While traveling through Arizona many years ago I read Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism by Dawn Prince-Hughes, Ph.D. As the secondary title indicates, this is a first-hand account of autism. The author offers a vivid and insightful account of autism.
She was diagnosed rather late in her life, after a childhood punctuated by misunderstanding and isolation. Fortunately, she was able to learn about human socialization and relationships through her keen observation of gorilla communities. She writes, “This is a book about autism. Specifically, it is about my autism, which is both like and unlike other people’s autism. But just as much, it is a story about how I emerged from the darkness of it into the beauty of it. It is about how I moved full circle from being a wild thing out of context as a child, to being a wild thing in context with a family of gorillas, who taught me how to be civilized. They taught me the beauty of being wild and gentle together and as one.”
While there are many excellent texts about Asperger’s Syndrome and autism, this was the first book I read that described it from the inside. Dr. Prince-Hughes is eloquent in her poetry and prose. She describes confusion, rage, fear, and joyful discovery in a way that touches the reader’s heart and heightens understanding. Instead of lists of characteristics or clinical observations, this book placed the experience into context. My understanding has certainly been expanded by this book. I am hopeful that it will change my acceptance of the more “annoying” behaviors often associated with autism. It is harder to remain annoyed when I remember that the strong need for repetition exhibited by persons with autism can be the result of anxiety or panic. Dr. Prince-Hughes had this to say, “Most autistic people need order and ritual and will find ways to make order where they feel chaos. So much stimulation streams in, rushing into one’s body without ever being processed: the filters that other people have simply aren’t there. Swimming through the din of the fractured and the unexpected, one feels as if one were drowning in an ocean without predictability, without markers, without a shore. It is like being blinded
There are also examples of wonderful and intricate coping mechanisms. She used a formula to get along with people in the workplace. This included talking about her skills a third of the time, talking with colleagues about how their interests mergered for a third of the time, and talking about current events and “softened” opinions about them a third of the time. This had to be approached consciously. She also counted seconds to know how long to look into another person’s eyes and when to look away. Each of these required deliberate practice and application.
This book is a great source of information, but is also an incredibly engaging autobiography. Dr. Prince-Hughes has a wonderful command of language. Consider this self description, “I am an individual. I am different, for reasons germane to the phenomenon of autism and reasons mundane. All that is in between and at both ends have made my life. Within these pages, an archaeology cleared of dust and fear, I talk about this life. It is the archaeology of a culture of one.”
When I first published this article several years ago the title was I’ve Been Such A Good Girl – I think I’d like to poison myself today. That title sounds very provocative doesn’t it? But that is exactly what I was doing almost every day. I would reward myself for good behavior with substances that poison my body and strengthen the cravings for that poison. If I was good I would reward myself with ice cream. Although I learned to eat smaller portions, it was still essentially a poison in my body. If I had been really good I would reward myself with a slice of carrot cake from my favorite gluten free bakery. OK, it was gluten free, but it still had so many calories that it was bad for by body and my health. In addition, once I would eat it I was out of control for the rest of the day.
While I no longer look forward to opportunities to hurt my body, I have slipped back into the habit of thinking of unhealthy foods as rewards or eating larger portions than my body can handle. There are so many “diets” out there that build in opportunities for unhealthy indulgences. While that may help to overcome the feelings of deprivation that derail so many eating plans, it still doesn’t address the obsession with certain foods and messed up priorities. (Such as ice cream being more important than health.)
Its not like I’ve ever been really hungry and am reacting to that memory of hunger with overindulgence. I’m not hoarding food because I am preparing for a day of famine. Someday I hope to wake up from the nightmare of food addiction. It would be so cool to just eat when I’m hungry, eat the food my body needs, and stop looking forward to opportunities for unhealthy food.
I did pretty well for the last several years until a period of very high physical and emotional stress knocked me out of balance and I found myself again craving foods that I know are not in my best interest. I haven’t started eating foods that I am allergic to, but those unhealthy foods that I am not officially allergic to have crept back into my pantry and my body. I fell prey to the “anything in moderation” wisdom that is so prevalent.
The truth – at least my truth – is that I can’t handle eating some foods. They change how I feel, how I think, and how my body functions. If you share this experience I’d love to hear from you.
I’m not sure when I purchased the book, or how long it had been on my shelf before I finally got around to reading it. It was probably sitting there for quite a while. I have a habit of letting books call to me at the time of sale, but not necessarily reading thenm promptly.
Spirit Woman, by Lynn Andrews, was actually written as a sequel to Medicine Woman but it easily stands on its own. Lynn describes her teachings from Agnes Whistling Elk and Ruby Plenty Chiefs through the spiritual tool of medicine shields.
Lynn’s education is definitely “experiential” rather than a lecture format that we are so used to in suburban educational systems. Lynn’s teachers set up situations that required much of her beyond simple demonstrations of skill or knowledge. These learning experiences challenged her to become something different and to become aware of her own abilities, fears, and constricted beliefs.
