AutismOne. Chicago. 2011. Were you there? Were you looking forward to seeing Jenny McCarthy deliver the keynote address on Saturday? I was. About a thousand other people were as well. But the actress/author/sex-symbol-turned-autism-activist didn’t give a speech that day. She didn’t rally the troops and inflame us with passion and purpose and pride in our noble cause. There was no battle cry or call to arms against Big Pharma and The Machine of governmental bureaucracy. Instead, the woman credited with coining the phrase “Mother Warrior” introduced writer and speaker, Byron Katie. Disgruntled, we asked ourselves and each other the same question, “Who is Byron Katie, and why isn’t Jenny giving a speech?” This Byron Katie woman better be good!
Ms. Katie had us all fill out a “Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet” on which there were four questions designed to help us gain insight into a situation where you and another person are in conflict. These questions and Ms. Katie’s method of taking them and “turning them around” is more commonly known as “The Work.”
“The Work” is a method of self-inquiry that helps people explore the sources of their unhappiness and change their perspectives. Jenny wanted to share some of the peace and joy she’s experienced as a result of doing “The Work.” We weren’t there for peace and joy. We liked our righteous indignation just fine, thank you very much. Humph. But it was Jenny. Whether you love her and respect her for her advocacy and the way she’s put herself out there for the cause, or find her controversial and can’t get past the fact that an ex-Playmate is now arguably the most famous face of autism, there’s no denying she is a force of nature. So we did “The Work.”
Byron Katie asked for volunteers. I remember watching my girlfriend’s mother-in-law going up to the stage and thinking how embarrassed poor Princess must be. Jenny’s guru took my friend’s mother-in-law through the questions and then had her “turn them around.” Turning the questions around and exploring them from a completely opposite perspective is part of “The Work.” “Hmmmm,” I thought, “Maybe there’s something to this.” Jenny wouldn’t have brought Byron Katie here if she didn’t think this would be huge for us. Mother-in-law sat down, and Ms. Katie asked for questions. I raised my hand. The centerfold-turned-crusader approached me. Jenny McCarthy. I have to admit I was a little more than starstruck. As she held the microphone I was struck by the surreal contrast of her warm, down-to-earth nature and her unnerving, larger-than-life celebrity energy.
“What if the person you’re struggling with is you?” I asked. Byron Katie seemed intrigued and unfazed at the same time. It was a good question, but clearly one she’d come across before. She asked me for an example. “I don’t get things done,” I told her. “I procrastinate.” Together, Ms. Katie and I explored the validity of that statement and my own reactions to that bit of truth about myself. Yes, I procrastinate. Yes, I spend way too much time on the computer, and I ignore my laundry and home. No, I don’t think I should be doing that. Katie helped me “turn it around.” Suddenly a light bulb went on for me. What if I’m actually supposed to be on the computer? What if it’s okay for the laundry to pile up and the house to get messy? What if I’m actually doing what needs to be done? Suddenly “I shouldn’t be on the computer” became “I should be spending as much time on the computer as possible.”
Revelation!!! I was having a major personal breakthrough right here at AutismOne. “Yes!” I said, full of confidence and with newfound enlightenment. Boldly and with happy certainty, I nodded my head in childlike wonder and proclaimed for all to hear, “Because **Facebook is important!!**” The audience roared and cheered. They identified. They understood. What had been a source of guilt and remorse was actually a lifeline that could preserve our sanity, recover our children, and lead to esoteric spiritual enlightenment. It could be a new religion!!! FACEBOOK IS IMPORTANT!!!! The phrase was repeated over and over again all weekend. Imagine my surprise to see it scrolling on my newsfeed for weeks to come.
Being a parent of an child with autism is not only a daunting task, but a lonely one as well. You lose friends. Your family can’t relate. Your relationships change. Your sense of who you are evolves, and a lot of times you’re uncomfortable in your new skin. Most of us log onto the computer to seek answers. We research therapies, biomedical protocols, homeopathic alternatives, and what seems like a thousand other options in hopes of finding something to help our children make gains. What happens on the computer is miraculous. We link in. We find each other. We share information. We share heartaches. We share tears. We share victories. We share laughter. We become a community. We find friendship and family. That’s what’s happening right now as you read this.
