Friday, April 18th, 2014

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With Charlie Morley, Martha Beck, Koelle Simpson, & Lisa Tran

With Charlie Morley, Martha Beck, Koelle Simpson, and Lisa Tran

On December 3rd 2011, I had the opportunity to attend TEDx San Diego The World In Our Grasp to hear Martha Beck and Koelle Simpson share their stories.  

For those of you that know me well, you know how much I love them and value their body of work.

If you’re new to my blog, these two ladies have played an integral part in my journey back to love.  They taught me and continue to teach me how to experience life in a loving, peaceful, playful state.

Martha released her latest book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World in December as well.  It’s definitely one of my favorites.  Her TEDx talk provides a delicious taste for what you’ll find in her new book about the four technologies of magic plus epic story telling.  I love her madly.

If you do not know Koelle or her work, one of the foundational messages she shares is leadership from within, from a place of love and compassion.  She learned this from horses and nature.  In her TEDx talk she shares a moving, powerful story about a horse named Max.

Please enjoy their talks and I’d love to hear your comments so please share below.

Martha Beck’s TEDx San Diego Talk – The Four Technologies of Magic

Koelle Simpson’s TEDx San Diego Talk – A Horse Named Max

With love,
Diane

As Ian and I settled into the car I turned to him and said, “Love, this is our adventure and we get to decide how this works. You just let me know what you need and I’m so happy to have you as my travel companion.” We had 400 solo miles ahead of us to get to Del Mar and my mind was filled with questions like, “How will this work with just me?” and “Can I do it?”

Ian has autism and does not use verbal language…yet.  He is an exceptional communicator using all the other non-verbal channels especially the vibrational channel of energy.  He teaches me to tune into the language of vibration every day for which I am deeply grateful.

I started playing music as we drove and both of us got lost in the melodies.  Time seemed to pass effortlessly.

Then came Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2.  He’s one of my absolute favorite composers (from Russia) that shared his gift with the world in the early 1900’s.  (The YouTube clip below is from the first movement of this concerto)  Within the first few minutes came tears that transitioned into sobs.  Tears streamed as I released and allowed the emotions to move through me without resistance.

When I reached the point where it felt complete and the emotions had moved through, a gentle message surfaced with clarity.  The message?  “You have everything you need right here, right now.  In this moment, you have Love.”

A smiled broadened across my face and I glanced back to my angel who sat with his hands crossed, looking out the window with a look of complete peace on his face.

Yes, this is Love.

We passed the rest of our journey to Del Mar in a state of peace.  It was the easiest car ride I’d ever experienced.

Here he is moments after our arrival with his father and brother with the sunset and ocean in the backdrop.

Ian Del Mar

Do you use music to help calm the chaos at the end of the day or lift you up when you need a boost in energy?

With my two sisters, Nancy and Linda and teachers, June Davison and Dr. Leo Podolsky.  I'm on the right.

With my two sisters, Nancy and Linda and teachers, June Davison and Dr. Leo Podolsky. I'm on the right.

I’ve done so since a very young age.  As a child aged 6-17, I studied classical piano with a great master, Dr. Leo Podolsky from Russia who introduced me to some very powerful music.

At the time I had no idea how profound an affect the vibration of sound would have on my life and how it would lead me to where I am today, learning about the power of energy.  I’m inspired to share with you what has opened up my awareness to how we all communicate, through vibration.

Music has a gentle yet powerful way of accessing all kinds of emotions depending on the style, melody, and rhythm.  But you don’t necessarily think about any of this while you’re listening.  You just take in all the sounds and vibrations; receive them through your auditory sensory pathway and feel.

Music activates the right brain and quiets the constant chatter of your verbal mind.

When you get caught up in a stressful situation, or feel overwhelmed with a problem, music provides a break from the story your mind is telling and allows you to access your emotions and tap into your inner wisdom without any effort.

How do you feel after attending a really outstanding concert performance whether it is classical, rock, blues, or any other style that connects with your soul?  Are you aware of the physical sensations in your body while listening to the music?