The author’s writing style allows you to feel at times as if you are sitting at the table, experiencing the darkness, or knowing the joy. It is amazing to realize that this is a true story. During each chapter I questioned whether or not I could have done the things that Lynn did. I wonder, could you?
Not having much energy is a common problem for most of us. Below is a tapping exercise that may help to improve the situation. When I first used this one, lots of other issues popped up that needed tapping as well. You may want to have your tapping journal handy to jot down some notes.
If you are new to tapping, check out the Tapping Points video on the Meridian Tapping page before moving on.
Rate this statement on a 0-10 scale where 0=not true at all and 10=completely true, “I have low energy.” Write down the number.
Say these statements while tapping on the karate chop point: I don’t seem to have much energy lately. It is hard to get going and even harder to keep going. I just don’t seem to have the stamina I used to have and I want it back. Even though I’m lacking energy I love and accept myself completely. Even though I have no stamina, I am open to loving myuself anyway. Even though I have much less energy than what I think I need, I choose to accept myself just as I am.
Side of Eye…Low energy
Under the Eye…Lack of energy
Chin…Not enough to get going
Collarbone…Not enough to keep going either
Under the Arm…No energy
Top of Head…Need more energy
Side of Eye…I want more stamina
Under the Eye…I really miss having energy and stamina
Nose…It is bothering me
Chin…I am committed to improving my energy
Collarbone…I am open to raising my energy level
Under the Arm…I am eager to understand my current energy
Top of Head…I accept myself with or without energy and stamina
Take a deep breath and release it gently. Now say the statement again “I have low energy.” Rate it on the 0-10 scale. Has there been a change? Did any other thoughts come up? If the rating number is lower, you can tap on those new thoughts or continue tapping with statements similar to the ones above.
Energy Tapping by Fred Gallo and Harry Vincenzi was one of the first books on Energy Psychology (EP) that I read and I’m delighted to have read it again after more than a decade of doing EP with others. In addition to being a great introductory text for EP work and tapping, this book has features that set it apart from many other books in the genre including a chapter about energy toxins, a great description of beliefs and their impact on feelings and behavior, and perhaps the best chapter anywhere on Psychological Reversal and Self Sabotage.
Beyond the basics of how to do tapping, the authors provide easy to follow instruction and numerous case examples so that the reader can feel confident in addressing a variety of emotions and situations. The page formatting and easy to understand graphics add to the experience and the ease of use.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their life circumstance. Whether you are a seasoned health care provider or new to energy work, this book has much to offer.
I know this site is pretty ugly. I know it has many flaws. Please read on. As you can tell, I’ve not been on here for a long time. So much has happened. I’ve moved. I broke my arm. I changed jobs. The site itself went wonky. Most of my content disappeared. That’s the short list.
I found it all very disappointing and frustrating. Each time I thought of something I wanted to write I bumped up against a lot of internal dialogue about not knowing how to fix the site, not knowing anything about formatting, not having a computer/web guru at my disposal, thinking that I suck at promoting myself, and believing that I needed to have all of that figured out before making my first post.
I’m not sure what changed my mind but I decided to let this be a work in progress. I’ve been immersing myself in PMA and self-help literature, tapping furiously, and trying to overcome my need to appear perfect. So….I’m diving back in.
If you have stayed with me this far into the post, I’m hoping you will support me by sharing posts that you enjoy, giving me feedback, and sharing your own stories. I promise that I will be working to make the site work more efficiently and more visually pleasing, but that will take time. Do you have suggestions? I’m listening.
Although I had promised myself that things would be different this year, I found myself standing at UPS with packages to ship with less than an hour before the cost would rise substantially if I wanted them to arrive before Christmas. As you might imagine, the store was packed. To my right was a woman filling out the paperwork to ship a package to her daughter who is stationed in the Middle East for the United States Air Force. She mentioned it quietly but the person behind the counter repeated some of the information to verify accuracy, and another worker got involved while trying to expedite things.
Because the worker was also trying to take care of my three packages while helping the mother of our service member, there were several short periods where I needed to wait. Actually, I’m glad I did.
The man to my left was shipping something large, but finished his transaction quickly. Before he left, he handed money to the clerk and gestured that it was to help pay the cost of the shipping to the Middle East. Then he quietly left. He said nothing directly to the mother.
I was still waiting when the mother was given the total cost for her shipping, then the clerk advised her of the man’s generosity and deducted his gift from her total and shared with her the man’s statement of gratitude for her daughter’s service to our country. She cried. The sales clerk cried. I got a bit misty myself.
It is easy to bemoan the lack of civility and caring in society today but that would be a mistake. It is still there. I’m now challenged that if I’m not seeing it in others, I need to act it out myself. I know that the rest of that day I was just a little happier, a little nicer, and a little more hopeful.