The Revolution isn’t just a bunch of moms and dads who rage against the machine. It’s a brotherhood and sisterhood of like-minded parents who find friendship and love while working towards a common goal. We are taking care of our children and incidentally find we are also taking care of ourselves and each other. This is a group of people with whom I can identify and share life. In a world that isn’t capable of getting it, I have a virtual community that embraces me and understands.
Yes my friends, Facebook is important. Today, the laundry can wait.
For more by Tex, click here.
I was just reading about Byron Katie and I came across this delightful blog about Facebook being important. Thank-you for sharing it! I wanted to mention a book about autism that I just love. It is called “A Child of Eternity” by Adriana Rocha and Kristi Jorde. I read it many years ago bu still today I value it’s message.
The Work sounds a bit like the Option Process Son-Rise uses.
Hi all! What weblinks and pages do you use to research and connect on Facebook and elsewhere? I’m a mom of 2 asd kiddos and boy are we isolated on an island…… And I WORK in a special needs school where processed lunch boxes and faculty members believe behavior analysis and pt are the only ways to “train” these kids to mainstream.
I’m lonely and financially broke and distraught and we are about to squeeze funds for the Kerri Rivera CDautiam protocol.
Many thanks for ways to connect you may offer us!!!
Alisabeth and kids
Landon and grace
My favorite facebook pages are:-
RK Village, Regarding Caroline (she also has a website, she put me in touch with so many resources) CD Autism, Recovering Kids/Biomedical Healing.
For websites I have a huge list. http://www.tacanow.org/ http://www.ageofautism.com/ http://cdautism.org/ http://questioning-answers.blogspot.co.uk/
There are lots of diet related pages, GAPS, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Gluten Free/Casin Free/Soy Free, easy to search and find on Google – depending on which protocol you’re using.
Keep the faith warrior mum, there are many of us out here. Most of us in some way on an island, if not so literally as you! 😉 Sending much love and support x
I somehow missed this the first time it came around. I’m so glad I’m seeing it now! I remember that moment – I didn’t know you or any TMR folks (before your launch?), but I definitely remember “Because Facebook is important!”
I think pretty much every mom (and some dads) in that room could relate to that statement, and felt validated right along with you.
Good one, Tex.
Happy Birthday Tex. I hadn’t seen this entry but boy did I need to read it today. I have so much work to do around the house and instead I’m Facebooking and catching up with other peoples status. I realise after reading your blog that this too is important. In real life I have no one here that gets it. Online I have a family – Facebook is important, all of us sharing our recovery story are important, the rest will take care of itself when it becomes more important that this! Thank you Tex xx
Facebook was the key to finding my son’s answers. Worth everybit of the $100billion valuation.
I couldn’t agree more!
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Gorgeous post, Tex. I so remember that moment and Byron Katie was my favorite part of the conference. “The Work” transformed my thinking and my life every day. And I see my son through a very different lens. As a result, his healing has accelerated. Thank you for sharing your story and experience. FB is a lifeline for me and a powerful way to connect with my tribe. How do I connect with you on FB?
Please forgive me Diane. I’m just now seeing this. I posted the blog and was very lax about checking for replies. You can search for me under “Tex TMR”. Friend me and I’ll make sure we become friends under my *real* life profile as well. Blessings my friend!
The memory of it still brings a huge smile to my face!! Thank you!! 😀
Still brings a huge smile to my face!! Thank you! 🙂
I was there and I remember you!! Well said!
OMG Tex! How could I forget when you stood up and said that! You rock babe and so glad you and the girls got together and have us “thinking” again. Miss you and hope to see you again soon 🙂
OMG How could I forget when you stood up and said that T? It was awesome! You rock babe and so proud of you and the girls for getting us “thinking” all over again. Miss you lots and hope we will see eachother sometime again soon 🙂
I read Byron Katie’s book, “Loving What Is” in 2003 in the midst of a divorce. It changed the way I saw my divorce, and it changed my life. The Work continues to change my life. What a lovely gift Ms. McCarthy brought to the Autism One attendees. Your essay made me smile.
