Sunday, February 4, 2018
I Just Like To Do Things My Own Way
My son James is autistic. For those familiar with the spectrum, he would probably fall somewhere at the very low end of high functioning. Several years ago, I had a conversation with him about his adult life. I was trying to ask in a sensitive, diplomatic way how he felt about not being able to do some things that he might see other adults doing. I was trying to understand if he saw himself as different, and if so, how he felt about it.
James thought for a minute and then he shrugged. “I just like to do things my own way.”
So true. He does. He has always marched to the beat of his own drum, and happily, at least when allowed to march unimpeded.
When he was a boy, I once asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.
“A deer!” he said. Not the sort of career choice answer I was expecting.
“Hmm, I’m pretty sure you are going to be a man when you grow up,” I replied.
Looking back, I can see so many times along the way when I tried to make James fit into a mold. I believed that being a good mother to James meant trying to help him overcome the difficulties that I saw facing him. It meant making him more like everyone else.
Then one day, I was passing close enough to hear James talking to himself in the mirror.
“It’s great to be James!”
I regret now all the ways that I became the impediment to James’s happy life dance.
As I look around I see that this is not an isolated example. How many ways do I do this to others? To myself? How many ways have I tried to mold myself into the person I thought I should be at the expense of person within longing to be free?
We want others to agree with us, to act like we think they should act, to believe what we believe. We hold others and most of all ourselves to a standard ideal. And meanwhile, the natural universe of beauty and energy and wild variation longs to express itself through all of us and each of us.
The universe just likes to do things its own way. And who are we to stand in its way?
The universe is saying: “Allow me to flow through you unrestricted, and you will see the greatest magic you have ever seen.” ~ Klaus Joehle