Monday, July 24, 2023

Autism Answer: In My Opinion, We Don't Always Need an Opinion


Looking up through the leaves

The rustling of leaves in the trees, a breeze caressing my skin in unpredictable intervals, birdsongs dancing through the sky-waves, smells of flowers and soil intermingling and reminding me to breath deep, this is a sensation I love.
This is a place I go where I don't judge myself, where I don't feel judged, where I am not surrounded by opinions and I feel no need to form one of my own.
I disappear when I am inside nature. I feel myself melt away and be consumed, become an element or an ingredient, a component of something so spectacular I cannot feel anything but wonderful. I am not ugly and fat, in nature. I am not stupid or a burden, in nature. I am not in debt or unable, in nature. My ideas are not bad for society, or brilliant and necessary, in nature. Simply, I am not and nature is.
With Children:
When I was raising my children I found nature similarly wonderful, but I did not disappear. I had a role, I was mom. But in nature, unlike how I felt in town among other moms and children, I could see my children more clearly. Without the mess of feelings and worries and expectations I felt when in a more social setting; nature cleared the air for me. I could see them, see their behaviours, notice their uniqueness without fear of how it was being received or judged. I could simply see. And in that place I was more comfortable guiding them while I learned. I could see them clearly and so I could better see where they were in need of learning. There is freedom in the wild, but that does not mean allowing only wildness. Many mothers in nature teach their children ways to behave. But without the need to conform them in order to fit in and, rather, with a need to give them skills to help them thrive.
In nature I become more. Yes, I disappear. But I disappear into everything. My sounds and smells, the feature of me, is equal to the sensations around me.
With Children:
Their sounds and smells, the feature of them, is equal to the sensations around them. They are not being asked to conform or play by the rules. In nature the rules are be what you are until you no longer are. If what you are works well, you might last longer and pass on your genes. If not, okay.
I want to exist comfortably in society. More than that, I want the children I love to find ways to exist comfortably in society. But not without caring about our nature.
It is a worthy pursuit, finding ways to fit in. Practising politeness in your culture and gaining the skills to participate in the games people play.
But one of those games, I've noticed, is having strong opinions about everything going on in the world.
Having an opinion about everything and everyone, ourselves and the people in the world - online, particularly - becomes exhausting. It becomes unhealthy and unkind.
In nature, things are sometimes trending, but there is no need to form an opinion. It simply is what there is more of at the moment. That's how nature works (when we allow it to work). (We are encouraged to make certain judgments, of course, since many things in nature will hurt or kill you.) (Also, growing an opinion is fantastic, fine, and fun when encouraged to blossom naturally, without a need to make it sound smart, or match a movement, or instigate a reaction.)
Spending time alone in nature helps me practice loving the world without needing to have an opinion.
Spending time with children in nature helps me practice having an opinion while loving people in the world.
In my opinion, I like my opinion.