Here’s an exercise to help increase your awareness to the way emotions feel in your body.  I call it “The Vibration of Emotion through Music”

  1. Find a piece of music that you love. Here’s a YouTube video of one of my favorite pieces of music for you to try if you’d like.
  2. Settle into a quiet space and get comfortable.  You may want a piece of paper and something to write with handy to capture any words or phrases that come up throughout the process.
  3. Start the music with the intention to just listen to the vibration of sound. Finding a piece of music without lyrics for this may be helpful the first time around.
  4. Notice how the vibration feels in your body and where you feel it.  What are the physical sensations that you notice?  Where in your body do you feel the physical sensations?
  5. As you tune into the physical sensations, see if you can just flow with them, allowing any physical movement or sounds to move through your body.
  6. Now ask yourself “What emotion am I feeling?” There’s no right or wrong here, it’s just about noticing.
  7. Lastly, if you notice any phrases or ideas or words coming up, jot them down without filtering. Sometimes you’ll just get one word or you’ll get an entire thought.  You may even notice that the solution to the problem you were lamenting pops into your mind without any effort or your brilliant idea that was just out of reach becomes crystal clear.  This is what happens when you quiet the chatter of the left-brain and give the right brain the space to be heard.

Every emotion has a vibrational frequency.

As you become more and more emotion-aware, you’ll begin to see how that vibration radiates outwardly to everyone around.  When you’re in a state of love, others will want to connect with you because it feels good to be around you.  When you’re in a state of fear, others will feel less motivated to connect.  This plays out in every interaction you have.  I invite you to start noticing how people in your life respond to you when you’re feeling really good versus feeling scared and stressed.

I’d love to hear your feedback.  Please share you comments and let me know what you experience.

I believe in vision boards 1000%! A vision board is a place where you express what’s alive in you.  It provides a physical representation of your dreams.  When you create a vision board and focus your intention and attention on the feeling state of your board, you become your own deliberate creator, the leader of your experience. For a brilliant explanation of vision boards, check out Martha Beck’s article in O Magazine.

Vision BoardLast October I created this vision board.  At the center you’ll see a map of Africa with a plane pointed directly at South Africa. Two years ago I felt the first pull to go connect with the animals and I dreamed of watching them in their natural setting.

The destination - Londolozi.

The Varty family runs the Londolozi game reserve.  They have restored the natural habitat for the animals and created an oasis of paradise both for the animals and the human guests.  Because of the gentle way the trackers and guides introduce the animals to the vehicles, many of the animals allow the vehicles to come right up next to them for spectacular sightings.  If you’ve dreamed of visiting the South African bush, check out Londolozi and their blog.

June 2011, eight months after the creation of my vision board, I found myself on a plane about to embark on a powerful awakening experience.

When I made this board I didn’t have the faintest clue how I would manage to travel half way around the world, about as far away from home as possible, and leave my husband and two young children home.  The two big challenges were how would I fund the trip and who would help care for my children while my husband worked during the day?It didn’t matter that I didn’t know the how.  I trusted the path would reveal itself.

What provided the magic juice was a clarity of intention and focused attention while making the vision board then letting go of attachment to the outcome! But wait, wasn’t the outcome to go to South Africa?  Yes.  But the real power lay in not caring whether it happened or not.  Wha-wha-wha-what?

Sounds like a contradiction doesn’t it?

Bottom line is it comes down to energy. Everything we do has an energetic quality to it and when you really, really, REALLY want something to happen you tend to communicate a graspy, needy energy.

Ever feel that one?  I have.  Like when I really, really wanted a boy in high school to like me.  Guess what?  He wanted nothing to do with me.  He wanted to hang out with the girl that paid him no mind. Hmmmm, interesting.

When you focus on the outcome and get graspy and needy, this feeling state expands outward to everything around you. How do you feel when you’re around someone expressing needy behaviors? Do you want to get closer or move away?  My hunch is move away. It doesn’t feel good.  The same concept applies to outcomes. Whatever it is you desire, when you focus intensely on the outcome, it runs away.  But when you shift your focus to the feeling state of what you’ll feel when you do have it, ah, then you’re on to something.

When you really want something try this.

