Monday, July 7, 2014

Dealing with and Understanding Meltdowns *Link*

Through out life, those with differing brain wiring or genetic composition, have to assimilate for the majority. Some issues simply need more awareness, preparedness and understanding. Take meltdowns... The following link is extensive and crucial. I could not have written/ expressed and explained meltdowns better myself nor am I going to attempt to.  

I have been accused as manipulative, bossy, controlling or harshly grumpy when I was simply in the throes of a genuine meltdown and doing quite well considering. I also can come across quite witchy when overwhelmed. The following link impressively covered every kind of meltdown and the reasoning behind the brain’s reactions without boxing anyone up.

One of my children bawls his eyes out often thinking he is a mean person…when he is the nicest, truest, purest heart I know…he just has lots of meltdowns and is still learning about himself. This link is VERY important to read for engaging with anyone who is Neurodiverse. Meltdowns tend to happen with differing genetic conditions and different brain wiring too:

Highlights taken from the above link at inneraspie:

 "I can list a few different general types, and triggers so that you might be able to gather some info from here to possibly compare to your own situation. One thing that I heard once from a behavior specialist is that a meltdown is like a seizure in that you cannot stop one once it's started. You can make one worse, and you can prolong it's effects, but once the brain has reached that tipping point it is over. You can't unspill the overload, which is is to me what a meltdown is. It is an acute reaction to too much happening all at once, in which the brain has no way to cope, or contain. The excess must go somewhere. From what I can gather there are three main categories of meltdowns. Sensory, Executive functioning mishaps, and Emotional."
"Sensory: This is probably the most common. A meltdown caused by too much sensory input can be sudden, and out of no where, or look like a pot slowly about to boil over. A noise that barely bothered the person last week suddenly seems to push them over the edge this week leaving everyone confused, at best, and accusatory (as in viewing the autistic person as if their reaction is geared towards manipulation) at worst. "
"There's so many factors that play into this type of overload that it is hard to even catch it all here in this paragraph. There are some noises, and sensations that always overload some of us, and there are some that we can tolerate if we are having a good day. There are some that we can tolerate for awhile on a good day, and some we can tolerate alone, but not mixed in combination of other sensations. Sleep, hunger levels, and something as simple as one tiny routine change, or confusing social encounter that day may all lead up to usually tolerable sensory experience being intolerable.
That subject is too involved to add to this entry, but the only 'way' they're trying to get is for the sensory climate to change. It's a matter of self preservation, which is not the same as a child throwing a fit for a candy bar at Kmart. Allow the person their human right of being overwhelmed, and expressing that. The more you learn what induces meltdowns the better you can help the person who is having them avoid situations that they will likely occur, and the more you respect the person having one the more safe they will feel sharing with you what they need. The autistic person needs to trust that you will keep them safe, and that includes their sensory system."
 " He is 12 now, and is pretty good at dealing with surprises, and typically is more flexible than I am at handling routine changes.I must note, I was brought up in a chaotic environment where no consideration to my need for sameness was ever given. Any upset that I may have expressed over wanting something to be the same, and planned out was viewed by my parents as manipulation, and they would purposely withhold whatever it was I was requesting to show me I 'wasn't the boss'. I cannot explain how much damage this did to me anxiety wise. Please, don't do this."
"If you are with an autistic person when their routine suddenly changes be calm. Don't try to explain to us how we're being unreasonable if we begin to get upset. Calmly, and kindly let us know what our options are. How can we proceed? We need to know that, and sometimes need a minute to process it all. Try to warn us of any changes way ahead of time. Respect that it is hard for us to process change at last minute."
"Also, please be as consistent as you can..... Odd as it sounds, too much happy can also cause meltdown, too. It is an emotion after all, and too much of it at once can be too overwhelming for us at to process. I find this kind of positive overload to trigger a meltdown that occurs after the event that made the autistic person so elated, happy, or joyful."
"Meltdowns should never be punished. Ever. This includes taking privileges away via behavior charts like color cards, ect. Children typically do the best with the skills they have. If they're hitting others, and such behaviors that typically means they need to learn a better coping skill, or need support in their current environment that they currently don't have access to. I see this a lot, and it really, really upsets me when parents punish their child for basically being autistic. Usually, I hear the parents tell them they 'need to make better choices'.When this happens they miss an opportunity to teach them how to advocate for themselves, and learn important coping skills. The child learns their well being doesn't matter, and that they can't win. Finally, meltdowns happen. In my opinion, it's part of being on the spectrum. Learning how to deal with them when they happen can mean the difference between having a small hiccup in our day, and having an all out total chaotic mess that leaves everyone  totally exhausted. You cannot reason a person out of a meltdown, so please don't try. We know we are out of control, and not making sense. There is nothing we can do about it while in the middle of a meltdown.

Please journey on over to this link and read the rest of the wisdom:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Natural, Sensual Menstruation...or Ways to Make Menstruation SLIGHTLY better

Every human being is connected to mothers, sisters, women friends, or daughters ect. If you are not a woman... you are dealing with one in some form. Menstruation, simply put, SHOULD be an earthy, creative, and sensual  part of the calendar but for some it is tougher than others (see my label PMDD on the side for more in that regard.) As in any other area of life, marketing has cashed in and told women what is 'appropriate' and 'convenient' for them to use during this time. Despite the serious health risks involved, women continue to use the products unaware of the disservice (not to mention strong odours) that they are adding to their bodies. But there is hope. With a bit of education, awareness, and yes, POSITIVE facts about menstruation the dangerous cycle can be turned into a beautiful cycle once again or at least more comfortable...

