Looking back on the road trip I took, I think about what I learned. On my last day of travel, I found myself drawn to one of the many beaches in Santa Barbara. I knew in my heart that I would be able to find a special kind of solitude that would free me from the few disappointments that I had experienced.
I’ve always felt that people on the spectrum have a hard time staying in the present moment because their minds are overstimulated by a world that has contributed to their problems and yet, cannot find a solution to alleviate the stress. It is my feeling that young children on the spectrum need to be taught a more spiritual, universal way to calm down and focus their inner beings.
What has worked for me personally was being taught how to meditate and focus on the conscious act of breathing. I was taught to feel every inch of my body’s nerve endings from my crown to my fingers and toes. I have also felt that it should not, in any way be connected to any external pressure such as culture, religion, or society, because those entities are often muddled with distracting ritual at times.
Because I was fortunate enough to learn from other people with a more enlightened and universal view of personal growth, I was able to find a way to center my mind and soul in a place of peace and tranquility. I feel that in order to be taught this type of centering, a person should teach it consciously without an agenda in the wings.
Whether it’s personal, religious, or societal, an agenda is often ego-driven and therefore not coming from the center of being. I believe that for an aspie to really learn to quiet their minds, they have to be taught to find that tranquility within them. The teacher should guide them gently to that place of being, help them take away all external distractions, and show them how to go to that sacred space within themselves.
Case in point: when I found an empty bench on that day, I sat down and breathed deeply. Before I knew it, I felt the need to close my eyes, straighten my back, and relax my muscles.
I sat there for some time in a deeply meditative place, letting all the stress ebb away and focusing solely on the world around me. With my eyes closed I could feel everything, the gentle, cool breeze was like a sedative for the midsummer day. Any oppressive heat was tempered by the wind off of the gently-moving ocean, as well as the soothing sounds of the waves that provided a refreshing calm. The sky was cloudless and a vibrant shade of blue; I knew that I was privileged to be a part of the present moment in the middle of creation.
As I stirred, the din of people around me further stimulated my senses. Even though it’s regarded as a very “busy” sound to most people, for me, it blended into the background and I felt no sense of hustle or rush. To my ears, listening to the sound of people was just another way of being observant of my surroundings. Have you ever felt like you were in the right place at the right time and it was meant to happen? I felt the same way after I left the beach, and even more so after I came back home.
When I came back, I found out that I had overdrawn my bank account when I was traveling. It was easy to fix online, but the sting of making such a grievous error just didn’t feel good at all. Looking at it now, I know that in my Aspie brain, I’m sensitive to how I appear to others and I tend to be critical with myself for making mistakes. This has led me to repeat certain screw-ups more than once out of fear, and being self-judgemental has often led me to miss the opportunity to learn from the experience, good, bad, or indifferent.
It took about a day to process the emotion after the fact, but I realized that there was a lesson in that mistake as well. After all, isn’t it a human action to realize mistakes and then do something to correct them? It turns out that I learned a valuable lesson from this financial flub. Even when traveling on a trip that is meant for freedom and a change of pace, it requires responsibility for things like personal safety and finance. If there is little control over finance and a sense of reckless disgregard for personal safety, a dream vacation could turn into a nightmare really quick.
I also realized that I’m not the only one who struggles with money. I personally don’t know the track record of anyone on the Spectrum with regard to finances, therefore I really want to know. I want to hear from people on the Spectrum or anyone who is close to them. I need to find out if I am the only one who struggles in this subject, because my experience is by no means universal; I need to know exactly what drives others so that I may better understand myself.
I really believe that trouble with money is not an “Aspie” thing, but a human thing that many people are loathe to talk about. Thank God that people like Suze Orman are around to help us break through the barriers of myth and false concepts that have held back people for far too long.
In all honesty, my disappointments happened because I didn’t look things up on my computer while I was traveling. Sure, I wanted to capture the mystique of going where the wind takes me and finding great things along the way, but by having expectations and just a destination in mind, I almost missed out on the journey, which was the best part of my trip.
I’m reminded of “Inherit the Wind”. I read the play and watched the 2 movie versions, and remembered that Henry Drummond, the defense attorney, was putting forth the arguement that no progress was made without sacrifice. I believe what he meant was that change is difficult for people, and I didn’t want to look things up, because I wanted to be surprised. Now, I know that there is nothing wrong with doing research, it is necessary to have knowledge beforehand so that plans can be easily changed without disappointment or bitterness.
All in all, I had fun on my road trip. Even though it had it’s ups and downs, I realize now that I wouldn’t change a thing. Events turned out the way they did because I made them happen that way. Everything was a learning experience, and that is just part of the lessons that I continue to learn, and I know that I am not quitting until I’m ready to walk out of the classroom of life and start knocking on Heaven’s door.