Springingtiger's Blog

Sound and Vision

Before NaPoWriMo it would never have occurred to me to try and rhyme either Pythagarean or multidimensional, it’s not easy!

I love to see the shape of sound
That resonates and shines around
My house; and, with shapes, fills my head,
From before dawn til time for bed.
Shapes reflecting all words said;
Pythagorus has never known
Some of the structures I’ve been shown.
In a concert there may be an
Abundance of new and strange forms
Far beyond Pythagorean
Imagination, which transforms
Music merely sensational,
Into something which may be found
To be multidimensional.

It’s a different perception
Of any sounds reception
That has music, so often felt,
Be something seen and even smelt.

The Month

On Tuesday the month ends. This year I have to admit Autism Awareness month, or Autism Acceptance month, has made little impact on me as my focus has been very much on National Poetry Writing Month. It has been the least stressful April for years, I have argued with no one, despite there being a Measles epidemic over here, I haven’t managed to pick a fight with an anti-vaxxer, I am feeling chilled and virtuous. I have even made a positive connection with a cure seeker, I wouldn’t have predicted that last April.

The month may be ending, autism isn’t and our respective struggles continue, even if the spotlight has been turned from us. If I would want us to take anything forward over the year, it would be respect and tolerance; how can we expect acceptance when we present the world with a model of vicious intolerance and division. One thing autistics come to learn is that other people are very different, in all honesty it sometimes manifests more as “why are normal people so weird/horrible/wrong?”, but they are definitely different.

There is an NLP presupposition that, “People do the best they can with the resources they have available” and another that “all actions have a positive intent”. If someone espouses a ridiculous point of view, it does not mean they are are bad, it merely means that the data they have is flawed or is it? Before we correct them let’s double check our own sources first; are they empirically sound, are they up to date? Autism is a subject that provokes strong emotional reactions from some people, particularly the neurotypical who are less prone to rely on reason. We need to put our emotions aside and treat their opinions logically and respectfully. There may be some beliefs from which no amount of science or reason will sway them, but this is no reason to hold them in contempt, they remain human beings. Far better to find common ground upon which we can build, than insist on wasting energy in pointless struggle. If they are unwilling to put aside differences for the sake of the greater goal then shake their dust off your sandals and pursue more fruitful activities. At the end of the day we have a goal that is too important to allow us to waste time in fruitless argument, better to focus on reaching out with the truth where we can make a difference and hopefully allow that which is unhelpful to wither from neglect.

Through a Glass Darkly

Sometimes there is a dichotomy
Between what is there for me,
And what you know to be true;
A wall my mind can’t break through,
And a truth it cannot see.

Nothing’s wrong with my perception,
But a break with my conception.
Thus nothing makes any sense
And all is confused, so hence
Senses find no reception.

Like looking out through a glass
On worlds of another class,
Another reality,
Or an abnormality
Where unreason comes to pass.

Literally losing my mind
And the reason I would find;
Although my eyes can well see,
Mind can’t interpret for me
I might just as well be blind.

New deep thoughts form in my brain
Then to express them I strain,
I struggle, but cannot reach
The shapes that make up my speech;
And so I retreat again.

How I am today, is just that.

Today I awoke tired and sore, all my muscles ached, my throat was burning; in short i was displaying all the symptoms I have learned to associate with the onset of, what I call, a CFIDS, event. Yesterday I did not behave entirely sensibly. I came off a night shift and just took a couple of hours nap before heading off to Edinburgh for the afternoon and evening. I had committed to a seminar in the evening, but the afternoon was optional. Neelam had a meeting in the morning so I thought it would be fun to spend the afternoon in Edinburgh, logically not the most sensible of choices, but I was right it was fun. We went to Patisserie Valerie where the food is good, but the cakes and pastries are magnificent. Edinburgh is always a nice place to visit, even if all one does is walk around and look. We walked and we looked, we visited the Peace and Justice Centre.