As a woman, I am personally insulted by the way mainstream media wants us to cover up traces of womanhood yet expose the ones that are deemed worthy.  Keep the breasts ~ Hide the 'show' of a fertile body. Dispose of our 'garbage' ~ Reap the sensual benefits. We are more empowered and educated than marketers portray. This is nothing to be embarrassed of. Similar to birth mentality, education, natural awareness and support can create life- long, beautiful, raw experiences for women. The fact is, despite that menstruation can bring pain, exhaustion and vulnerability to women, it also brings raw appeal in some cases.

In environments of natural lighting, the moon controls a women's cycle. That fact alone points to the beauty and mystery of the woman's body. The moon also controls the world's water bodies. This varies from calm to destructive- depending on the process. The same is true for menstruation. Menstruation can be sexy, or at least at times, it can be somewhat more comfortable. I would have never said that before switching to healthier alternatives. After 3 - 6 months of my body adjusting and cleansing I actually felt slightly more empowered during my time. The first time I wore my gorgeous bamboo cotton design I knew I would never go back. The pad was supple, comfy and matched my underwear. They even have thong sizes available! I felt in tune with my body. As I rinsed out the pads for the wash, I was not disgusted at all. (I have a blood phobia, so I thought this would be a big deal. It took a bit to get used to.) Sometimes, I don't feel like rinsing, but on those days I throw the pads in a metal canister filled with cold tea tree oil water (3 drops) or vinegar until the next day. My bathroom smells like essential oils and my garbage is left without that fishy smell. By the way, the fish smell is from the chemicals in disposable tampons and pads. Once your body de-detoxifies you will not have that odour ever again.

Menstruation should be, at the very least, a beautiful time to relax. There is a book called 'The Red Tent' ( by Anita Diamant) that I would highly recommend. Also the book "The Orgasmic Birth" is a book that changed my birthing experiences forever. My third child had a wonderful birth compared to my first. These books changed my perception on birth and menstruation. 

In ancient times when women cycled around the moon they would go to the 'red tent' to live out the menstruation. The ladies were waited on by the younger gals as they just relaxed and chatted about life. This gave them a huge respite every month from their duties. Women in those days did a lot of the hard labour so this time was a welcome change. Their monthly visits brought them together as a community. I believe that this time of month is a break from all the demands put on women today. It is empowering to embrace the fact that we are strong, capable women who allow ourselves to indulge and rest. We allow our body to 'make show' of our potential capabilities in birth and life. Our life blood helps run this world. I don't see men shushing sperm talks. This is even bigger. 

Although menstruation has it's definite downsides, it also has some aspects worth celebrating. It should be a time to rest and stop pushing ourselves to perfection. It should be a time of embracing our messiness. Menstruation teaches that what feeds life also causes pain.  It is also a time when women can be more verbal or emotional. I feel this is important as often women do not allow themselves to anger or boundaries. Some of the best necessary endings in my life happened when I was menstruating and was more brave to express.

My husband was actually the progressive one who pushed me to try this alternative. I was having a horrid time with my cycle, experiencing extreme cramps that required prescription medication and I felt ugly. I am happy to report that SOME of that that has changed. Instead of yucky packaging clogging up the bathroom drawers I have two bags full of clean adorable cloth options. I feel cute, fresh and healthy. However, natural therapies, massage and learning about PMDD and Endo management were the other parts of the puzzle to making my pain more bearable. I stopped the prescriptions and due to Endo I am still in extreme pain for three days, so I still need natural therapies and I still suffer. I can't go out. I do not plan anything on my crucial three days and I tend to be bed ridden...but I still try to hold a healthier perspective and having cute pads helps or at least the pads are "perspective reminders" for me.

There are two main alternatives to disposable pads. The Diva Cup ( Link here) and organic cloth reusable pads. Both are healthy, safe, and comfortable. Both make a better world and a better YOU. I promise after 3- 6 months you will smell better, the bathroom will feel cleaner, and you will be more in tune with your body, empowered, healthier, and even experience less cramping from the toxic cleanse. Because of the way blood staying in your body can cause toxic build up the cloth pads are the better option overall. However, the Diva cup is handy for swimming ect. In this article I am going to focus more on reusable pads. There are many makers of these and I have found a few companies on Etsy to be the best. (I did a trial of 7 different companies. The ones that are organic or have a bamboo liner with flannel are the best choices. Bamboo is a natural disinfectant. Don't order velour !) The Epicerma Mother Moon Pads Link Here is excellent for medium to heavy flows or overnight. The pads are elegant with pearl buttons and snazzy colours. (Top picture) Randumosity on Etsy is also  excellent for light to medium flow and have cute options to choose from. Site Naturally Hip has cute thong pads,  light days and wet bags for convenient travel. The best thing about being a woman is the prerogative to have a little fun...AND these ARE Fun!