  1. See if you can identify the feelings you will feel when you have what you desire.  For example safety or happiness or a feeling of peace.
  2. Then see if you can find some examples in your life where you feel that way now.

When you realize you already have what you need to reach a desired feeling state, your energy shifts to a more relaxed way of being. You may have a desire for something but now without the attachment to whether your get it or not because you don’t need it to happen in order to feel a certain way.  You’re already there.

For my vision board, I imagined what it would feel like if I were in South Africa.  The feeling states I focused on were powerful, loving and free.

When I took a moment to gaze at my vision board and sink into those feeling states, my clear vision and focused intention led the process.

After making the vision board, it ended up tucked it away on my office and ended up falling behind my desk.  It wasn’t until April that I found it – when I was just getting ready to purchase my airlines tickets!  I didn’t focus on it daily.  What I did was set a clear, focused intention while creating the vision board then let go and released attachment to the how it would happen.

As the months passed, each step revealed itself one after the other.

I followed the steps without analysis.  I followed actions where I felt inspired and alive, where I felt those feeling states of power, love and freedom.  I embraced an attitude of curiosity, playfulness and excitement to see where the path would lead.

As I type this, I’m amazed at how it worked.  I used effort but not force. The effort came with a sense of ease as though it was completely natural to take that next step.  Almost as though it had already happened and I just needed to show up.

I had no idea what revelations and gifts lay ahead as I boarded the plane in San Francisco that afternoon in June and that was perfectly okay by me. I didn’t want any preconceived expectations to interfere with being completely present to take in all the lessons the experience had to offer. And wow did it deliver!

What’s your big vision?  Have you created a vision board?  If not, don’t take my word for it.  Test it out for yourself and see what happens.  I’d love to hear.  Who knows, you may find yourself living out a lifelong dream!  If you have created one, I would love to hear about your vision and experience leading your life.  Please share your comments on the blog.

Mother holding handYesterday my caregiver called in sick, which meant I adjusted my workday to spend the day with Ian.  If you’ve read my blog before you’re aware that Ian has autism, is pre-verbal and he is highly sensitive to all the non-verbal cues in his environment.

I let him know I wanted to run some errands (my need) and he walked to the car, opened the door, climbed in and was ready to go.  All was calm.  First stop, the bank, which took longer than expected.  I noticed he started to get antsy.  I checked in with my own body and felt a little tense.  (my feeling) Hmmm, he was mirroring my energy perfectly.

Second stop, CVS.  I already had the thought that the bank took too long and going to CVS might push him too far.  I wanted to get a money order and a couple items.  Ah, I realized I was attached to the outcome and as we walked the aisles he started to get vocal. I took a couple deep breaths, let go, returned to the present moment and started to sing to him, which calmed him down.  We both relaxed, I found the item and we headed to the checkout.

Several people stood in line before us and I thought, “I don’t know if he’ll be okay waiting.”  Guess what?  He wasn’t. He yelled.  People turned towards us with that expression of “what the heck was that?” They had a look of confusion as they saw this 9-year-old boy making strange noises. He felt their energy and yelled more.

I took a couple deep breaths and noticed tension in my own body and thoughts arose that he was disrupting the store and the shoppers. Then I paused, came back to the present and trusted I had all the power to lead him through this experience safely and calmly. He just wanted to feel safe and be led.  (his need) It didn’t matter what the shoppers thought, that was their business.

He didn’t feel safe and he let me know with his behaviors. At this point he even hit me a couple times to really get his message across because it was taking me a bit longer than usual to come back to the moment.

I set a boundary with love and compassion and let him know I heard him.

I connected with his need to feel safe.  I reassured him that he was perfectly safe, I was there with him.

My voice was calm and loving (because the words don’t matter) and let him know I trusted he could do this.  I asked him for patience and to stay with me.  (my request) I found my way back to a peaceful state and he began to calm down.

He did go towards the door one time where I gently redirected him back into the store.  I didn’t physically stop him; my body blocked him from about four feet in front of him.  Then my hand extended an invitation to go back inside.  I reiterated that I trusted he could do this, waited for him to take my hand and led him back to the checkout counter.