Tex–where would we BE without facebook???? I don’t even want to know. Love you.
Scary thought. Love you too Goddess!!
Facebook also helps me have moments of ‘normalcy’. I get to connect with non-asd friends in a non-asd way. If I didn’t have that moment of time to be “Amy” everyday, I think I would lose my sanity.
Yep. It’s important in so *many* ways! 🙂
Love this. Love you. Bravo, Texie xoxo
MUWAH!!!!! Love you too Poppy.
Everyday I read something that helps me exhale. I used to feel Luke this only happens to me or I’m the only one who feels this way.I may a single mom but since I’ve found yall I dont feel singled out any more. Thank you con todo mi corazon!
A su servicio hermana!!! Bendiciones a ustd. y su familia!!! Besos y abrazotes — Tex
I spent more than a decade researching Autism and fighting on my own. I fought joining facebook because I thought I was passed the facebook kind of thing. Boy was I wrong. There was a ton of pain at first as I watched and read postings everyday. Then I began to connect with people I had interacted with on blogs for years and their friends and their friends……… I didn’t realize how isolated and lonely I was because of my son’s Autism!! Facebook is a very good thing. Not only have I connected with families just like ours, but also with high school and college friends I had not seen or heard from in years. Guess what?? They are getting educated about Autism as well!! Way better than that whole AS Autism Awareness thingy.
The lonliness part – I can so relate. And honestly – I couldn’t agree more. FB has done more for Autism in a year of my life AS has done in 6.
Love this and love you. Your words of encouragement have meant so much to me at times on our fb group. I can so relate to the procrastination, I call it paralysis by analysis! I have also coined a phrase of ‘no guilt, no surrender!’. Thank you for this. You are awesome! Xxxxx
You’re the best love. (((((finnandme)))) See you on the boards!!!
True, all of dat!
Love you too Mags.
I tell the Hubs all the time….Facebook is my most important TOOL in this fight. I pray all the time to be shown something to help my Daughter…and the next day WITHOUT FAIL I find a chat about something I’d never heard of or wanted to try but needed more info….its ALWAYS THERE. When I have a question, it always gets answered…its an ubelievable help. Love ya Tex..
I can’t even count the ways I needed this post today!! Thank you so much for sharing. Yet another AWESOME insight from the lovely & talented bloggers at this site 🙂 Googling Byron Katie now, and adoring Jenny McCarthy more than ever…
When I wrote this, I worried that it was too silly or frivolous to actually *help* anyone. I thought it would just be amusing. That you would write that you needed this post – it just makes my heart warm. SO glad. This one was for you ginabad. 🙂 <3
🙂 NOT silly at all. I’ve made lots of good, solid, helpful autism mama friends on FB!
Amen for connecting with others! Thanks so much for writing this, Tex!
oopsss I mean WORD!!!! 🙂
I knew what you meant!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
I so wish I had had this community when my son was young- I would have been a lot better for him.
How old is your lil’ buckaroo? Bless your heart. Those of you who forged the path for the rest of us are true heroes in my book. We are indebted to you.
Great message! Friends are so important – whether it’s on Facebook, a group of women you have coffee with regularly, a church group – the important things to know is that we are not alone and we need to share with each other. And no guilt! We have enough to think about and there is no room for guilt!
YEE HAW! You said it sis!
I remember this! <3
Come find me and give me a hug this year Storm. 🙂
YEEE HAW sisters!!!! You are *all* important!!!
I was there and I remember!!! 🙂 Well said!!!
Thank you, Tex!!! My FB peeps are my lifeline. Love ya!
Yes!!! No more guilt! I couldn’t help my son right now if I weren’t Facebooking it up right now with my warrior mom friends. My community support, my it-takes-a-village-to-raise-a-child peeps, live not in my community but in my computer. They also live in my heart. Love you, Tex!
You said it partner! We have to take care of ourselves too and sometimes – checking out of the real world and connecting with your community and support system is just what a cowgirl needs to do.