A few facts on disposable (AKA plastic) pads and tampons taken with permission from: 

"For Your Health-The plastic and glue backing on disposable pads greatly reduce air circulation, creating a stagnant environment in which some bacteria thrive. This can cause odour and exacerbate any pre-existing vaginal irritation. This plastic sheeting also causes perspiration, sometimes rashes and other irritations, and can leave you more susceptible to yeast infections. Many women report allergic reactions to disposable pads, most likely caused by bleaching residues.
Low levels of dioxin have been found in almost every major brand of tampon (except 100% organic cotton). Dioxin is a known carcinogen and has been linked to cervical cancer, breast cancer, endometriosis, and immune system suppression. There is much scientific debate as to whether there is such a thing as a “safe level” of dioxin exposure. For more information on dioxin, please see the Dioxin Fact Sheet, prepared by the scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
Most women are aware of the risks of Toxic Shock Syndrome with prolonged tampon use. What many women do not know is that the bacteria that causes TSS is naturally occurring in menstrual blood. When the flow of menstruation is cut off and held in the body, this bacteria has the opportunity to proliferate to toxic levels. TSS can cause serious physical impairment and even death.
“WE’LL ABSORB THE WORRY” -- Rely tampon ad
Approximately 35% of the fluids absorbed by a tampon are not menstrual blood, but natural body fluids produced to moisturize and cleanse the vagina. Tampon use can also increase the propensity for yeast infections.
“Our only interest is in protecting you.” -- Tampax ad, 1972

Final Note-After WWI, Kotex marketed the first disposable menstrual products. They were hailed as sophisticated and liberating, and were priced out of the reach of the average woman. They were marketed much like as baby formula, playing on the negative social attitudes of the time, towards women’s bodies. The disposable menstrual products industry used this fear and ignorance of women’s sexuality to propel their products into the mainstream. Women were assured that they could effectively “disguise” the fact that they were menstruating if they used disposable products, and could neatly “dispose” of the “waste”, leaving no trace that the shameful act had occured.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have since been invested by the disposable pad and tampon companies to try to perpetuate the misconception that menstruation is dirty and must be kept well concealed.
“Never take your purse to the john” -- Tampax television ad aimed at teenage girls, 2000.
 None of the major tampon or pad manufacturers have ever offered a safe, environmentally sound menstrual product. Why? Simply put, there’s a bigger profit in selling you disposable products that you’ll have to purchase again and again and again, at ever increasing prices.
“Your shame is their gain!” -- Goddess Moons, 2001"
* If you have any questions about switching sanitary products, care of, or additional issues please feel free to email me.


Post addition ( used with permission) from

*"Our Environment- It has been estimated that women use approximately 11,000-13,000 menstrual pads or tampons each, during their menstruating years. Most of us are aware of the environmental disaster created by disposable diapers, yet the problem with menstrual products is far greater! Disposable pads, panty liners, and incontinence garments are almost exclusively made from wood products. This wood often comes from ancient old growth forests, which are NOT a renewable resource. When old growth forests are clear cut for pulping, entire ecosystems are wiped out, only to be replaced by a tree farms. In the processing of this wood pulp, thousands of tonnes of sludge and harsh contaminates such as chlorine dioxide are released into our waterways, causing untold damage to wildlife and human health!
"Every major brand of tampons is made of a cotton/ rayon blend. In the bleaching process, organochlorines are formed such as dioxin, which is often released into ground water. Almost every single menstrual pad and incontinence garment has a plastic backing and a layer of adhesive, both of which will last for generations to come in our landfills. Many also contain additional chemicals to enhance their absorbency. Tampons often come with a plastic , or plastic coated wood fibre applicator. These applicators not only have a long life, but they also get to do a bit of travelling! Both tampons and their applicators do not decompose in sewage treatment systems like other organic wastes. They often cause these systems to get clogged, and end up released into the ocean still intact. Sewage treatment systems that rely on chemical means only, leave tampons and their applicators virtually unaffected. Thousands of tampon applicators wash up on coastal beaches every day.
For Your Pocket Book $-Disposable pads and tampons: If the average woman uses 11,000- 13,000 pads or tampons, then 550 - 650 boxes of 20 at an average of $4.00 US/ $6.00 Cnd. per box, equals a grand total of $2,400.00-$2,600.00 US/ $3,300.00-$3,900.00 Cnd.!! Now that’s not including panty liners! Goddess Moons: With a life span of about 10 years, if you spend $33.50 US/ $50 Cnd. Per starter kit three times, you get a grand total of $100 US/ $150 Cnd. Now if you want to live like a real Goddess, and not have to do laundry at all during your moon time (because you’re too busy doing inner work), you could purchase two starter kits, three times in your life for a total of $200 US/ $300 Cnd."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Suggestions to Meet Desperate or Ordinary Needs *Repost**

Original comments found here:

When you need a break:
Find a quiet place and challenge yourself to spend fifteen minutes simply breathing. You can afford fifteen minutes.

When you are suffering bodily ill:
Breathe. Tell yourself that you WILL get through this...eventually... somehow. Take your supplements. Drink water. Buy some plants to cleanse your air. Switch cleaning chemicals for normal vinegar, soda and tea tree oil dilutions. Rest. Slowly walk. Slowly stretch. Consume anything that you can keep down but try to keep it raw or clean...or dark chocolate. Take an Epsom bath for fifteen minutes. Call a friend. Revive your spirit with a happy song. Honour what your body asks for. Listen. Contemplate.

When your mind begs for peace:
Reach out to a friend in need. Help somebody. Give some inspiration. Make something beautiful. Give of yourself and you will briefly find your peace.

When your mind begs for challenge:
Be your change. Create a forum. Create a group of people who would never otherwise meet. Do not make the goal of closeness, make the goal of acceptance and growth. Keep your tone merciful and your knowledge in balance. Humility involves confidence and gracefulness.