While we are on the subject there is a weekend of Scrap Trident action in Glasgow this weekend beginning on Saturday with a demonstration in George Square at 10:15 all details from http://www.scraptrident.org

In the evening, increasingly tired we went to my seminar. I was too tired to do it justice. Had I had a proper sleep things might have been very different, but I chose a day out. The point is, as I realised on reflection today, I chose; no one else chose for me, what I got, I chose. The strange thing is, the moment I realised, I chose to feel better and I felt better. Ok, I still felt tired, but I didn’t let it spoil my day, I chose to rest as I needed, I chose to have a bath and, above all, I choose to feel good. It is not wrong to feel tired, or to have a headache, it may be inconvenient, but it is not wrong, at worst it is merely what’s so and that may not have to be true. Look around, wherever there is cause for pain and sorrow and suffering, some suffer, but some do not. Wherever there is cause for joy and celebration, there are always some who, nonetheless, suffer. What matters is not the circumstances in which we live, but how we live in our circumstances. Although I may have got little out of the seminar last night, I was reminded of my est training and that I, and I alone, am responsible for my experience and I alone can transform it. The strangest part of this is that one’s circumstances seem to mirror one’s experiences. If I am happy I can quickly find reasons for my happiness; in truth it is not our circumstances that cause our experience, but, rather, the experiences we choose that give us the world in which we live. We will always be able to find reasons for how we feel, but how we feel will determine the reasons we find and so, if we choose to rejoice in and enjoy our world we will find plenty of cause for joy. Rejoice!

Going Home

I quite enjoy flying when I get a window seat, but airports can be traumatic. Above all, for me there are two main danger points, queuing and security, I hate going through security. No matter what I do I nearly always have to submit to a search, which I always find stressful, but before I even reach the metal detectors, I am already tense from the anticipation, the emptying of pockets and removing of shoes. Last year when we went on holiday, Neelam was concerned that I was about to hit one of the security men, fortunately, so far, it has not come to that. I hate queues but I think most people do. It’s not so much the pace, as the press of too many people that upsets me. Our arrival today was much better, instead of having to wait for the seats in front of us to file out, the back doors just behind us were open so we could walk across the tarmac. I do dislike waiting for my cases in Baggage Reclaim, but today they came through quite quickly.

Although the plane was later than we expected, and the rush hour had begun we were not greatly delayed and got done all we needed to do on the way home. No sooner had I got home than I was on an inspiring telephone call about the possibilities for the long poem I’m writing. The call finished and just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, my wife told me Margaret Thatcher had died. I am sorry I’m missing the street party and the half price drinks on the pub, but I shall shed no tears. Perhaps the only person more hated around this part of Scotland is Hitler and, to hear some people talk, that’s not certain. However while she is hated up here, she has family who probably love her and friends who appear to hold her in affection (although they seen mostly to be English Tories). It seems to me a little insensitive to vilify her quite as viciously on social media as some are. Thatcher is dead, surely it’s time to turn our hated against David Cameron, who has all Thatcher’s unpleasant political beliefs, but only a fraction of her presence and personality.

Emotional Stuff

I may have mentioned before that I really find emotions difficult. I think my difficulties with understanding how actions give consequences may be a part of my difficulty with emotions. When I am presented with other people’s they are almost always unexpected, if I knew someone else was likely to be upset by a chain of events, I would be prepared and handle it better. There is an argument that says that when my wife is upset I should be prepared, but I still get surprised.

When my wife’s iPhone got soaked, i shrugged it off as a minor inconvenience, which to me it was, it was not my phone. I stupidly failed to realise that Neelam might see the possible loss of everything she had on the phone, as more than a minor inconvenience. Neelam has had that phone for a few years and has been asking me to sync it for most of that time. I have little sense of the passing of time and had no sense of urgency, I fully intended to sync the phone, I just hadn’t got around to it. All would have been ok if it hadn’t fallen in the water. On reflection I can see why she was less than pleased with me.

Fortunately Neelam’s phone problems appear to be resolved, however trying to sort out one problem ate up time she needed for other things. Right in the middle of sorting out bags today, we had a power cut for several hours. My response to other people’s upset is to withdraw into myself, to some extent to avoid making things worse, but that meant I was not proactively offering help when she wanted it. Sometimes, actually a lot of the time, I need to be told specifically what I should do. Sometimes I feel that whatever I say or do will be wrong so I do nothing; sometimes nothing is worse than the wrong thing. And so I tread on eggshells wondering what will happen next, an indeterminate apprehension of impending emotional storms restricting my ability to act.

I also have problems with the expression of emotions. A clear explosion of anger is understandable, but what I cannot do is read subtle expressions. I know that something is wrong but I am not sure what or how to respond to it. Somedays I feel that when I was sent to earth, the dispatcher on the mothership forgot to give me the guide book that explained humans. I don’t know about other people but I find emotions exhausting. but the most exhausting of all are the emotions of other people. Someone please beam me up, now!

