Three years ago, while finishing my Psychology Degree at Sonoma State University, I signed up as a counselor for a weekend camp for Jewish Adolescents with Autism. At that time, if you knew me, that would not be the first thing you would expect when it came to weekend activities. But… I needed one more unit to graduate and this weekend assignment offered just that.
That weekend truly was one of the most unexpected exponential lessons in growth.
I had never had any experience being around people with autism and had severe resistance when I was paired with Jazzy* who had severe cerebral palsy. She was buckled into her wheel chair and fed through a feeding tube. Neither of which I had had any first hand experience with. I was paired with her for the pajama party and was slightly if not totally overwhelmed with the responsibility.
My ignorance and fear were riding shotgun …
I got to know Jazzy* that night and was able to experience the energy of her emotions and wants through her ways of non-verbal communication. (She was not capable of talking.)
I painted her toes, took her for a walk and played with bubbles. By the time I brought her back to her grandmother, (her mother was not in the picture) it took everything I had not to break down right there.
My dam of personal decency was about to give way to all the emotions and attachments to prejudice I never even realized I had. Whoa…
Her grandmother proceeded to tell me how much her life changed when she adopted her granddaughter. The money and the fast pace of the corporate world was no longer an option, if she wanted to take care of her granddaughter.
We talked about how loving, accepting and heart-centered are the community surrounding autistic people. And how different the personal connections are in comparison to the world of money, stature and success. What a beautifully blissful community, even amidst the chaos.
My heart shattered that weekend.
I left the conversation with her grandmother and barely shut the door before I BURST into tears. The threshold of growth, the world, my idea of love, as I knew it had been wrong all along…
I realized I had never experienced LOVE before. Pure, radiant, non-judgmental, fully accepting, non-comparative beautifully understanding love. And the strength. WOW. The strength of these parents is something to take note of at the very least. These were and still are some of the most beautiful people I have ever met in my life.
I thought a LOT after that weekend:
-Why do some spirits get fully functioning bodies, while others remain in the mindset of children?
-Why do some bodies have to fully rely on others to live?
And of course, there are all sorts of scientific reasons and speculation for autism, but none of it made sense to my budding spiritual exploration.
After having many deep conversations regarding this topic with friends and professors at the time, I developed a theory. Keep in mind, I am a firm believer in the fact that we choose, as spirits, the bodies and circumstances surrounding the environment we are born into.
What I began to carefully unfold in my heart and in my meditations was the understanding that these spirits were here to raise the vibrational frequency of the planet. Through experiencing the amount of love they create by making the sacrifice to be in bodies that seem, on the outside, to be in struggle, they teach those around them how to LOVE, I mean REALLY LOVE.
The type of love that encourages you to make any and all sacrifices in life to take care of another, while learning to accept and take care of yourself. That’s HUGE! I mean enormous! (And I’m not even going to get into the theory and explanation of karma) Think of this narcissistic culture we live in and how many people just blow off this subject because it “doesn’t affect them personally.” I’m telling you, those of us that are not connected are going to be hard pressed to find that kind of love in our lives.
We all have so very much to learn in such a short time. If you were given the opportunity to learn what it means to truly love… Would you take it?
Please engage with your stories and comments. I would love love love to hear your thoughts and perspectives on this topic.
Please also note that this was written with the purest of love and clear intention. Please forgive me if I said something that wasn’t politically correct.