When you are looking for something that lasts:
Stop looking and start BEING. Nothing lasts here except the love we give and get. Yet, even those good times will feel temporary on this planet. Instead of getting down about this, mourn losses and celebrate victories. Party with those who are happy and cry with those who are down.

When you are barely surviving:
Ask. Those who ask - receive. Ask until someone answers. Ask for your needs. Ask for someone, anyone, to breathe moments for you. When they tire, ask someone else. Do not feel guilt. You too will gain strength and then you must be the one who answers.

When you look in the mirror and see nothing of value:
You must write to your best friend. Picture the one you love most in this world. Write what you see in their soul and what you wish for them. Then realize that you also need to have these thoughts for yourself. Paste it on your mirror and change the person's name to yours. This note is for you, first and foremost. If you can see these attributes in the one you love- you must also see them in yourself. In order for those you love most to find the love in themselves, you must also find yours.

When you need activity:
Sigh. Stretch. Sing. Dance. Walk out the door. Walk around the block. Stretch. Sing. Sigh. Dance into bed in the style of My fair Lady. Thank your muscles by slowly releasing with thankful thought each one ... as you lay cozied up.

When you are lonely:
Honour that place. Is the Divine asking you to sit with yourself? Is there a painful growth that needs to be done alone? Are you meant to think for yourself first? OR Are you alone because you made the wrong choice without regard for others? OR Are you simply alone because often in this unfair life we all are...but in that fact we are together. Be comforted. Find anyone who will listen to your loneliness. Find belief in something and talk to the Being or thought. Know, none of us are truly alone yet we must all bear this burden at some this you are united with others.

When you are bored:
Learn. The last thing you need to do is sit on your duff thinking nothing appeals to you. In this moment nothing will. Until then find something to learn. Look up a word on the net. Find a reason to help end poverty. Research a syndrome. Understand your human counterparts. Find some meaning in a well worded book. Teach someone about something. Learn how to calm anxiety. Learn about differences. Seek knowledge. Find anything to learn about. Life is short. Fill it or allow it to flow. Sit in boredom for awhile if you must. Perhaps it will give you more gratitude when something captures your attention.

When you are feeling forgotten by all of your friends:
Ask yourself: "Have I forgotten to email back before? Did I ever receive a phone message and be extremely excited to hear from a person only to forget about it for weeks? Have I missed dates and get together's simply because I got caught up in life? Did that mean I loved this person less? Of course not!" Then apply this knowledge to yourself. Perhaps they did forget about you and you need to make yourself heard. They can not think of you all the time.
Or you need a few new friends to fill another role? Friends fill different aspects of us. It is important to have a few different friends. It is important to love them all differently and not be jealous because we all have different parts of our character that are brought out by different people. It does not make anyone less.
But more likely, if you are feeling forgotten, you just need to give yourself and others grace. Grace and time.

When you need water:
Buy a fountain and feature it in your home. Make a commitment to water your plants, your soul, and your body. Fight to protect natural marshes and man made places of appeal. Send thank you notes to all the places that keep the water pure.

When you need trees:
Plant one. Plant one in your yard and pot one in your home. Watch the Lorax with the kiddos. Drive to the forest once a year. Share your love of trees and nurture growth in your community.

When you need beauty:
Make some. Find a new song and send it to your friends. Link up a photograph. Paint your face or feet. Find a treasured cast off in a second store and reunite it with it's purpose. Watch a well done film. Feed the homeless. Laugh with a child. Remember the wrinkles in a loving parent, grandparent or role model.

When you miss your friends:
Tell them. Make sure they know why they are unique. No one else can ever be them. Honour that by giving words of affirmation any chance you can. It may seem mushy but our hard lives need mush. We need more softness. We need more gentle light. We need more hope. We need more affirmation. Give, give, give, day they will be gone forever and you will loose a piece of yourself in them. Until then, honour with your words. Honour with your gifts. Write.

When you need a hug:
Give one. If no one is safe... buy a stuffie. I am not even joking. Find a beautiful, soft animal and pretend you are buying it for a child. Go home to your secluded safety and hug tight. Those who sleep with something to hold are found to be less stressed and healthier. Cry and honour your inner child that begs to be held. This isn't weird. It's why children love their soft toys. You were once that child.

When you want to end it all:
Don't you dare. You are a valuable, unique, undiscovered work of art. Someone will see that if you give them a chance. We need you here. You are here for a reason. There is something that only you can are soul worth BEING. Find someone who can believe in a stranger. Find some kindness. Be some kindness. Talk and keep talking until somebody listens.

When you are taking advantage of someone:
Remember we all struggle. It's ok to ask. It's ok if you are a person who needs more aid. Just make sure to give back to somebody somehow. Try to give the same consideration to the person you are asking much of. BE grateful always. Move on if they become bitter. While it is true they must own their boundaries and own their attitudes, you must respect theirs as well.