He expressed himself a couple more times and I didn’t react or give it attention. We completed the purchase and as we walked out together I thanked him for his understanding and patience.

He had the room and freedom to express himself; I didn’t try to stop him from yelling.  I made requests and he granted most of them and the ones he didn’t, I set boundaries.  I didn’t physically restrain him or force him to do anything.

In the past, before working with the horses I would have spiraled into a state of stress and anxiety right along with him.  I likely would have left frustrated before making my purchase and felt like an bad mom. It also would have shown him that type of behavior worked to get out of the store.

Thankfully, I now have another way to navigate these experiences when I stay present, calm, aware, unattached to a specific outcome and connected with both of our needs.

If you’d like to learn how to restore calm in your relationships and lead from a place of peace, I’m here to show you there is a way and it feels like freedom!

The Process

So how do we as parents teach our children what is important in life without telling them what to do?  Here the process I use and I hope by sharing the example above you have a feel for how it works.

The short answer – you show rather than tell.

You invite without attachment to outcome.  You lead by example and give your children the space to express themselves so they have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.  When their behavior doesn’t feel good, you set boundaries with love and compassion.

What keeps parents from doing this?  Fear.

Fear that if you let go of control chaos will result.  Do you relate to this?  I sure do.  I’m a self-proclaimed recovering control-a-holic and have been in a state of deep letting go for two years now.  If you answered yes, what do you fear will happen if you allow your child the space to express himself and make mistakes?

When we tell our children what to do we squash their basic human need for autonomy and this is where resistance and power struggles arise.  We teach them to behave to please others and disconnect from their own inner guidance system.  I’m not saying allow your child to do whatever he or she wants.

I’m saying lead your own life and allow them the space to make choices.  Let them know when their actions and behaviors make you uncomfortable and set healthy boundaries…with love and compassion.

I’ll say it again, set healthy boundaries with love and compassion, not with frustration and demands.  These are two very different approaches.  One represents true leadership and the other, control and domination.  How do you feel when someone tells you what to do and you feel you have no choice?

There is another way to parent from a place of peace.

One rapid way to learn is step into a round pen with a horse.  But since you’re likely sitting in a chair reading this from some type of electronic device here’s a list of steps to help you find your place of peace.

  1. Awareness – Notice when when you feel any sort of tension in your body or emotion that creates stress.  Notice what happens in your body and where.  Your child will feel your stress.
  2. Identify your need. Ask yourself what you need in this moment to return to a state of calm.  Sometimes it just takes a pause and a couple deep breaths.  Other times it may take a lot more including some thought work.  Have compassion for that part of you that’s struggling.
  3. Identify your child’s need. What is the need behind the expression/words/behavior from your child.  See if you’re able to see past the behavior and hear the need your child is trying to communicate no matter how distorted it’s getting expressed.  Every behavior is a form of communication.
  4. Connect with your child’s need with compassion, understanding and empathy.  This may not require any words.
  5. Set healthy boundaries with love and compassion when your child’s behavior doesn’t feel comfortable to you.
  6. Make a request without attachment to whether the request is met or not.  Allow them the space to make a mistake and learn from that experience as long as it is safe to do so and set boundaries where you need to.
  7. Stay present throughout this process.  If you notice yourself getting all wound up in thoughts and emotions ground yourself back in the present by focusing on the five senses.  What do you see, smell, hear, feel, taste?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please share in the comments what works for you or where you find yourself getting stuck.

I received a message this morning that read, “Truth be told, Diane, it takes so very, very little to be happy.  But you already knew that.”  I thought about it for a moment and realized how very true that little statement is.  Can you think of something super simple that brings a smile to your face and warms you up all over?  Something so simple it is almost unnoticeable until you DO notice and realize the power of that brief moment?  A smile from a stranger walking down the street, a grocery clerk offering to help take out your load of groceries, your child giving you an unsolicited hug just because.  For me, hugs are the BEST!

