Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coconut Love

Walking through the grocery store, my 4 year old ran towards the coconuts with much excitement. "Coconuts! Mommy, there's coconuts! Can we get one? Can we get one?"

"No, I don't think we need to get a coconut" I responded.

As I was saying no to her, I was wondering why. Such a simple request. A coconut. She was so excited. A little bit of the exotic in her 4 year old life.

I saw her excitement turn to disappointment as she heard me say no. Again, I wondered what my immediate reaction of 'no' was all about. Perhaps it was because it wasn't on my 'list'. Perhaps it was because I had never in fact eaten an actual coconut before. Perhaps it was because I had no CLUE how to open a coconut. Perhaps it was because I was anticipating many requests for frivolous junk food, and in turn I was ready and waiting with my 'no' response. To be honest, I am not sure where my immediate reaction of 'no' came from. But, regardless of where it came from, I was in the wrong. So I corrected my mistake immediately when I realized how ridiculous I was being.

"You know what Sadie, I was being silly. Of course you can have the coconut."

"Yeah! And can I hold it while we shop? How do we open it? How will we get the coconut milk out? Can we open it as soon as we get home? I thought we can only get coconuts in the jungle, how did it get here? Do you hear it? When I shake it, you can hear all the milk moving around. I can't wait to try to open the coconut."

And to think, I was going to deny my daughter such simple and exquisite pleasure. A coconut. Joy can come in the smallest packages.

And yes, with much determination and a little help from her dad, we opened the coconut. We all enjoyed the fruit of our labours.

Now, I walk through the grocery aisles with my eyes a little wider and with my list safely tucked away in a pocket. I am saying 'yes' more to new flavours and new experiences. I am paying attention to colours and textures. "No" no longer waits upon my tongue. "Yes" abounds.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Here I am, starting my own private counselling practice. It is starting slow....to say the least. I know this is to expected. But, I also know that money is an important part of the equation, a needed part of the equation. Therefore I have been applying for jobs to provide stability while my practice develops and takes off. The phone calls for interviews have not yet presented themselves. No, I am not yet discouraged. I hold true to the fact that everything unfolds for a reason. I know that a year from now I will look back at how it all the unfolded and be amazed at how everything did in fact happen for a reason. I will be successful, prosperous and fulfilled in my working life, and my home life. This, I know in my heart, is a truth. I breath deeply and trust that the decisions I am making now are the right ones for me and for my family.

However, I have in fact been approached with a job. It is not a job I feel is destined for me, it is not a job I have asked for. It definitely does have possibilities and could provide me with stability for now and for the future. But by taking this job I could also be giving up things. I could be giving up time with my girls, other possibilities that are yet to present themselves. Life will definitely unfold in a way that is different then how I would been planning. But in what ways? For now, I sit and meditate and trust that the best decision will present itself...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In Respect of Difference

Just picture a society where everyone interacted under the exact same set of rules. Can you imagine a place where everyone thought about things in the same way? Can you picture a culture where everyone was predictable and where sameness was the norm?

Thankfully, this is not the way of the world. Difference is the norm. Difference provides our richness, our truth. It is our reality.

Neurodiversity is a term that describes difference based on neurological attributes. Most commonly attributed to those with Autism or Asperger Syndrome, it asserts that this difference is a natural part of human development that should be respected and appreciated.

Many people with autism have the ability to see things in ways that most of us do not. They often have strong ability at systematizing and seeing logic and rules and patterns where others do not. But, they struggle socially. The set of social rules that most of learn so easily at a young age are foreign to many people with autism. Imagine you were dropped in a foreign country where you were expected to know all the conventions, traditions and ways of interacting. You would want to get it right. You wouldn’t want to offend someone, to do something wrong, to say something wrong. You would likely feel on edge and be anxious about doing something wrong or saying something wrong. You would spend your time watching others, reading books about the culture, reading websites about tradition and you would try to use your intellectual part of your brain to figure out this foreign culture. This is often the life of someone with Autism or Asperger Syndrome.

But it doesn’t mean they are less. It does mean that the challenges of those who are seen to be outside of the norm should be seen through a lens of acceptance, understanding and openness. Their struggles in a world where difference is sometimes viewed as less are real. I compel you that the next time you encounter a person who may not behave the way you expect to look at their way of being as different, but not less. Do not pity them, but do give them the patience and understanding they deserve.

To quote Temple Grandin, doctor of animal sciences and a professor, a woman with Autism, and advocate for persons with autism, “After all, the really social people did not invent the first stone spear. It was probably invented by an Aspie who chipped away at rocks while the other people socialized around the campfire. Without autism traits we might still be living in caves."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Midnight Laughter...

I was awoken in the middle of the night.

"Steph, Steph...are you okay?"

My husband thought I was chocking or coughing. It took me a moment to realize I was laughing aloud. In between sleep and consciousness, I did not remember my dream. I only knew that I was happy and I was laughing.

What a joy--to be laughing in your sleep!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Destined for Greatness

Yesterday morning I decided "Be open...."

As I sat in the doctor's office waiting room with both my girls, a man walked in. I didn't notice his face, his body, or any of his attire, except what was written on the front of his shirt. It said "Destined for Greatness" Yes, this was just a shirt, on some man I didn't know. It was probably a shirt a friend got him as a gag gift, or perhaps one that he needed to buy for himself in a moment of self doubt. Yes, at face value, this shirt had nothing to do with me, nothing to do with my life, nothing to do with my outlook. At face value....

But, the reality is, it had everything to do with me in that moment. The fact is that after weeks of procrastination I made a doctor's appointment the previous week to have a referral to an audiologist. The fact is, I made that appointment for last Thursday, and we got a specialist appointment for yesterday morning. The fact is, that man also had some sort of appointment that morning. The fact is, he chose to wear that shirt out of all other shirts that morning. The fact is, as he walked in I looked up at exactly the same time. The fact is, I didn't see him or his shirt. The fact is, I saw those words. The fact is, they were the exact reminder I needed in that moment. The fact is, those words were meant for me...