When you feel anxious:
I am sorry. There are no set answers for this one...well for any of these actually. These are just some suggestions to trigger your life choices. But in each situation, there is a part that is choice and a part that is not. You must recognize what is truth for you. In all things choose grace, redemption, love and forgiveness. It is a constant mindset. A constant changing. For anxiety- you must find grace. Someone or yourself to help you see some perspective. Someone to legitimize every crazy thing you are feeling...and then to give you a hand into a bit of light. Sometimes this takes a professional. Sometimes it must be sleep. Sometimes this means Cognitive therapy. But mostly this means TIME. Anxiety is hell but it does pass. Center yourself in the storm and find whatever works for you to quell the quivering fears and frightening threats. (Check out my link here for more:

Remember Gandhi's words;
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." But lower your expectations and be graceful yet strong within your change.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sensory Blog Hop: At the Zoo and other Sensory Experiences

* This is part of the blog hop that is live currently. Please check out links on bottom. *

“When I try to explain my condition to people I feel like they either think I'm making up excuses for myself or look on me as a freak or as some kind of nut case. Sometimes I feel that by telling them I have (insert condition) I'm alienating myself, but then, if I don't tell them I will probably mess up at some stage and they will think I'm strange anyway so I figure its (sic) better to tell them on the whole, especially if I intend to try and pursue any type of friendship.
But then at times I feel quite fine about myself, I feel like it's the rest of humanity that has the problem, not me. Sometimes I too, look on myself as a freak and a nut case. But then, I'm sure I'm not, because they always say that if your (sic) nuts you don't know it, and I'm sure I am, so I guess I'm not..... Make sense?”- Richard Rowe

The above quote awaited me from THIS blog. Our family feels Richard's sentiments. We are unusual because our whole family has some level of sensory overload or different ways of sensory processing. It works in the privacy of our home because we set it up to please all of us, but going out into the world is hard. Especially when I try to explain varied quirks on each of us (as we are not similar in all of our sensory likes and dislikes) or typical moments that other "normal" families enjoy but for us become a train wreak... Moments like the Zoo. 

Our family visited one of the best Zoos in Canada. The weather fluctuated between cold; We had to hold our ears. For a good fifteen minutes we all had massive headaches from the wind. It was so painful I almost cried so I knew my children were hurting worse. To hot; My son was begging for a cold drink and I felt like passing out. The smells were overpowering compared to the experience of  smells on a normal level. To us, who have sensory overload, we felt like we were literally being smothered by smell. 

The walking back and forth of caged beings had us feeling caged. Unlike other families at the Zoo we did  not own simplistic wonder.  We were baffled by those who could see a Giraffe and exclaim, "Wow, look at how tall he is! Look at his dots!" 
All we could do was smell the feces and want to move on. 

The animals were not our only problem at the Zoo. We were overwhelmed by the constant pushing of people. When walking through the black strips of plastic "doors" of the rooms containing free birds, my children and I would try to closely tag along to the person in front so we did not have to touch the disgusting, germ filled, slimy plastic.  I let doors slam behind me because I did not want to touch them (Now I get why sometimes people think I am rude. I honestly did not think of that until after my husband pointed it out. My brain was concentrating on how to avoid Hepatitis!) It was loud. People were pushy. Stenches were fresh. Cages were filled with poop and carcasses were freshly bloodied for lunch. Yuck. To those who love the Zoo please spread some love out there on behalf of us. With sensory overload our family just didn't handle it well.

Luckily, we found our perfection. Off to the side was a landscaped heaven. A quiet building rose out of the Aspens and I could almost hear the choir singing. A sign announced The Conservatory of Butterflies. We had to walk through the heavy black plastic again but this time it was worth it. Colour filled the gently perfumed air. The atmosphere was the perfect temperature. Quiet awe inspired the people entering to whisper. (Yay.) Butterflies fluttered around our head and landed on tropical trees. Peacock Butterflies, Purple Emperors, and Essex Skippers floated gracefully. Cocoons hung in clusters. The plants were growing in wild abandon. Gorgeous colours exploded in the background of calming green. It was the only place we took pictures that day. I laughed when someone asked my son what his favourite part of the Zoo was because he said, "The plants." They looked at him with disapproval and curiosity and moved onto someone who gave an appropriate response (Penguins.) We thought the Penguins were cute but they smell like Tuna TIMES ONE HUNDRED.  We love to eat tuna but it stinks to high heaven. Penguins puff out their bellies like over sized balloons about to burst. It looks painful. Then they squeak out the most annoying high pitched sound. Over and over and over again. They are only cute on movies. And yet there were people oohing and aahing. My whole family stumbled a few steps back and someone laughed when one of us mentioned the Tuna smell.  I almost lost my lunch. As we stepped back others crowded CLOSER. Baffled, I wondered at the state of humanity and then I realized they were probably wondering my families state if we can not enjoy the simple innocence of tiny creatures. I know we are the minority. 

So this is our life. We can be zipping along, confident and melting into the pot of "normal" and then suddenly we are hit with a multitude of sensory perceptions that make life difficult. 

Another example of this sensory onslaught was when were at a birthday party. The cake came out with 6 metal sparkles giving off a noxious smell. The house quickly filled with smoke. I was gagging and stifling a sense of panic as I tasted soap in my mouth. I knew if I felt like that the kids were having a tougher time. We have managed sensory onslaught with cognitive therapy enough to "fake it to make it" in some circumstances. I was so proud of them as they smiled and sang 'Happy Birthday' as they fought back the overwhelming sickness that was taking over their bodies. I felt like I was in a war zone.  My ears started ringing and my hands started shaking. This is our life. A life that so many do not understand or can not see. We left shortly after.

The taste and over stimulation in our bodies eased up fifteen minutes after being home. My daughter's stomach ache was suddenly fine. My son's headache went away and my youngest settled down and remarked, "Home at last where we are comfortable!" I honestly believe sensory perception was the cause of most of my childhood illnesses. I think if I could have had time to calm my nervous system down and different perceptions I could have had less stomach issues, muscle and head pain.