Battle Lines

And so Autism Awareness Month has begun and already the battle lines are being drawn between the various factions of the Autism Community – a misnomer if ever there were one! – this is sad. There seem to be several groups, some of which overlap. The two main groups are obviously parents of autistics and autistics, but within these are those who consider autism as an evil that must be eliminated and those – particularly those of us who are autistic – who believe that it is merely what makes us who we are and it has both its good and bad aspects, but we don’t want a cure. There are a group of so called professionals whose aim appears to be to make money from the families of autistics, and those who are genuinely supporting autistics by providing services and serious scientific research. Sadly the different groups are digging in to spend a month presenting the world with the edifying spectacle of autism advocates belittling each other and, in some cases, the autistics they claim to champion.

This is an arena in which I can claim no moral high ground I am as prone as anyone to push my position aggressively and, sometimes, at the expense of good manners. As an autistic I may be expected to hold a position obsessively, in this I find we are actually no different from neurotypicals. Perhaps,if there is a difference it is that we will argue our position logically whereas our opponents are unreasonable. There are people using autism as a marketing opportunity, however this is not always a bad thing. A number of people selling autism related products are the parents of autistics who are sharing a solution they have found to a problem related to autism, further if they have an autistic child they need all the money they can get. Of course some of the people marketing autism related products are simply out to make money, but we live in a capitalist society and trade is the norm. If businessmen did not seek to profit by satisfying a need it might not be satisfied; it’s a lousy system , but its what we’ve got. There are also people peddling unscientific and unproven treatments to desperate parents, and the debate around these treatments can get very unpleasant, as is since often the way when money is concerned.

It is right that we should debate robustly, particularly when lives may be at risk. It may be a little over optimistic of me to ask people to respect empirical fact, many people seem incapable of separating proven fact from anecdote. However I do think I have a right and a duty to ask that we respect each other. It can be difficult when someone clings doggedly to an untenable position, or evinces a fatuous argument. However we will make little progress collectively if we cannot learn a little patience, if we don’t learn to listen and respect the sincerity with which someone holds an opinion. If we must challenge their views, let it be only their errors and not their identity. That someone’s opinions are wrong does not make them wrong as a person; that they are capable of believing something stupid doesn’t mean they are stupid. That someone argues with me doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong…actually it does, obviously! All I ask is that we put our collective goal to get the best for autistic people before our need to be “right”and or to win. Come on, come on, let’s get together!

I Didn’t Get Where I Am Today

The other day, as I headed for home, from the Boyd Orr building in Glasgow’s West End, I passed the Student Television studios. It occurred to me that, even in my day, there were students who engaged in hobbies like television or debating, because they were appropriate to their career plans. The story is told that Michael Hesseltine planned out his political career up to becoming Prime Minister,  ‘millionaire 25, cabinet member 35, party leader 45, prime minister 55′, on the back of an envelope while still a student; apart from the last two he made it. He took his chance at the PM, unfortunately for him – if not for the rest of us – he didn’t make it. However by any meaningful material measure, he can be described as a success. Sid Savara has debunked the story of research done into goal setting at Harvard Business School. However his article does cite research by Gail Matthews, Ph.D., Dominican University which demonstrates that there is truth to the assertion that writing down one’s goals is more likely to have them happen.

It must be nice to know as a youth the course of one’s life, I personally, have difficulty looking beyond bedtime, to plan a day in advance is a tribulation. Like many people with Aspergers I tend not to have a grasp of the relationship between actions and their consequences, or rather, I can see the relationship in hindsight, but it tends not to occur to me before acting. Having said all that I have, on occasion, written lists of goals and a surprising number have been accomplished, as I have discovered on reading old notebooks. I have in the past done all sorts of personal development courses, and have been frustrated at my lack of material success, that changed when I received my diagnosis and my comparators changed. In autistic terms I may be called a success as I have employment and a long term relationship. However, insofar as I perceive myself not to have the specific success I want, I am not YET a success. To a great extent my problem has been not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but at Sixty I have, at least, some things I want to try. At last I actually have a couple of projects on the go, apart from the garden. I am not a failure, I’m a very late developer. As for growing up, it’s not in my schedule.

Trust Issues

That I have Asperger’s is no secret. That I have trust issues is not as readily apparent because I am always prepared to trust someone once, but once betrayed by them it may take years before I am even prepared to consider extending trust again. I have been betrayed, my personal space, my privacy has been invaded. I conceal little about myself, but I like to be the one who reveals myself. Generally I am not very worried about privacy because I have nothing to hide, but when someone else takes it upon themselves to snoop into my affairs I take exception, largely because it offends my sense of etiquette, it is grossly ill-mannered. I resent having nosey young people snooping in my personal accounts.

