Be Quiet

Hush

When more have a voice and a view and ever better ways to express them, there remains a disparity in the proportion of the worldwide audience actually willing to listen. Attention may be paid for objection-handling purposes or to feel involved by responding, somehow but that’s not the same as listening. No wonder we’re left with such a cacophony.

It can ring in your head far louder than on your phone and intrudes into every part of your being – then you’re caught. It can be really hard to find any inner peace or stillness and actually know your own thoughts from those imposed on you and it can take a while to extricate yourself from this influence…and that’s how it rules.

To spot deception in the world can make you really vulnerable to attack. To voice objection to it will, most definitely will. It can be shocking in its ferocity but your own integrity is tested when you realise the part you played in this eternal game, unwittingly or not. Do you continue to comply? If so, then how much?

This is the point when you can find space to consider – if you dare – any self deception that has created on-going harm to yourself and others. This is the point when you have a chance to discover real peace. Self-deception is the most harmful of all. Change the habit, though, and the transformation in your life is freedom. While everyone else continues shouting you can look inside, sense the peace and just be quiet.

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Weathering the Storms

Face-on

Face-on

With humility, I can say that I’ve never felt so reassured by my feeling ‘at odds’ with Society at large and even smaller communities.  Self-serving opportunism is now epidemic with little evidence of learning from having observed how this has developed and what it has developed into, in recent decades.

It may not bring me friends or riches but I’m pleased to remain my autistic – not stupid – self,  and recognise that my Aspergers gives me the focus on what actually matters in my life.  I’m not wasting any more of it trying to make sense of senseless man-made constructs and skewed judgements when all I need to find contentment is already within me.

The few friends I have are quality friends.  The little I have is meaningful to me.  I’m not chasing any rainbows.  I have a life to live.

Autistic, Not Stupid

Two years on from Asperger’s diagnosis – when I was told about the many geniuses throughout history, thought, with good reason, to have been somewhere on the autistic spectrum – it has become my entertainment, rather than my horror, to observe how knowledge of my diagnosis affects the way others treat me.

My early, startling realisations came when I sought out sources of advice and support, relevant to my new status as an autistic person – as opposed to ‘a person’. That’s when I realised that it wasn’t just the charity that I’d worked for that wasn’t quite as charitable, altruistic or sincere as one might hope.  No, many have a band of expensive, executive experts very much ‘on board’ to steer the organisation to the fullest maximisation of ‘not’ profits, with much of these coming from the public purse while delivering little actual value in relation to the number of eligible recipients of said, mythical help. Never mind, it keeps a few staff in good wages and reduces our being a ‘burden’ on local resources.

Ok, so charities (at least the biggies) were forced – kicking and screaming – to behave like big business – and we’ve seen how well big business has set examples of acceptable behaviour across the decades, haven’t we? But, it has been steered this way by successive Governments, again who only implement measures for the greater good- don’t they?, as I found when I went for my PIP assessment, conducted by someone who understood even less about autism than I did at that point.

She learned that, despite a slight processing delay, I can actually form thoughts, ideas and words that go into sentences that make sense. She apologised for her ignorance while I contemplated how much money was being wasted telling me how I would disappear into the vortex of wasted human life rather than receiving any encouragement to create anything meaningful and worthwhile – imagine what a contrast that would be to the reality of all that was being puked out by the executives and experts?

There are even organisations that believe autistic people should be euthanized.  The language they use sounds like they conduct research to support understanding about autism and support autistics and many, many people believe this without reading up on their real goals or seeing through the cleverly-worded blurb.  There are teaching and training methods that can show genuine results for their recipients but conveniently overlook the longer term effects on the autistic individual who has become repressed with the eternal prospect of their human self erupting like a volcano at any point.

Where is the humanity in all this, I wonder? But that is humanity and if I waste any more of my time being upset by those who look to undermine any progress I make instead of just recognising them for what they are – my progress will be thwarted, which is exactly what they want.  This has come from official organisations that claim to support autistic people and conduct research for our benefit and it comes from self appointed autistic advocates who are grappling with creating a place for themselves in the world.  I wish them well with that.  It’s all anyone is doing really, though I don’t hold with trying to further that goal at the expense of another’s worthwhile and meaningful efforts.  I’m truly sorry for the very capable people who could do so much to help themselves and other autistics but when they sign up as the token autistics for some rather disingenuous organisations to look more credible than they are, they’re doing themselves and autistics a deep disservice and should look to their conscience, rather than their ego for future guidance.

And there it is – showing how similar Planet Autism is to the world everyone else knows.  We’re all in the same space, just in different parts of it.  Two years ago I thought to myself ‘Well, I got this far with my Asperger’s undiagnosed and what affected me was one mistreatment too many – which would have affected many people similarly, autistic or not, because I’m just human.