People who have sensory issues are influenced by our nervous system. Our brains process the input of sensory organs differently. We need a safe place that has the exact amount of vulnerability and challenge. It really depends on each person and each contextual situation because some people with different sensory needs or perceptions would be fine at the Zoo or a party but not ok at some other event.

A book that really helped aid me in figuring out what to do for our whole family was, "Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too tight." I now pack a "sensory" bag on most occasions filled with headphones, soothing scents, wrist bands, squishy textiles, Reiki stones, blankets, snacks that we actually will eat and other sensory saving items.  We also buy clothes that feel good and discard any that annoy us. We cut out tags and any food that makes us gag continuously. We only have items in our house that are comfortable or pleasing. It takes a bit more thought but we have found our sensory groove in a world that is often too loud, too bright and too tight...and smelly:)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Alberta Bound Always

My mother and I went to a small town to pick an item found from Kijiji. We ran out of fuel (we forgot) and pulled in to the closest town. We drove by the below image twice before we realized it was the "gas station."

Oh Alberta...I love you.

Alberta has so many towns like this. It's too funny...The pizza place had the only gas pump in town and the only fuel for miles. We were lucky to chance the dotted cluster of houses on the prairie.

It's so dodgy but people were so happy walking by in the 'one pump town'. We drove through a few rural places that day. It made me very thankful to live where I live and have the home I do. I am very content. I adore's full of contrasts and paradoxes...just like me. It's deeply flawed and absolutely horrid at times, and YET it can be so breathlessly beautiful with raw intensity that one has to catch a breath. It is full of extremes. No climate suits my persona more. I love it and hate it.  The beauty is a raw, real sort of pain that reaches deep and latches it's roots down into the system. The inspiration rises from the dirt just like the Rockies rise from tumbled trees. The depressing aspects grab the soul and wipe it clean like the winds of the Badlands forming the HooDoos. Alberta is a place that demands respect because one mistake in certain conditions or being ill prepared can be serious. Although it is not as dire as it used to be precautions still have to be made.

Recently we spotted two Coyotes near our home that were so huge I thought they were Deer at first. We have a LOT of Deer and many accidents due to deer but the Coyotes were close to home and could have EASILY carried one of my kids away. It's just crazy.

I am in LOVE with where I live but I also find humour in just has to. Alberta is my heaven. As local country singer Paul Brandt sings, "I'm Alberta bound. This piece of heaven that I've found. Rocky Mountains and Black fertile ground. Everything I need beneath that big blue sky. It doesn't matter where I go, this place will always be my home, I have been Alberta bound for all my life. And I'll be Alberta bound until I die. It's a pride that's been passed down to me deep as coal miners, wide as farmers fields. Yeah I've got independence in my veins. Baby, it's my down home redneck roots like these dusty old Alberta boots but like a Chinook wind keeps coming back again. I'm Alberta bound."

I see ALL of this every year. ALL. From the wheat fields to the Badlands to the Rockies...I live in the midst of the wonder. A diverse selection of scenery is only a three hour drive in any direction and infused with vast differences (Driving 2-3 hours is a regular occurrence and no big deal in most parts of Canada. Most people drive at least a two hour drive either way, once a week in Alberta.) Besides the rodeo images I liked this video montage on youtube that someone put together to Paul Brandt's song Alberta Bound:

 Alberta...REMEMBER to really does take my breath away at times.

My whole plug and love of home and hearth is done I was just so inspired by the beauty surrounding me that I had to write it down to share.

Leave a link to a blog post of aspects of home (for safety reasons do not be too specific...general country or territory is great) or send an email or I would LOVE to hear your descriptions of your country/city life in the comments section.
P.S. Since it fits with the country theme of this post Miranda Lambert's new album Platinum is phenomenal. She really is the queen of sassy honesty and raw feeling in the country genre of music.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Aspergers/ Autism is A Neurological way of Being- It does NOT cause Violence

Graphic made by: This is part of Gretchen Leary's Flashblog Autism is Not a Crime:

Friends and family tend to shelter me from any news about Aspies/ Autistics committing crimes or being accused of doing them because of their neurological difference. I usually find out anyway, and it's a form of deep prejudice to decide that a crime is based on a neurological wiring. It's like accusing a different race of more crimes...when really demographic, environment, and deep motivation matter more in the long run. All people are in need of help at some point, unfortunately some do not recognize this need themselves and bad things happen. 

People who have "no friends" or are "quiet" tend to get the brunt of accusations in shootings or acts of violence, even when the same acts in history have been committed by people with "many friends" and of whom were "extroverted." It's easier to blame some sort of quirk or point out the less social norms for a reason than to realize that bad things happen to good people or that sometimes something snaps, or that there is not always a clear motive. Susan Cain's book "Quiet" goes a long way in stopping the myths that quiet people are the violent people. Assuming quiet people are the future violent people is another prejudice stereotype that does no one good.

Since I am Autistic/ Aspie I wanted to "normalize" Aspergers/Autism...because there are so many misunderstandings of what it means to be an Aspie/ Autistic. The fact is that sometimes we DO need more help in life in some daily activities due to sensory overload or anxiety or depression or dyspraxia or ADD (each Aspie is different in these traits), however, we give back to the world in ways that are inspiring, artistic, genius, and encouraging in many ways. It's ableist to assume otherwise.