Here’s an example I’d like to share.  Last night I watched my five-year old dance with Ellen DeGeneres.  It’s one of his favorite things to do.  When I’m feeling a little low on energy, I queue up a recording of the Ellen DeGeneres Show (LOVE Tivo!!) and fast forward to Ellen dancing and off he goes.  He’ll rewind it over and over again to extend that joyful emotion move through his body in the form of dance.  He exudes joy and everyone in his presence feels it.  If you listen, you’ll hear Ian chime in with his squeals of delight on the video.  Brings a smile to my face every time!

Don’t skip those moments.  Notice them.  Practice bringing your awareness to them.  When you start to focus your attention on finding the simple joys you might be surprised to find them string them together and realize the stuff in between doesn’t have as much power.  What simple joys do you notice in your life?

It began as a cool morning in the Arizona desert with horses.

Horses in the desert

I was attending a three-day horse workshop offered by Martha Beck and Koelle Simpson titled, “How To Makes Things Happen.” and wow, was it about to happen for me in a massive way.  I now look back at this moment as a pivotal point in my life when I was heading in one direction and then within moments, shifted to a completely new path. I went from feeling trapped to realizing I had all the power within me to be free.

It amazes me how life works when I pay attention.  I read about the workshop on Martha’s website the week before it and thought, “Hmmmm, that sounds interesting, working with horses to make things happen?” The concept intrigued me.  Then two days before it began, while hubby and I were enjoying some rare alone time in Tahoe,  something inside me said, “you are meant to go.”  During one of the chair lift rides up the mountain surrounded by glorious views and snow I ran the crazy idea by Lowell.  He took a deep breath and said, “so, I’ll want to hear all about it!” Thank you, whomever you are out in the universe for giving me such a supportive partner.

Lowell and Diane in Kirkwood

Lowell and Diane in Kirkwood

The next night I boarded a plane headed for Phoenix for a marvelously surprising three-day journey where I learned amazing lessons from horses, uncovered buried truths about myself and discovered a freedom that rocked my world.

The first night Martha and Koelle sent the twelve of us back to our respective hotels with a homework assignment. We were given a worksheet with several questions and the one at the top read, “Who angers, frustrates, or confuses you and why?” I vividly remember driving the forty minutes back to my hotel asking myself the question but coming up blank.  Once back at the hotel, I messed about for hours.  I checked email, watched TV and then climbed into bed still drawing a blank.  I felt blocked.  Little did I know, I was about to blow past that barrier in a big way. At around 11:00pm when my body really wanted to go to sleep (another great avoidance technique) I finally figured it out and the tears started to flow. No quiet tears here.  I sobbed, I wailed and I felt grief tear through me deep into my core. Here’s the thought what came to the surface.

“I’m angry and frustrated with Ian because I feel trapped, stuck and frozen”

Ian smiling

My sweet angel

“Holy *%#@! Did I really just think that? Did I really just write that down on paper? Do I really feel that?  Man, that’s painful!  I’m his mother, I’m not supposed to think that way.  I’m a horrible mother!” Massive tears making sense now? Later I would learn these tears are necessary and oh so critical to release my pain and allow the emotion to move through me. I had supressed grief for years. YEARS!!!! I thought I had already grieved since I’d been through quite a bit of therapy.  Nope, still more to go. Since that moment I’ve learned a lot about how suppressed feelings can unleash all kinds of havoc in the body in the form of physical pain in addition to the emotional pain.  This was my moment to open up to my healing and reconnect with myself, though at the time it truly just felt like hell.

The next morning I felt incredibly fragile, raw and exposed. Martha invited us to share our homework.  She worked with a few others before I felt brave enough to speak out loud what I had written the night before. When she turned to me to do her magic where she opens doors and invites you through them something inside me said, “Go for it baby. You are totally safe here.” So I did. I leaped straight in and Martha gently, so very gently and with immense compassion, guided me through my inquiry process.

When I reiterated my painful thought that I felt trapped, stuck and frozen by my son, Ian, she asked questions like, is that true? Can you absolutely know that it is always true? Who do you become when you believe that thought? How does your body feel when you believe that thought? Who would you be without that thought?

