Monday, September 30, 2019

Auitsm Answer: A Person Is Not A Courtroom

Hand on hip

A Person often looks at someone disapprovingly, even angrily, and thinks, "For goodness sake! They should do these things instead...." and then they proceed to judge that person's actions, replacing them with several things their own life and experiences and physiology and psychology have given them to use as they go about their days and choose their own actions.

We don't all have the same opportunities or abilities or experiences or support groups. The separation of our stories is - though always built on foundations with sameness, and always fluttering within and alongside each other - dangerous to disregard.

Our beliefs and actions stem from the story of our lives and the raw material we have to work with. And so we can fairly think: "I would probably do these things instead, if it was me in that situation." Although, even that thought experiment is imperfect. The truth is, if it was us in that situation, we would likely be surprised by our own feelings and knee-jerk reactions, which would maybe not match those of the person we are watching but would also quite possibly not match the ones we imagine we would have.

Hence, I suggest we remind ourselves to allow interest in the actions of others but rein in the judgments. They build barricades that keep us from truly connecting and learning from each other, and more often than not they are unkind. But even seemingly kind judgments swiftly made get in the way of actually connecting. They label the way we hear and see a person, editing it all to fit our assumption. Hence, even a kind judgment can play an unkind role.

So I think we are all-around better off keeping our judgments to a minimum.

(Think of how long a court case generally lasts, how much work it takes to bring so much evidence and possibilities to a judge or jury who then spends much time considering and reaching into history for precedence and conversing and then choosing a judgment that is rarely unanimous. A Person is not a courtroom. So we should not consider our job that of judging, but even when we do - and sometimes we are in a position to make a judgment on a person in our lives - lets at least take the kind of time expected of a judge. Though, since we are not a courtroom, I believe it is also okay to be less unbiased and take on a role of defending what is best for ourselves. We are our own client.)

Just a thought I was thinking on a Monday morning.

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

"Forming opinions is a balancing act. We've got to consider the opinions of others - they help us gather information from diverse origins - while not falling into the easy habit of merely agreeing or disagreeing. Forming opinions is a balancing act and requires using our muscles." ~Tsara Shelton, author of Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself, Oxford Comma Advocate, and Careful Former of Opinions.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Autism Answer: The Loop (And Adorable Proof)

Funny story, 

I was writing and editing the upcoming edition of The Loop, our every-other-month newsletter, when I realized that the edition I had worked on previously, the one labeled "July/August", was never sent out. More specifically, after working on it, after polishing the language and being certain all the information was relevant, I forgot to have it proofed by Dr. Lynette Louise (The Brain Broad) and sent out to you! Oops! So sorry about that!

In my defense, I was surrounded by grandchildren and nieces and sons and brothers and all manner of fun people distracting me from my online duties. So I do apologize, but I promise it was worth it! Having such an amazing time was the least I could do for you since I left you wondering what we were up to by not sending our updates. Luckily, for your sake, we made sure to be up to a lot of snuggly summer family fun. You're welcome! tee hee!

Pardon me? What's that? You want photographic evidence of the summer fun? Of the togetherness and good times we made sure to have so that my forgotten online duties could rightly and justly and fairly be forgiven? Well, who am I to deny you such adorable proof?

I submit the following: 


Clearly, this is confirmation of the cutest kind. 
Okay, back to our story. So, yes, I forgot to send out the July/August edition (which was filled with brilliant writing that would have knocked your socks off! <--- I can say that now. It's been deleted and replaced. ;D) but our upcoming edition, the September/October issue of The Loop, HAS been sent for proofreading and once I have received and incorporated all suggested edits and additions, it WILL be sent to your inbox.

That is, assuming you are signed up for The Loop

Anyone who still has that on their to-do list can sign up here (just your email address) safe in the knowledge that we will never share your info, and you'll be included in the family of friends receiving our edition going out a few days from now. Follow this link: Brain & Body

And if you'd like to have a peek at one of our previous editions, just to get a feel for our style, follow this link: The Loop - March/April 2019

Here's another one, picked at random, just for fun: The Loop - November/December 2018

Again, to all you fantastic friends that have been in The Loop for the past few years, and to all you new friends recently signed up, I apologize for the skipped edition. Mostly, though, I have great big heaps of gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy this journey with you and am honored by your invitation to share space with us in your inbox!

I'll be sending the next edition soon. 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)


Monday, September 9, 2019

Autism Answer: An Assumption Experiment

Thinking about things in my outside.

I just realized something about myself. A HUGE incongruence with what I say I believe and how I live.

I am a big talker about and believer in not making assumptions about people. Not filling in their story with my own preconceived ideas of who they are and why they are doing or saying what it is they are doing or saying. AND YET...

I spend my life making one great big fat assumption about pretty much everyone. This assumption takes up so much space in me that I have gone years and years and years not recognizing it for what it was. It feels too much like a truth; the size of it pushes aside any easy perch of perspective.

And I admit, this assumption has also helped me live an easier happier life. So when I've come close to seeing it for what it is, I quickly turn away. I feel that now. Like a repressed memory, all those times flood back with a knowing that comes from this acceptance.

(An Aside: When repressed memories come flooding back, I've had a few, it is a feeling I cannot properly describe. We have repressed them for reasons and the reasons rush back with the memories, creating a storm of emotions that can gather into a fist and punch you in the gut. Over and over. But they also offer answers, if we use our strength and patience and support network to discover and implement them. I recommend it.)

So here's the assumption I'm almost always making about a person: They are meaning well and trying to do right. Always, I assume this. I am aware that they may be trying to do right for themselves, for their family, for their God, for their town, for their business; not necessarily for me or the world I believe in creating. But they are - in my assumption - always meaning well and trying to do right.

Now, this assumption has been a gift for me. One time out of a thousand it has blinded me in a way that ended up hurting me. But for the most part, it has given me the confidence to trust, love, evolve, discover, converse, connect, and volunteer. Also, and here is where I justify this assumption, it is mainly true. We are all mostly meaning well and trying to do right, based on our beliefs, understanding, and assumptions.

So I'm going to try something for a while. I'm going to try recognizing this assumption about people as an assumption, and be willing to know it may not be true or right. But I will still use it as my base belief. I will still start there. I will just let myself see that I am choosing it because I want to.

However, if this experiment turns out to bring me less happiness, less willingness to trust, love, evolve, discover, converse, connect, and volunteer, well... I'll probably let it go. Unless it's bringing me some other type of life-enhancing gift I can't imagine as of yet, I'll let it go.

After all, one of the biggest reasons I believe in not assuming or judging people is that it tends to get in the way of truly knowing and connecting and learning from each other. Hence, if I am able to keep tethered to my deepest desire, my "why" as mom calls it, then I should be okay.

We do not walk around empty. We have beliefs, memories, assumptions, judgments, opinions. They are there. They are guiding us, holding us back, bringing us revelations. They are the things I love exploring when I connect with and trust others. So if I choose to keep this one, well, I think that's okay. I just want to know it as a choice, an assumption, a belief of mine.

So when we chat next time, I will assume you are meaning well and trying to do right, but I will also let you change my mind. This is hard for me to even say, because I still really believe you are meaning well and trying to do right, even as I've grown confident enough to know I can say no to your idea of meaning well and doing right, I still assume you mean well.

This will be an interesting experiment, I think. One of those small changes I make in myself that potentially shifts me to an entirely new me.

Or not.

I'll have to stay tuned to the stuff I hear myself think to find out.

Wish me luck, friends!
(I assume you are wishing me luck and meaning well, so it's okay if you don't tell me. tee hee!)

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)