These ways just may not be as obvious in day to day life...and yes, like some NT's (not on the spectrum or normal people) there are some violent Aspies...but it is rare,  especially considering the population of Aspies as opposed to NT's and the percentage of violence in both categories. The stats speak for themselves. We do have varied forms of meltdowns but most are not meant to harm anyone. In general, Aspies give to the world in unique, funny, refreshing and original ways. We would not be communicating on computers without Aspies. Nor would we enjoy many philosophical debates, beautifully written prose, or humorous antidotes without many Autistics. I feel this must be said because of the recent judgments and misconceptions that have been given to Autistics/Aspies. 

It is very rare for an Autistic to not be safe, innocent and pure of heart. In the news we hear the horror stories but most often, there are other factors at work that should be exposed. The very stats speak for themselves; the number of Autistic people that commit crimes in the overall population of Autistics verses the number of Nuerotypical people that commit crimes in their overall population makes the issue stunningly clear. Autism does not create violence. In any population group, there will be issues but in general, the Aspies I know are trustworthy, kind and considerate. If an Aspie, Introvert, Extrovert or Nuerotypical commits a violent act there are always other factors involved and the wiring of their personality should NEVER be blamed or feared. I do not fear Neurotypicals even though I may not always understand them and they should not fear Autistics. Introverts should not fear Extroverts and Extroverts should not fear Introverts for possible violent crimes. These are ridiculous judgements.

Please check out this post of Famous Aspies, many who had no violent tendencies and contributed positivity to our world (again there are exceptions in ANY people group and these exceptions could be blamed on many differing attributes or causes.)

My heart goes out to all the victims of the many crimes around the world, both hidden and publicized. Every day women, children and men are killed intentionally. Some we hear of, most we don't. My heart grieves for the travesty and for the families of both killer and victim. I can't make sense of violence in my soul or heart. To me it makes no feasible sense. I long to heal the world and I hope by doing my part that I can at least make a little haven of peace somehow in the world I help create. That is all any of us can responsible to look after our own, in this world we help create. You are responsible to be the change you wish to see in the world. You can only do your part and hope to God that mercy and grace will prevail in the end. Always hope but remember that we must make our place better and that change starts within ourselves.

Wishing you peace and healing today;

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Re Post: Climate Change in Differing Families- Learning to Adapt to Extended Family/ In laws ect.

*Original post and comments here:

Check out this image by

 Each family system has a different way of operating, with unspoken and spoken rules of conduct, behaviour, and belief systems. For instance one family may value passion by arguing for the bliss of it, sanctioning those who are passive and applauding those with the loudest voice. Eccentricity may be a value of another family system with the sanctions coming upon those who are practical, deemed "boring", or do not have enough gumption to be odd. Ironically, the family next door may place the value on practicality, flat emotion and a lack of expression. They would label misfits (those who do not conform to practical sensible behaviours) as having a "few loose screws," or "mysterious creatives," or "mentally unstable." To survive in- laws, adoptions, merges, and relations, humanity learns to adapt to any social circumstance. We learn the laws, the sanctions, the rewards and the "system" of the family so we can fit in to the level that works best. Not all adaptations will work completely.

The concept of adaptability in families can be illustrated by the weather. People who have grown up in cold conditions have an easy going camaraderie with sub zero temperatures. There may be some healthy fear and a bit of risk involved but generally they adapt to their environment with little thought. There is comfort in the level of energy that has to be put out to survive because there is a knowing. That knowledge is based on understanding, and that understanding gives the innate ability to be generally safe to go about the normal. Take the same person and drop them into hot humidity and their ability to adapt is hampered by experience, time and ignorance. In just a few hours they could be de-hydrated in the hospital. As time goes by, if in the environment long enough, they learn some tricks, may have a little bit more room for personal normalcy and may even enjoy the change. But in general their first home, where risks are the least, and beauty can be experienced in full force because of the lack of misunderstanding/ mistakes, is the place where they can just truly be.

We can adapt to our surroundings while being true to our essence, but never fully who we are in the places where certain rules must be abided with severe sanctions. There are environments and families that allow for more adaptability than others. Unfortunately, there are places where more self control, awareness and caution are needed. The idealist would probably feel this is disappointing and sad. The practical person might think it's common sense. The eccentrics might shrug their shoulders and get back to life. Or perhaps some people feel a mixture of all three (or more) responses? * Regardless of how we feel about them, most rules remain. With a lot of discussion, conditioning, information and knowledge the family climate can rise and fall- to a level of degrees. But there are limits in each family to how far those degrees can be stretched.

On a personal level, I understand how this is because I have many systems I belong to. On one side I have to exercise great self control to be respected in the way they view respect. I need to be unemotional, the less I show the more I am heard in the way they choose to hear. It's surface level for the most part. I am aware that any sign of weakness physically or different ways of thinking may be labelled as attention seeking, sensationalist, dramatic or unstable. They are not even aware of how much they use these words to describe people they do not agree with. In this case I am the deviant in the family. In another system I do not have to exercise as much self control, yet I still need to adhere to a few behavioural rules to not be continually mocked. I need to have a heavy tolerance for affection guised as sarcasm and an understanding that to open up my mouth puts me in the lime light...yet I am more comfortable with this sort of honesty and know I am loved more in this situation, so generally I risk a little discomfort to make them laugh.