I had answers like “yes, it’s true” then “well, hmmm, no I can’t know that it’s absolutely true because I’m here at this workshop not trapped by my son.”

Who did I become? This horrible, over controlling, out-of-control mother moving at a frenzied pace trying to run away from the feelings of grief. I did my very best to control my emotions. Ooooo, THAT didn’t get me to my happy place!!!!  I was ready to break free.

How did my body feel? Well, I’ve had chronic physical ailments for years that doctors can’t figure out how to help and it’s only worsened in the last several years.  My body has been screaming at me trying to get my attention!  I’m listening now!!

Who would I be without that thought? Freer, lighter, open, relaxed and able to enjoy the moments with my son. I remember taking a deep breath, and upon exhaling releasing tension and suffering and inhaling relaxation and peace.

The truth I discovered is that my son doesn’t trap me, my THOUGHTS do. I have all the power to change any thoughts.  My thoughts represent my perception of reality, my interpretation and no matter how much I believe my thoughts to be true, when I question them, I realize they are purely stories and I can change the story if I don’t like the current one I’m telling.  So, with this story, instead of being angry and frustrated with Ian I realized I was angry and frustrated with myself because I was feeling trapped, stuck and frozen by my THOUGHT or STORY that I created about Ian having autism.  Still with me?  I was the one responsible for holding the bars up in front of my face all along and I had all the power to drop those bars and drop my painful story that caused so much emotional and physical suffering.  When I opened up to the truth, I discovered there were no walls behind the bars, no walls trapping me in. Freedom suddenly appeared everywhere.

How DID she do it? Martha used a method developed by Byron Katie. To learn more about her work you can visit her website. Byron Katie illuminates light and love from every ounce of her being. As Martha led me through this inquiry process I dropped the bars.  I’ve been flying ever since, more like soaring because I’m so much lighter. The burden of that painful thought drained my energy and I felt heavy as though I was walking through deep sand on the beach. The sand sucked me down. Now, I walk lightly on the sand without sinking. I’m open to possibilities that continue to reveal themselves. My relationship with my son has transformed into a beautiful connection of love and respect. I’m letting go of the desire to control everything.  I continue to practice that one on a daily basis and the shift inside feels gigantic.

I’m deeply grateful for the experience of my first horse workshop. It is where I discovered my freedom and reconnected with my inner truth. I’m no longer stuck in the sand and it feels peaceful, joyful and full of love. I encourage you to explore the areas in your life where it feels like the sand is sucking you down. Could it be your thoughts that are causing you so much pain? Is it worth asking some questions?

Ask some questions

The answer comes from the questions

If you’re still with me, first, thank you for allowing me to share my story and I invite you to ask the question Martha and Koelle asked me on that first night.

Who angers, frustrates, or confuses you and why? Then ask yourself these four questions from Byron Katie.

Is it true?

Can you absolutely know that it’s always true?

How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? How is your thought working for you?  How do you feel in your body?  I believe our body tells us when our thought is untrue.  When we feel discomfort in any form within our body it means our thoughts are confused and it’s time to question.  Many of us endure great suffering to avoid the truth.  What truth are you suppressing?

Who would you be without the thought? If you could drop you story just for a moment and not believe it, who would you be?  How would you feel?  This is an incredibly important question because it allows you to open up to the possibility of what it would actually feel like not to have that thought, even for a moment.  Sometimes this is all you need to get some wiggle room to find other possibilities.

Can you think of another thought that might work better? This is what Byron Katie calls the turnaround.  This is where you take your story and turn it to state the opposite and find another thought that is as true or truer than the original thought.  It’s very important to come up with at least three specific examples of evidence of how the turn around thought is true so your brain will actually believe it.  Evidence is key here.

For details on how to turn the thought around, please visit Byron Katie’s website page titled, The Work, where she explains the turn around beautifully.

Here’s the deal.  By asking questions, I opened up an entirely new way to live and perceive my life.  Do I continue to have stressful thoughts?  Oh yes indeed!  I have them each and every day.  What I do differently is try to catch them, notice them BEFORE they take over the wheel of my emotional bus.  I’m a project in process, forever in process of learning and growing.

