As a mother of an autistic child, I have struggled for years to help him develop. In particular in recent days, I have spotted a nagging voice inside that always wants to put me down. I’ve observed pangs of guilt coming over me, accompanied by questions such as, "why didn't you do more for him?", or, "how come it took you so long to discover his digestive problems and sensory overloads?", not to mention my stress over his anxieties and learning disabilities. I blamed myself for not being able to help him more. Discovering all these problems, and dealing with them was simply beyond my ability that time. Still, the voice in my head doesn't quite want to see it that way.
All of us have this devil's advocate in our head, and all of us are dragged down by it. These endless mental accusations steal our energy, our confidence, and undermine our creativity to do something about the situation we are in here and now. Transforming this negative energy into something more productive is hard. When we forgive ourselves, and focus on what we can do to turn our problems around, we accomplish amazing things and lift the people around us in the process.
There was a reason I was so weak in prior years; there was a reason why I was not able to help my son at that time. I was simply not strong enough and not spiritually advanced enough. In fact, I was running many healing sessions over the years, helping dozens of spiritual seekers to come clean with their past, but I somehow wasn't developed enough to help my own son. However, deep inside I never gave up on him. I kept working on myself, dropped my healing workshops, and now stand ready to help him instead. With kindness and love, I forgive myself and accept my weakness at that time.
I can honestly tell my autistic son that I understand what it means to be perceived as different. I grew up on a farm in Taiwan. The wind was my friend, and the sun my coach. I often danced under the stars and sometimes slept on a big log. I was wild. I chased fish in the grueling sun, and danced in the storm. I was strong, dirty, and wild when I grew up!
But then, all this came to an end when I joined a famous junior high school in the city. I felt like a hill-billy in comparison to my classmates from the city. They looked pale and weak in comparison. I could eat a cow during these days while my classmates would hardly finish a bun. I felt embarrassed for being so different then. I wanted to hide my roots and I wanted to be "cool" like them. So soon I switched my lunch box to a tiny one and I was consequently hungry all day long. After a few years, I looked totally like any of the other city girls, pale and weak.
What a price I had to pay just to be like the social norm. I had no idea how precious I was, and was hiding my own identity even to myself. Today I know just how unique and precious I am. I am a child of God just like my son and everyone else. Just because not everyone can see the perl in the oyster doesn't mean it isn't there. Similarly, nothing can diminish the nobleness of my son, even if we have to work a little to find his role in society.
Child of God, while the situation you are currently facing is quite different from my struggles and that of my son, chances are your mind puts you on a similar wild goose chase. Chances are too that you also conform to the norms of society in order to keep your peace of mind. All of us deserve our unique role to play, just as we deserve our serenity. Precious, unique, and invincible, that's exactly how we are! It takes a little digging, and it requires standing up to the voice in our head, but eventually we all get there. Hope that my awakening can help you in your spiritual development as well.
By Su Zhen