There are other smaller systems that also have varying rules (generational, gender related, religion, ethnicity, income, ability related ect) but the most important one is what I end up with as the day closes. This is comprised of all those who know my flaws and love me anyway. This family system is very small and requires minimal adaptation. The adaptation that comes with it may be painful at times, but usually is a choice through the love of the environment. My personal one involves my husband, three children, best friend and about twelve other good friends who simply KNOW. It's a relief after all the transitions and adaptations of the day, to come home to a place of belonging where each interaction simply IS for the sake of BEING. There is nothing more beautiful. It has it's flaws and moments of risk, but overall it is a safe place where anything can be spoken of and each person is respected for who they are. Eccentric, practical and idealist, pragmatic, charismatic and shy...the list goes on...but each are accepted without major sanctions or views of deviance. They are simply loved. While I respect the other family environments that require self controlled adaptations, nothing says love, nothing whispers home, and nothing shouts belonging more than full acceptance and truly being myself. This is how it feels to be held, loved and cherished. It may be rare, but it is there in some form or another...and if it is not- I adapt.
*I am not limiting it to simply three but for the sake of this article I am.

**Disclaimer: I am not advocating adaption for family who is physically, emotionally, spiritually or socially abusive. Emotional and spiritual abuse is especially elusive. (An example of Spiritual abuse is consistently disrespecting your views by witnessing, preaching, challenging or saying phrases like "Autism is just a sinful nature. Perhaps the children with Autism just need to repent of their sin?" With spiritual abuse you can not change the viewpoint's mind as they think they are answering to God, thus distance is especially crucial if attempts at peace have been made.)

Check out this link if you think you are being emotionally abused in family situations. What needs to happen is an honest conversation from the spouse that is blood related with the members, detailing the abuse/continual disrespect, outlining boundaries and consequences. IF after a few months of peace talks and boundaries there is still abuse (especially if they do not recognize it themselves) it is crucially important to DISTANCE, DISTANCE, DISTANCE. To these type of people, knowledge and information is power and ammo to attack and misunderstand. Do not give them the chance to do so. Do not let them find you online, stop sending emails, stop attending events where they are and gently smile, wave and move on if bumped into. IF they still do not respect you after all of these precautions it may be time to bring in the law (see Henry Cloud's book on Necessary Endings) but first try peacemaking, boundaries and distance. This will also take self control, awareness and respect on your part.
Here is a quirky song for  elusive emotional abuse (it really can be a dark art form). Who needs enemies with family or friends who are like this eh?  Even though the song is fun the underlying behaviour isn't. Stay strong and stay distant. If it gets dangerous or physical seek outside help.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Embrace- The Documentary Creating Global Change for Women and Body Size

To the Ladies of the world:
Please take one minute to think of one word that describes your body… the first thing that comes to mind…
You know what I thought three years ago?

You know what I thought with surprising delight today?
LIFE GIVING (So it's two words but you catch my point:) Do you know how I got to that conclusion and through that transition? By being a whole heck of a lot heavier than I currently am and by struggling for years with my body image. Being what the world teaches is NOT ideal taught me something valuable; I am the same person regardless of weight and my body SERVES me. I am also the same soul regardless of health, although I prefer to have health, but when I don't have it- I STILL matter. I have to honour my body by being healthy but health is subjective to the person. For instance gluten is poison to me (low grade celiac) but may be your body’s fuel. I feel better because my body is no longer being poisoned and I went off all FODMAP/SIBO triggers and a LARGE part of feeling better was investing in Naturopathy, but even if I would have stayed at the same weight and been on this lifestyle change, I would be celebrating because I am no longer making hospital visits. THAT is the difference. I changed my goals from beauty to health…and sometimes health CAN be obtained in MANY weight categories and in MANY beautiful different shapes. Luckily, I had a health issue that could be changed, but many do not, and health is not the ultimate either, LOVE IS.

We all have different rules for our bodies to feel the best they can be…I thought this future documentary idea was SO interesting. Please check it out. Share it, help GAIN perspective…because sometimes gaining is the most contented thing to do (and this is coming from someone who is losing.) I am the same person at any given weight or look. I was beautiful before and I am beautiful now because I believe my essence is beautiful. I believe all women are beautiful. If I don't believe it about myself- what am I believing about other women? What matters is if my body is the vessel that I love through. I hope more women get that message so we can pass it onto our daughters…check out this three minute preview here (Warning: a few tastefully done nude images):

The beauty in our foods, our wines, our fruits, our chocolate, our words, our children, our round bellies that carried our children or that transport us from one place to the next, our hips that spread and became more to let life out or our bodies that expanded while we LIVED...why do we not see this purity of creating? Why does this cause embarrassment or shame and why do we as women cause these double standards with the men? Why do we shrivel and accept by the way we live everyday?

 However you are; skinny, robust, curvy, loud, shy or inward or outward...WHATEVER YOU ARE, YOU ARE WORTHY because you EXIST. That alone makes you beautiful.

My friend Hillary Rain summed it up beautifully:
"I love thinking about our flesh as living art that changes and matures and shapeshifts, softens, strengthens...You could write a book on this, truly! Honouring the body by choosing wise foods, wise words, wise places to spend your energy, wise's all about reframing and pursing life."

Love your vessel today. Don't pursue beauty (although beauty can be part of life in delightful ways that are contrary to current cultural belief.) PURSUE LIFE. Love, LOVE, LOVE...including yourself and your vessel in this life!

Let's create change together.

Love never felt so good!