Thursday, June 28, 2007

Letter to a Wonderful Parent of a Special Needs Child

As you know, you are already a wonderful parent. You adore Your child. We watch him and encourage him and delight in him and enjoy him and take care of him and talk to him and listen to him and love him to bits. And he is worth all this and you know it and he knows it. So, obviously, you will keep being this way.

You also have a wonderful ability to focus on what he is doing well and what he is learning and skip the trap of “what’s missing.” What’s missing is just another way of saying: lots of opportunity to learn, but that is the case for all of us. As Feldenkrais said, We are all handicapped. We all have limitations. And the fun is, not beating ourselves up about those, but taking all the time in the world to slow down and learn the next wonderful thing we are going to learn.

Along these lines, buy the Anat Baniel DVD on backs, and CD on Necks, and do one of the movement lessons every day. Maybe the first time through, do each lesson for two days, but keep doing them, over and over and over. Each time you will learn something you didn’t yet know. Every time I do them, after years of doing them, I learn something more.

Here are some hints to keep the learning alive:
What is your pelvis doing?
What is your lower back doing?
What is your spine doing?
How are you breathing?
What are your ribs doing?
What is the relationship between your head and your pelvis?
How is your breathing going?

If you can go slowly, and gently and be aware of all those seven things, you will always learn, you’ll have a meditation on being now, and you’ll continuously improve the quality of your own thinking, being and moving.

As for Your child: when he is sleepy, and not so full of frisk and vigor, say before nap and before night sleep, do, gently, gently, slowly, slowly, any pieces of any of the lessons with his body. Any movements that you know feel really nice and connecting and interesting and pleasurably to you, gently guide him through. No doing it right. No efforting. Just the pleasure of moving and having different areas waking up to each other. Go slow, and feel in yourself how the movement might be feeling in him. If you come to a tense or tight or restricted zone, where he doesn’t move as well as you might, do less. Go slower. Just hint at it.

All will be fine. Touching is good.

I will make a couple of diet recommendations. I have years of study in this, but no certification and anything, and some proof in my own health and whatnot. Follow or not as your intuition and good sense recommend.

I’d suggest getting off pasteurized dairy. Since we are lucky enough to have two stores selling raw organic milk, get that. Yogurt can easily be made from that milk. Get quart jars, put about an inch of yogurt that you already have in the bottom, add the raw milk, stir and sit in a sunny window. Within a day, you’ll have new yogurt and will never have to buy it again. Kefir (Sonoma Market carries a raw brand as Qeffir, right next to the raw milk, though often sold out) is even healthier than yogurt and made in the same way: add raw milk to an inch of the past stuff and it makes itself.

Warning: these all feed tooth decay, as doing all the other sweets. So do the tooth brushing thing and maybe even teach him how to swish out his mouth with water. On the sweet subject. You are already sugar free, which is great. Honey is fine in small doses, but sweet from inside fruits and sweet veggies is best.

Hardest possibility: drift away from flour products, cookies, pasta and even bread ( gasp, and again, go slow and as fits what feels really right for you). Go for whole cooked grains of rice or wheat or oats and barley or whatever. Not as convenient. Way out of normal, and maybe check Sally Fallow and Nourishing Traditions out to get some encouragement if you want to edge toward this.

The ideas behind all the Feldenkrais and Anat Baniel work are fantastic. My (here we are) site has many, many essays which can help you, as does Anat’s at Even here: go slow, integrate, take it in, make it true and real and pleasurably for you.

If you stay fine and learning and growing, Your child can’t help but keep improving. Keep noticing and delighting in his small changes and don’t get hooked into what other people think. This is the greatest slavery in human existence anyway. What other people think is their business, and we make ourselves miserable when we believe what they think and feel has anything to do with us. See, and Byron Katie’s work to get emotional freedom.

For now though, if anyone ever again asks, “What’s wrong with your child?” answer back: What’s wrong with you?

Because in looking at the deficits instead of the possibilities that’s what’s wrong with the questioner (or us, when we go to that mode). Your child has a lifetimes of delightful learning ahead of him. So do you. So do I.


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