I invite you to consider the possibility that it is not the reality of a situation but rather your thoughts about that reality that drives your emotional bus.  If you have thoughts that bring you joy and happiness, excellent!  Hold on to them.  However, if your thoughts result in pain and suffering or cause you to act in a way that you don’t desire then consider exploring a less painful, stressful thought that you can believe just as much as your initial thought.  You have all the power within yourself to find your freedom.  Perhaps begin by asking the question, is it true?

I had the opportunity to attend a brilliant symposium yesterday entitled, Making Healthy Babies, Raising Healthy Children: Living well in a toxic world, that united scientists, doctors, researchers and professionals to discuss environmental influences around birth and childhood.  I was in the presence of visionaries, pioneers and healers presenting their unique perspective at the entire system that affects our children and future generations.  I walked away inspired and filled with gratitude for each of their unique contributions to change the world.  It was quite clear that each one of the presenters affect positive change in the world with love, compassion and dedication to their mission.

My sole purpose for this post is to introduce you to these amazing, extraordinary individuals.  First, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a visionary who will not be deterred by the endless barrage of personal and professional attacks because he’s brave enough to conduct scientific research that asks the tough questions and challenges the way in which vaccines are tested and administered.  He has dedicated his career to finding answers and helping children that suffer in pain.  He is driven by a force for good without ego and I stand in awe of his mission.  He is the Executive Director of Thoughtful House Center for Children.

Dr. Marshall Klaus, a pioneer who radically altered the way we view the birth experience and the bonding between baby, mother and father within the first two hours of life.  He and his wife, Phyllis Klaus, a psychotherapist have written several books about mothering the mother during the birth experience.

Dr. Kenneth Bock, a compassionate healer who for over a decade has dedicated his entire medical practice to promoting a new level of wellness and has treated and improved the lives of over 2,000 children affected with the diagnosis of autism.

Julie Matthews, an autism nutrition consultant who provides nourishing hope for autism.

Sharyle Patton, environmental activist and director of the Commonweal Health and Environment Program that seeks to protect human and ecosystem health from environmental contaminants.

Elizabeth Davis, a renowned expert on women’s issues and midwife, educator and consultant for over 30 years.  Her view on birth is quite unique and opens up the possibilities to consider birth as an ecstatic experience versus a frightening, painful experience.

Finally, the M.C., Carolyn Raffensperger who created a beautiful space filled with love, compassion and openness.  As an environmental lawyer she specializes in the fundamental changes in law and policy necessary for the protection and restoration of public health and the environment.

A special thank you goes to the four women who created the vision for this event and made it possible.

Elizabeth Horn, co-founder of the Autism Recovery Consortium to support continued research into autism recovery. Along with Dr. Martha Herbert of Harvard and Michael Lerner of Commonweal.  She co-founded the autism group that meets regularly at Commonweal called NPART (New Paradigms for Autism Recovery and Treatment).  She produced a documentary film entitled, “Finding the Words” about children recovering from autism.

Maureen Bock, founder of the Ryder Foundation whose mission is to raise money for organizations that make a difference in the lives of children with autism.  She is a mother of a child who no longer meets the criteria of autism.

Diana Paul, filmmaker and founding director of Sage Femme, a non-profit organization that produces the Motherbaby International Film Festivals and promotes and educates about EcoBirth.

Molly Arthur, Managing Director of Sage Femme.  Molly is also the inspiration behind EcoBirth, a philosophy linking birth and the environment.

I want to share a short story with you that had me and Lowell in hysterics last night. I hope you enjoy!

So, last night at the dinner table Lowell asked our five year old son Lane to share the best part of his day at kindergarten. Lane replied, “eating lunch with my friends.” So Lowell asked who were his friends and Lane proceeded to name them one by one. “Orin, Lauren, Aiden, jackass…”

Lowell and I looked at each other quizzically. Did we just hear our son say jackass? We also started breaking up and Lane wanted to know why Mommy and Daddy were laughing. So, Lowell calmly asked Lane to name the kids again as he didn’t quite understand.

