I build by own edges from scratch, plucked from a cacophony of sensory experiences and turned into the life supporting routines, rituals and focal points of my life; some distinctly more supportive than others (but getting there). Exploring the need for edges and how to make them better - Asperger's style.