My largely unpopular knack of calling a spade, a spade is just me being me and I understand that’s all anyone else is trying to be, too.  But I’m not caught up in the cliques and the deceptions. I get over the disappointments of recognising those who are and I move on.  Most happily, I’m not caught up in the self delusion practiced so widely that actually prevents knowing your true self.  I have to assume that some of the behaviour that I observe IS borne out of someone seeing themselves and not liking what they see, hence their charade.

That’s a pity when time only ever runs shorter.  For me, I’ve come to see the tremendous qualities in some of the people I know, so much more clearly having been repulsed by distractions and nonsense from those who rely on such self indulgences.  I’m grateful for knowing some amazing people; for their friendship and support.  Oddly, I’m grateful to the rest for providing the necessary contrast to make that realisation such a clear and definite thing – a fixed point from which to plan my life moving forward rather than stagnating in utter pointlessness.  It’s a choice we all have and we can take it or devour our life force in justifications and objection handling. I’ve never felt more confident about the direction of my future or the satisfaction I gain from my present life and that point has been reached thanks to the energies, efforts and massive amounts of time spent by some deeply crappy people.  How weird is that?  There are some great autistic Advocates and services but you’ll find them for yourselves, hopefully.

Self realisation isn’t a diagnosis, an education or a set of clothing, metaphorical or otherwise.  It’s not about looking around for what looks like an answer we can cling to in the hope it turns out to be the right one for us (or, at least, give that impression to others). Self realisation is about looking inwards, having the integrity to face the realities seen and the strength to make the necessary transformation.  That can only be achieved by the self.  No one will or can do it on your behalf.  The most tempting choices can be hardest, so imagine the real, deep rewards.

I know where I’m going and others can like it or not.  I’m autistic, not stupid.

ASC – And You’re Sure to Find Out.

Imagine...

Imagine…

It’s a year today since I received my formal diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome – an autistic spectrum condition – and after initial relief, came a very steep learning curve culminating, largely, in total trust in my instincts over logic which can be completely subjective.

The most beneficial but difficult element has been in discovering who my friends are NOT, followed by understanding the meaning of words like ‘support’ and ‘service’ – often translating, very accurately, as a means by which to exploit someone with a vulnerability for one’s own ends.  I was aware of that and fell out with my employers because of it but I hadn’t counted on being in that situation myself as I went on to discover, despite the knowledge of my diagnosis. My instinct remained to trust and expect that others would ‘do the right thing – why wouldn’t they?’

Well there are lots of reasons.  Weakness is at the basis of all the reasons and cowardice drifts in at various points too, but it is clear that many think they just have the right to take without ever giving and will be aware of doing real harm to people because they want what they want despite that knowledge.  So my naivety was laid so bare that even I saw it and how my employers must have seen it too, given how they changed every aspect of the productive work I had delivered on which they had relied so much until my objection to their exploitation of the service users. Continue reading

The Ugly, the Bad – Now the Good

People get to you – they get to me but it never ceases to amaze me how many rotten apples it takes to join forces to cover up their wrongdoing and how few people it can take to counter that balance with a little goodness, sincerity or unaffected behaviour.

I have an accent that will not make me popular here and an expectation that people will appreciate honesty – despite all evidence to the contrary.  But among the perennial weeds of life’s bountiful garden I have encountered some blooming wonders – in people, as well as in nature.

My first encounter with a large group of learning disabled adults was a sensory overload in terms of sound and activity but beyond that I began to see that these new companions were among the best people I had ever met in my life.  They had humour, enthusiasm, a desire to please and succeed beyond the norm and most of all, a communally strong sense of right and wrong, honest, certainly, beyond what I saw as the norm.

As we began to work together I learned so much from the group who devised the most ingenious ways around obstacles in life to achieve real, individual successes that would be overlooked by the busying masses, using slight of hand to ‘look good’ in a bad way.

Don’t ever underestimate learning disabled, autistic, disabled – whatever you find a person to be on first meeting them, because human nature can be wonderful.  The ones you trust because they seem smart, forceful, trustworthy… are probably the ones with the best qualifications to be a con artist – but see what you find by not judging the book by its cover.

Beware, though, honesty and insight are very threatening to such people and the wonderful people I spoke of at first are prey to these types.  Many of them had degrees of autism from the vast spectrum, so perhaps that was the innate link of understanding we shared – I just didn’t understand it then but from the way they welcomed me, they recognised something way beyond anything I could then, while I was trying to cope with the noise of laughter.

There is a school of thought that we autistics – or whatever term you use – are the next phase of human evolution.  Interesting.  No wonder the dinosaur, self serving liars and manipulators are worried, though we are jumping the gun a little in terms of time scales.

The other group of people I have met who impress me with their similar sense of decency are the ones I’ve met along the path of recovery from the stress place on those of us who care.  From all walks of life and backgrounds, so many of these people have worked for a charity, raised concerns, paid the price, but they hang in there and from them, goodness will ripple outwards still, albeit in a thwarted and reduced way.  We are what we are, which explains much of the desperation of the lowlifes, to be pitied.  We pity the wrong people.  We pity those with some of the best qualities most can never achieve, because it isn’t perceived to be the very strong and powerful force it is.

