Blueness practices, for single mothers

Dear reader, I’m going to suggest some practices for the mother of the autistic child, because its autism awareness month. First I want to link you to some of the other interesting things out there for you to read, Find them at this site.
Today is April 5th, a Friday here in Japan. Earlier I wrote an essay about what it meant for me to listen to the wonderful music of Aimee Mann. How her music had spoken to me so powerfully, through the film Magnolia by the maker of Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson. What’s your favorite Beatles Album, the White Album, or Sergeant Peppers? Mine is Beatles anthology, blue version. A celebration of the music of this wonderful group of crazy, wild, dreamers from a small city in England, a poor place, Liverpool. It was the later music, Red was Beatles songs from 62 to 66, Blue was, if I remember correctly, the music from 67 to 1970. That stuff was always my favorite. As the “Be at els” as I used to call them back in hospital, sang for me, just for me, my heart sang too. Three days ago was Blue Day. Autism Awareness Day. Unfortunately, I was caught up in my many projects so I wasn’t aware of everyone else’s. Were it not for my younger by six months cousin, Natalie, I think I would never have known. Were I not a Facebook user, like Nat, I think I would never have known. Were it not for the tireless efforts of single mothers to ask us to smile at their children, I think I would never have known. Were it not for the sponsorship of people like MnMs, I think I would never have known. I believe in loving awareness, in keeping a small part of other people’s lives alive inside of us. In the open heart. Sharon Salzberg has a couple of wonderful books I would like to share with people, her first Lovingkindness teaches us how to open our hearts to the world around us, to the stranger within, the human heart, through the powerful practice of Metta. That’s my favorite of Sharon’s books. But my favorite title was A Heart as Wide as the World, she taught me to use my little heart and open it up to other people’s pain and happiness. So today Major League Baseball has decided to get behind the mothers and families of children with autism. And to teach the world to smile if you know anyone who has autism. If you know anyone who knows anyone you can do the same.  If you know of anyone who has autism you can do the same. If you know of anyone whpo knows anyone who goes to a school with teachers which integrate the autistic child into our lives, lets su@pport thenm in concrete ways. Lets give a little bit of change. Your change can and will make a difference. Your commit to change will do the same. If you don’t have any money, that’s okaay, you’re included too. You can pray, you can do metta, you can give a book away and write a message of love. Lets remember autism. When I was a little younger, I started to become aware of a thing called Asperger’s syndrome. Now, throughout my life I have been given too many labels, by other children, bad words, not nice words, I have been treated differently as a child. I have always been a bit off in my own little world. I have often been a little socially undeveloped. If that feels like you, just know that you’re not alone. There is a hero within the human race. There’s a hero within you. There is a hero within me. There are voices of anger and being upset and I don’t like it. But there are other voices too. How are you? Are you alright? What’s wrong? What do you need?

May you be well
May you be peaceful
May you be happy
May you be safe

May you be well
May you be peaceful
May you be happy
May you be safe

May you be well
May you be peaceful
May you be happy
May you be safe.

Then, say that quietly, like a little lullaby to your child, while you stroke their hair. That’s what Sharon taught me. But Ive always been turnned inwards. I didn’t have anyone to do that for me. So I used to just think of good people that I liked and think they were saying it with me.

I believe we can teach our autistic children this kind of practice. We can model it with them, after we give them the comforts that they need, like hot milk or a blanket, the things that make them feel calm and safe.

Then in a gentle way, they can find some training wheels for this little practice of metta, or lovingkindness. I’m a Christian, so sometimes I felt uncomfortable doing this, because its from another tradition. But I know it works. If you want to try something different, you can do things like this. Heavenly father, May I be safe.
Heavenly father, May I be well
Heavenly father, May I be peaceful
Heavenly father, May I be happy.

Maybe the word father is so difficult for some people, and they are pagan or something like this. That’s okay. I believe in God, you don’t have to. Just adapt it to your needs. Or get some pastoral help. There are plenty of ways of doing this practice. I have suggested a Buddhist practice which I think is good, and a more Christian version of it. If you think its dangerous, I’m sorry about that. It’s not meant to be. Just pray for me then. That’s okay, I don’t mind. I need a little bit of help anyway. I’m the first to admit it.

I would do things like this sometimes, on buses or walking down the street. Its effective, because its simple and anyone can do it. For all of my readers who are still with me, may I also suggest colour therapy and listening to quiet music as practices. Or swimming as a practice. Or water exercise, gentle slow water exercise as things that can benefit your children. My mind races around a lot. Its hard for me to focus, so I sometimes use a mantra. “God, please help us.” “God, please help us.” “God, please help us.” Two excellent book on the Jesus Prayer from the Christian tradition are by Simon Barrington Ward, or Fredrica Matthews Green. I found these ones simple. Please listen to other people’s voices. Blue Skies Ahead. Let’s go.

With much love from, Grant, Seraph,Satoko, Nagoya, Ichiro and Doraemon in Japan.

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