A couple of weeks ago, the Rev wrote an amazing piece called, “Heal Yourself, Heal Your Child.” If she hadn’t already written it, that would definitely have been the title of this one. The heart of LJ’s blog has been the source of growth and healing toward recovery for myself and my son. As I read her blog, I remember everything feeling so familiar — resonating so deeply. I was cheering her on, line after line, from start to finish.
Have you ever noticed how on an airplane as the flight attendant demonstrates the safety instructions on the plane, he/she always highlights that you first place the oxygen mask on yourself before your child? I remember the first time I heard that it felt counter-intuitive. The natural instinct for all good parents is, of course, to care for their child before themselves. After all, they are young, innocent, and actually depend on their parents’ care for their survival. However, when I thought about it more carefully, as I’m sure most parents have, I realized that if the parent runs out of oxygen there is no prayer of helping the child in a long-term and consistent manner. Even if they manage to get the child’s mask on before their own, they might then pass out immediately after. So the child has oxygen temporarily, but no longer has a parent to help for the rest of the journey.
This is a perfect analogy to the healing journey of a child with autism. Our journey is a marathon – not a sprint. We need to care for ourselves in a deep real way to be able to not only endure the journey, but to appreciate it! Find its blessings! And of course, heal our babies.
Most autism parents know that their children are ridden with pathogens spanning from fungus to bacteria and parasites. Most can recite their child’s levels of mercury, lead, arsenic and antimony by heart. Most autism parents are well aware of their child’s dietary restrictions and would rather be at gun-point than let them have an infraction.
But how many autism parents pay any attention to their own chronic candida (both physical and spiritual)? How many autism parents are actively chelating themselves or pursuing deep and transformative therapy programs for THEMSELVES? How many autism parents are prioritizing their own health as much as their children’s, if not greater?
Remember the airplane analogy?
You actually have to work on healing yourself BEFORE your child will heal. This statement is true on every level – for physical, emotional and spiritual healing. It is tempting to rush to place that oxygen mask on your baby, but don’t be fooled: that won’t get you very far.
I was on the fast track to oxygen deprivation, myself – and I was even more well-equipped than many autism parents when it came to my resources, online networks and expanse of biomedical information. I’d tried every autism diet, supplement, and behavioral therapy and had surrounded myself with some amazingly powerful and inspiring people.
I remember about a year and a half ago working with an incredible Body Ecology coach and Reiki master who is now a dear friend of mine. She was talking to me about healing my son’s chronic candida, and we’d shifted over to my own health. She had many beautiful ideas about healing, including love and acceptance. They all sounded great, but I just wasn’t in a place where I could adopt them as my own. I’d stand from afar, like an audience, and marvel that she was able to feel such feelings — all while feeling universes apart from her. She talked to me about spiritual candida – that she believed physical candida albicans to actually be a product of spiritual candida, or holding on to negativity – not letting things go. I remember thinking that such a concept made sense, but, again, still didn’t know how to let things go.
I myself was a new mom to my second child, playing role as autism mommy as well as mom to newborn – nursing on demand, changing diaper after diaper, holding a baby all day. I was overweight, exhausted, energy-zapped, and miserable. I viewed my son’s autism as a curse and only saw complete recovery as my saving grace. If only he’d recover, things would get better.
That is why, in the paradigm of my life, putting his oxygen mask on before my own made sense to me. But living this way, with my happiness invested in only one time-consuming and challenging outcome, was not sustainable. I was burned out, fried out, and felt like a victim.
For me, finding the Son-Rise Program® was the catalyst for tremendous change, which is why in almost every blog post I write, I cannot go without mentioning it. This is not to say it is the only way to achieve happiness and recovery in one’s life. However, for us it has created miracles I never thought imaginable in a short period of time, so I must share the incredible impact it’s had on our life.
Attending the Son-Rise training programs and adopting the Option Process® principles and beliefs in my life, allowed me to recognize how essential my own health and happiness were, not only in and of themselves, but also in pursuit of my son’s recovery. Very much like the oxygen mask analogy, by placing my happiness and health first, I have been able to give so much more fully to my son, and the healing that has ensued permeates our entire home on physical, emotional and spiritual planes.
Firstly, deciding to love and accept my son right now for who is, and not making my happiness contingent on any change that he may or may not accomplish, was empowering and liberating. Finally, I was able to find the blessings that were already present instead of waiting only for the future. This is not to be confused with letting go of my dreams of recovery, just that I could decide to be happy for the journey. Adopting this attitude also had an incredible impact on my son because he no longer felt the pressure I was placing on him. He felt genuinely loved and appreciated for the first time, creating a deep trust between us as well as flexibility in him. It also made all the biomedical treatments we implemented much easier as he is cooperative and trusting that I only want the best for him.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
Adopting this attitude also allowed me to focus on myself. Remember that fat, tired and depressed person I described earlier? Well, now, she is 50 lbs lighter, full of energy and finding much more happiness in her daily life, appreciating the blessings and miracles that autism actually brings!
In the past six months, I’ve started to let go of my ‘spiritual’ candida as well as the physical, by alkalizing my physical and spiritual self. Those teachings that my friend sent me over a year ago finally have a place to reside within me as I have created space for them. I have let go of many things in my life that I used to do out of guilt or fear of others and their unhappiness.
In addition to letting go of my spiritual weight, I have also decided to let go of my physical weight. After trying every single fad diet known to man, I realized that weight loss wasn’t just about losing physical pounds. It was just like my friend had said about candida being ‘holding on to things’ – I was using my weight to protect myself. Making the choice to free myself from the things in my life that were holding me back allowed me to finally release myself from my excess exterior padded shell.
Additionally, I have let go of my need to anesthetize my feelings using food. Instead of drugging myself with sugar and carbs, when life seems challenging I look for an opportunity in the experience – and almost always find one! Fueling my body with fresh live cold-pressed vegetable juices has taken the place of my ‘food narcotics.’ It has become quite a hobby even, where I look forward to creating my next unique and delicious combination of fruits and vegetables to fuel my body. I have tons of energy as a result, and am more available to my son. I believe this change in myself is responsible for many of his recent gains and much of his physical healing. It almost feels like he is meeting me and choosing to heal himself as he sees me doing the same. Our children are so energetic, how can we expect them to overcome such incredible physical obstacles if we are not modeling the same in our own lives? Now we both drink our green juice together, nursing our bodies and souls to health as a team.
I understand that a lot of this blog may seem ‘out-there’ to many readers. You may be feeling the way I did when consulting with my friend – admiring her attitudes and beliefs but not quite knowing how to make them a reality for yourself. For myself and many others, the Son-Rise Program® gave me the tools to make these ideas a reality, however, there are many paths to healing that can allow for the same changes in your life. Simply, making the choice, right now in fact, to take care of yourself and place your happiness as a priority can be that catalyst to spark a new turn of events in your life and your child’s. No matter what avenue you pursue to adopt these changes in your life — if you haven’t already — in order to help your child, you must start by helping yourself.
“Oxygen and the air pressure are always being monitored. In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.”
May this be the start of a wonderful healing journey – and let that oxygen flow!