As some of you might know, I now work with a child with autism, implementing the SonRise program. I’m also a general child care provider for the family because there are two children. I had my first real day working with Ian (child with autism) yesterday, whereas the first two days I was shadowing how others use their SonRise time and the rhythm of chores around the house.
Ian gives me eskimo kisses all the time and he has the most beautiful green eyes. We also went out on a walk today, and the way he observes and feels the world is absolutely incredible. He is one of the most empathic people I’ve ever met. He’s so understanding, intelligent, kind, and keen, and he’s such a great listener of all things – of his environment, of people’s heartbeats, of people’s energies, of people’s stories they tell them. He understands space. He understands intimacy. He grabs my hands when he wants to show me something that he saw from the window. Ian is also preverbal, which means he speaks through sounds, mostly vowels. For example, he says “eat” as “eeeeea” because the “T” consonant is hard to pronounce (based on motor complications). He loves to hear people’s stories, he always wants to know how your day has been, he just can’t express it into words yet. I’ll ask if he wants to leave the parking lot to walk back home, and he will squeeze my hand, and in that moment, I learn that it means he wants to stay. As we were walking outside, he would show me the world. We’d walk, and he’d suddenly stop walking and turn his head one direction and dart his eyes, and as I look up, I see a flock of birds. He introduced me to a sport field around the corner. And we sat on benches and listened to the melodic silence of the world. And I could hear everything. And his world is so beautiful I nearly cried. How can the world be so endlessly beautiful from your eyes, how have I never viewed life in this way before?
All I can say is that I love my job, and I look forward to each and every day that I see him (it’s just waking up and getting out of bed in the morning that’s the toughest of course). And how many people can say that, how many people can confidently and genuinely express that they love what they do?
Ian, you are forever changing my life. The contents of your heart swim so freely and purely. I love the way your hands are filled with magic. The energy you radiate is remarkable – it’s expressive, open, and holds the key to locked treasure chests at the bottom of oceans. You harbor so much love that I ponder how it all fits in your heart. The way people fit in your heart is like the way a refrigerator door won’t close because it’s too stuffed, but you always find a way. You always find a way to snuggly piece everybody into your heart. I love the way you smirk when you overhear any of us saying something that you resonate with. I love when you are suddenly so excited that you can no longer hold it in. I love how you eat with such zest. I love the way you jump on the trampoline and then fall down, and when I fall down with you, you bounce back up, stretch out your arms, gesturing a helping hand like the little charming gentleman you are. I am experiencing how everything is interdependent, even though I very much believe in this already. It’s just different when someone else engages in your outlooks with you, and then they are no longer my viewpoints on life, but ours. It’s admirable the way you can attend to such articulate noises and the way you can feel such strong energies in each and every person. I can feel how you are very much aware of how energies shift, combine, expand, decrease, and increase. It’s a constant state of connection for you, even though it may appear that you are disconnected upon first glance. You aren’t difficult to connect with, you never have been. It’s all about dancing with opportunity and understanding. Like they say, it takes two to tango. You’re already there as is, connecting with the environment and the people. They just have to see it, feel it, trust it. Everybody around you just has to appreciate life the way its given. You feel the present moment and adore it as is. The love you have for existence is so enduring. It has no beginning, and it has no end. It just is.
Everything is always connected, just like how you brought me to you. I never found this job myself, it was just a matter of time before you connected me to you. And now I am seeing, feeling, and understanding the world in a brand new way. Like your mother was expressing to us earlier, everyone is one, and it wasn’t that anybody contacted your mother or discovered the advertisement. Rather, it was that you are slowly bringing people together and your mom is simply the messenger of it all. I am learning the beauty of interaction without words, but through bodily movements. I am revealed to the world of communicating through relaxation, eye contact, and emotions that we emit through our energy fields. It’s amazing Ian, the way you can pick up on how I am rushing, how comfortable I feel, my confusion, my hesitance, my enthusiasm, and my exhaustion…and you tell me it’s okay. You tell me it’s okay to be in any state of mind, to feel comfortable in any emotions. You show me that there is no reason to change myself, to try and feel something that I do not genuinely feel in that moment but desire to. So often people are frustrated over feeling unwanted emotions and try to abruptly mask them, alter them, rid of them. You show me honesty and integrity. You show me perspective and beauty. You show me there is no right or wrong, but just the art of being human and alive. You don’t say it, but I hear you. I always hear you in-between the foot stomps and toy rattling. You understand all of it, all the minuscule changes, because you feel them as your own.
And as me, I am me. And as me, I am you. And as you, you are you. And as you, you are me. And where does it separate, and is there even a separation? And through the past few days, I have learned much. I have learned you are a reaction to what others are feeling. The screams you exert while your mother, brother, and I are frantically moving around in the kitchen is a symbol of our combined heightened energies. It was because of you that we all made the conscious effort to walk away from the kitchen, each of us taking slow breaths to calm down our nervous system after your mother had brought it to my attention. And if it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be aware of what was happening within us, and how we contributed to the energies of the others around us at that very moment. You swallow the whole world, and when the world around you is in a state of peace, you are too. And though I have learned much, I have barely learned anything at all.
You are showing me the power of calamity, the importance of the present, the meaning of letting go, and the overwhelming presence of absolutely everything, from the barely audible footsteps to the stirring engine of the truck just outside your front porch. I’m supposed to be therapeutic, but you are therapy, for me, for everyone. You are the healing momentum of everyone connected to you, and we all learn from you. I am now understanding what your mother meant when she told me over the phone that you are her mentor. I am so lucky to know you, and I hope others have just as much of an opportunity to form a radically life-changing relationship with you as I am. You are my teacher, my friend, and I absolutely love you.
(Post-graduation, you aren’t so scary after all :D)