Care Costs

Would anyone round here enable Glasgow’s vulnerable to be manipulated because they are an easy target? Surely not.  We have an elected city council charged with some tricky financial balancing acts in these times; could they become targets themselves by operators who can provide a better service and for less? On the surface it sounds like it would make sense to follow up on such claims but you have to think who are the best con artists you can think of?  The ones you’d least suspect to leave you with no options and call that self direction.

Consider an air of respectability, a worthy aim, a charitable status and demonstrations of justification for public funding, funding from your pocket and from mine. Consider a long history of providing a service for vulnerable adults that was second to none.  I say was because it clearly was back in the day when family members got together to make something better than there was for the vulnerable loved ones in their care.  Their concern for what might happen to them after they were no longer there created something to be proud of and something that did what it was set up for.

Decades later this shifts to the control of a group with the promise of better care, better management and greater financial clout to ensure this continues.  This is the point where care and commerce become very uncomfortable bedfellows.  If you care do you do it for the money?  Aren’t the ones caring enough to do the caring left behind as the money rolls in to benefit the rest who talk about caring? Continue reading

The Price on Your Head

Rational

Rational

I have to live where I live.  The logistics of life dictate that.  It’s a beautiful place, don’t get me wrong but for a long time I’ve felt that it needs its physical beauty to mask the ugliness that festers from deep within its core. People make a place so its character will reflect them and indeed, the facade of architectural beauty here masks any image of its foundation on slavery and dealing that has damaged much in our world but that didn’t matter as it brought wealth to a few.  We all benefit from that.  And so that became the norm, permeating every level of our society as each became desperate for a slice of the pie.  No mean place.

There have been real examples of altruism throughout time but eventually these just set the benchmark for the perception of goodness to become part of the lie too.  It seems to be genuinely believed that if you say you follow a belief system , then that exempts you from actually having to do so, or to bother with any of its doctrines covering personal behaviour.

A sweeping generalisation, I know, but take a look around, it’s everywhere.  It’s even in the places I’d love to escape to, to get away from here, where the force of the bully has become its reputation more deservedly than anywhere else I know of (yet).  James Christie gave the best description of this place and its people in his book ‘Dear Miss Landau’. Continue reading

Smile Like You Mean It.

Loving you has made me bananas.

Loving you has made me bananas.

This is a guest post from Sarah J about coping with her partner’s late diagnosis.  All sounds very familiar!

The past few months have been a learning curve. Highs and lows coming to terms with my partner’s diagnosis of Aspergers. I couldn’t see it at first. He was 48. How could he have got though life, holding down jobs and relationships without the condition being diagnosed? It seemed too far-fetched, but I went with him through the diagnostic process and it was like a glaze being removed before my eyes. I saw idosyncracies in a different light.

Previous arguments about how to stack the dishwasher, where coats should be hung, not to mix veg or leave shoes behind a door… took on a new meaning. He wasn’t just being ridiculously particular and demanding. It distressed him if things were done in an unexpected way. And it wasn’t that he felt his way was better – he truly couldn’t conceive that anyone would do things differently. Continue reading

Breaking New Ground

Breaking New Ground

On the 19th of February 2015, Auticulture Network secured its first donation of land thanks to the generosity of Anna and Fiona at Gartnavel Royal Hospital in Glasgow. This significant show of trust and support is the beginning of what is hoped to be a very busy growing space over the year ahead, to be recorded on this site which in turn will become a new hub for inspiration, self discovery and self-empowerment.

Beyond all that we hope to facilitate a means by which all people with an autistic spectrum condition  can enjoy new ways of demonstrating to themselves and the rest of the world just how good life can be and how much we are able to contribute, using our very many special abilities.  We can break down barriers in our own thinking and limitations, social experiences and in the way we express ourselves – just by setting a good example and coming to know the most freely available resource around us – nature.

You never know, someone might just listen!  look here – someone listened to us and we have a set of keys to show what we can achieve.  Next Thursday we should get our next set of keys for our second site where people near to that location can become the next link in our network of discovery and hope.  Improving environmental health for all and changing opinions – think about it…

We even want those close to us to have a go with their own gardening sessions, so they can relax and enjoy a new perspective on life.

Understand nature, understand life

HOW TO: Get Out Of This Life Alive…Part 1.

Clear way forward

Clear way forward

Or: Beat The Bullies

One thing that’s guaranteed to evoke a negative response is to have a fair point and to express it. Wow, who needs fireworks? Some of us genuinely can’t help but to keep making that same mistake, over again, but having learned how pained and lonely that can leave you, I’m beginning to see the benefits.

Why be daunted by those little cliques that feel the need to form in self-defence? When you demonstrate the strength to follow your own path, they just become the nasty little weeds along the way to be trodden down.

They need to combine all their joint forces in order to try and combat – you! That’s clearly a group to which you can have no real desire to belong. It will be painful to see how many people you’ve admired walk away from you, but that pain is only masking the success you are achieving, so, off with that mask too. Continue reading