Lane said, “Orin, Lauren, Aiden, jackass…”

There it was AGAIN! By now Lowell and I were in hysterics. Tears were starting to stream out of my eyes. Lane was now laughing with us but had no idea why. If Mommy and Daddy were laughing, it must be funny.

So Lane asked, “Why are you laughing?”

Ok, here comes the conundrum. We didn’t want to tell him why we were laughing and yet we still wanted to ask more questions because we just couldn’t believe he was really saying what we “THOUGHT” we were hearing. So, Lowell very gently asked him one more time to say the names. Lane was quite patient with Daddy, he didn’t know why he kept asking. But again, we heard, “Orin, Lauren, Aiden, jackass…” This time Lowell stopped and asked him about the last name.

Lane very emphatically explained, “Daddy, it’s Jack S. not Jack R.”

OOOHhhhhh, NOW we got it. Apparently, there are two boys in Lane’s class named Jack with last names that begin with S and R so the teacher calls the boys Jack S. and Jack R. I wonder if the teacher has any idea how it sounds when the kids say the names??? Lane had lunch with Orin, Lauren, Aiden and Jack S.!

We cried tears of laughter for several minutes and Lane thought his story was hilarious and yet had no idea why. That was irrelevant. What did matter was our connection through sharing our laughter and our combined energy created such a feeling of pure joy. Lane understood completely with no explanation necessary.

When I told Lowell I planned to post the story on my blog Lane thought that was so cool. His response, “Mommy, you can share the story with anyone and I hope they laugh too.” He loves to share the energy of joy.

So, did you laugh, well, did ya? Lane hopes so. :)

I’m motivated to write this entry as a result of reading a thread in one of my Yahoo! groups. I’d like to share a key concept that keeps me sane and helps me navigate the world of Autism with my non-verbal son. If I stay in my business, tend to my happiness and listen to my internal guidance system (because it is my personal belief that I know my child better than anyone else) then I’m in good shape and my family and child benefit. It’s when I start getting into other people’s business, judge what they’re doing, or allow other people’s opinions and judgments to influence my decisions when I personally get into trouble, experience frustration and stress. Often, as a result, I make poor decisions for my child’s protocol.

From my perspective, I prefer to make decisions based on the thoughts I personal believe. If I make decisions based on what I think I “should” do because someone else said I “should”, no matter what their qualifications, and I did NOT believe it, I go crazy. It’s when I research, contemplate, evaluate objectively and then trust that the decision I’ve made for a treatment option for my son comes from within me and no where else that I find relief for myself and my child. Then I notice, observe, and make adjustments based on the feedback I receive from my non-verbal child. I believe my child is communicating with me all the time with every sound, every behavior and every circumstance. I remind myself daily to tend to my business, stay out of other people’s business and listen beyond the words. Is this easy? No! However, for me it is infinitely less stressful, more productive, and non-resistive than doing the opposite. When I’m getting into other people’s business I ask myself, who’s tending to mine?

I appreciate others personal expression of their thoughts and perspective and I invite you to express yours.

As a mother of a child with Autism I am all too familiar with the feelings of self-loathing, self-judgment, disappointment, and inadequacy. All feelings that accompanied my journey into the depths of hell. I could certainly write entry after entry about my sad, sorry story. I’ve been there. It wasn’t pretty and it most definitely wasn’t fun. I more accurately remember it as extremely lonely and isolating.

I’m no longer there. I now realize that my feelings of loneliness and isolation were a direct result of being disconnected from myself. What I want to share with you is the discovery that I have within me all the power necessary find my truth inside. To do that, I had to reconnect with me again, fall in love, and shower myself with compassion.

One of the magical shifts that happened inside my head, inside my thoughts was the moment I welcomed the idea of living in compassion. Compassion. I love the sound of the word when I speak it out loud. I even love the way the letters look together on paper. Come passion, come back to me. The passion for life. I invited it back. Damn, it feels good.

The truth is my circumstances remain the same. I still am a mother of a child with Autism. What has changed dramatically is the way I think of myself and from there everything radiates. Living life with compassion for myself and for everyone and everything; from that perspective, life looks pretty darn attractive.