On the request of my manager I allowed another member of staff access to my login so that they could answer emails in the company’s inbox, it was not an entirely unreasonable request assuming, as I did, that my colleague was reasonable. Unfortunately she is not particularly bright and managed to delete all the contents of my “Sent” folder, leaving me with no record of emails sent to HR or Wages. I could let that go, people make mistakes, but then she pretended my manager had asked her to try and find the missing emails, I allowed hat back into my account. She had lied, rather than fixing her stupid mistake she went into my Facebook and posted updates. She thought she was being funny, she has not the wit to be funny. I do not consider it a joke when someone trespasses in my personal space and violated my privacy. What is totally unforgivable is her trying to pass off her banal and immature remarks as mine. Needless to say that is the last time I allow someone else to use my login. I am not always quick to forgive a hurt but I am slower to forget one.

Last night was not good, on top of having my personal space violated, my sense of order was assaulted by yet more staff changes. A company had a right to change shift patterns to meet demand, it has a right to allocate those shifts, but I do get upset when that entails moving people to whose presence I am used, particularly when they make my workplace more enjoyable. If they had asked me I could have given them a list of people to move off my shift, headed by the idiot who abused my Facebook!

Self Definition?

There is a power in being able to define ourselves, as ethnic minority activists know hence the term “self defined as black”, however we do not get to choose most of the labels we bear. Sometimes our labels define us as I said in my blog post, Do We Allow Autism to Define Us?. We have two sorts of problematical labels, those of which we are aware and those of which we are not. If we look at the labels of which we are aware, the labels we use of ourselves, and apply them to rigorous analysis we will find that we did not originate most of them, but that they were given to us by others. This applies not only to the negative labels like, stupid, retard, weird, nerd, geek etc., but also to the positive labels, witty, clever, attractive. Unfortunately most of us seem to be more ready to accept of ourselves, the negative labels. These labels are not inherent to us but merely the opinions of others, often not even the opinions of others, but a word used under particular circumstances at a particular time, however the emotion and the context may have given the thought excessive charge.

Perhaps even more deadly are the labels of which we are not aware. These are the thoughts about ourselves that have been installed in our unconscious of which our conscious has no knowledge, some of these will even date back before we had the capacity to even articulate them ourselves. Because we have no awareness of these labels, we cannot identify them in order to remove them. Sometimes some will present to conscious, but many will remain quietly in our unconscious shaping our opinions, beliefs and self image. Much of who we think we are is not based on knowledge, but on installed beliefs, most of which are not even ours.

We are trapped within an image created by beliefs, but we do not have to remain there, there are ways of handling the beliefs with which we have been programmed. Where the beliefs can be identified we may use a number of NLP belief change techniques, but the unconscious beliefs can also be challenged at levels of various depth. Time Line Therapy (TM) can be used to identify and discharge past traumas and the beliefs and limiting decisions they have given us. Emotional Freedom Technique and Matrix Re-imprinting which was developed from it are also powerful ways of accessing installed beliefs while bypassing the conscious mind. I am not sure how the Access Consciousness Bars work, however my experience of them is that they seem to short circuit the internal wiring of the mind, they also seem to be related to meridien work. What I do know is that when my bars are being run I relax so deeply I fall asleep, but Reiki does that too. I suspect that their effectiveness will not be empirically proven for some time, I do hope an experiment is designed that can properly evaluate them, but for now, I suspect, our knowledge is too limited. I also find that the Access Consciousness Clearing Statement is a very powerful tool for shifting beliefs, even when I am not fully aware of what they are or from where they came. Of course, the classic way of accessing the unconscious is through hypnosis, which can also be used for reprogramming beliefs.

Language is key to our programming, the world exists as we describe it. Language is also the primary medium of change in most of the technologies to which I have referred. I think it was Wayne Dyer who said that the two most pernicious statements in our language are, “I can’t do it” and “I’m not well”. The first operates on a level of Belief the other on the even deeper level of Identity so today I am not even saying, “I have flu”, but rather, I have symptoms which some may consider symptomatic of influenza” thus putting everything on the level of action and the easiest place to make changes is in our actions, it also puts distance between me and the sensations removing any emotional charge that might impede my freedom to act.

I have already talked about how my first foray into Stand Up Comedy has transformed my life and it is a change operating on the identity level. What I did by standing on stage and making people laugh was to change who I had been being. I also negated the stereotypes and labels which had been applied to me by myself and others. I effectively rebooted my entire belief system and allowed myself to be who I say I am, and I can be whoever I choose, this could be interesting.


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