What gives you an edge when you have ADHD/ASD or any other challenge. Doesn’t so much lie in overcoming anything.
In my experience, it’s about learning to use all of yourself.
When everyone else is born with four engines and you’ve got three. Then you crank those three babies up and learn to use your flaps in clever new ways. Maybe you spin your wheels a bit too.
People who don’t experience disruptive challenges in life rarely have to dig deep enough within themselves to discover how truly gifted and powerful they are.
I guess we’re some of the lucky ones.
We often show up big for life with our intensity, don’t we?
One reason we may seem to be too much for some people, is because of how much of ourselves we use.
Now imagine you could take that intensity and focus it on making something happen in your life.
That’s the work.
I’ll give you a hint. It involves learning to combine your capacity for hyperfocus with mindfulness. A hyper-mindfulness if you will.
You’re so fiercely present in the moment with every fiber of your being.
Kids with low dopamine (ADHD) have a hard time moderating their actions. Its very Yoda like, “Do or Do not!”
You wish they’d think before they act which suggests there’s a period of time between the thought and action to do it.
In the impulsive brain the thought of punching their brother and the action of punching feel like a single event.
By the time you realize what you thought, you’ve already done it.
We need to build in the capacity to pause here. Then you have a better chance of hesitating instead of acting impulsively.
A good place to start is with your body. Knowing what a pause feels like makes it easier to remember and stronger the more you practice it.
Start by noticing the natural pause between your out breath and in breath.
On your out breath, relax your body as much as you can.
See if you can make your exhalations longer.
Allow yourself to experience how calming this pause in between breaths feels.
Lastly, say this to yourself in your mind as you exhale, “I’m pausing for a moment before choosing what to do next.”
Enjoy this exercise 🙏
When you live with anxiety or pain then you have chronic muscle tension as well.
Which means…. you don’t know how to relax.
One of the hardest things for me to do is to get my muscles to relax for any length of time.
In order to do it. I relax my breathing and focus my attention on the muscles I want to relax.
Then I think to myself, “There’s no where to be, there’s nothing to do, the only time is now.”
I repeat this to help keep my mind calm and present. You may even fall asleep.
Several times today my patience was REALLY tested.
They changed the doctor I was supposed to see last minute.
The visit took two hours.
Ordered a lot of blood work. Had to wait an hour as the lab looked for a special vial for one of the tests.
It was now 4pm and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.
I could’ve been snotty and entitled. But to what end. I’d make a scene, draw attention and feel special. Others would have a story to tell and my ego would feel a tad more validated.
I did not of that.
Instead I noticed my feelings of frustration.
The tension in my body from the frustration.
My thoughts of how long I’d been sitting in my wheelchair, how long since I’d eaten. None of which these folks having me wait were responsible for.
I reminded myself that although I was uncomfortable, I wasn’t in danger. As soon as my blood was drawn I’d be going home.
I focused on breathing mindfully until it was my turn.
I’m now on the train returning home.
Everyone I dealt with today was kind and patient.
I wanted to make sure I kept my thoughts and breathing the same way so I could return the favor.
Your emotions don’t have to control you.
That’s not a typo in the title by the way.
Hang on to your aprons cause things are about to get spicy.
I love pasta, especially a good pasta sauce. When you’re cooking dinner for your family, one way you know it’s done is to taste it.
Directly experience it for yourself to see if it’s good enough for the people you love. Right?
Now think about how you treat yourself. What do you say to yourself about yourself? If you’re your number one fan that’s fantastic.
But if the voice between your ears feeds you stuff you wouldn’t feed the people you love. Well we need to pitch it in the trash and start from scratch.
For decades life has been my kitchen. Lemme tell ya. I’ve been poached, burned, dropped, rolled and chopped. Quite recently I was pretty baked.
The point being. If it doesn’t taste good enough for your family, you’re probably not gonna feed it to em.
Some of the stuff you say to yourself, you wouldn’t say to them because you love them. But wait.
I invite you to think about love as something you can feel, taste, smell, touch. Just like tasting the best pasta sauce when it’s ready.
You’re kidding yourself if you think the poison in your mind doesn’t find it’s way into the heart of those you love.
But like any committed Chef you’re always about upping your game and insist upon even better ingredients.
Ones that promote focus, growth, healing. You know they’re the best because you enjoy them yourself, you know firsthand.
You know what it feels like to be treated in a loving way. It makes treating others in a loving way come more naturally.
I’m honored work with Moms who are learning to love themselves after spending years putting themselves last.
Inside your own mind must become the safest place to be. Whenever possible.
It’s a matter of training yourself to be more self-compassionate and accepting of yourself as an imperfect human. Even finding joy in it.
Learning to let go of perfectionism and embracing curiosity.
A loving approach toward yourself acknowledges you are both good enough as you are, and you’re growing.
There’s a lot of strength in simply hanging in there when the odds seem against you…
As a senior in high school I served as the student athletic trainer for our sports teams.
On one particular day, a more slender wrestler named Roy (not his real name), was paired against a more accomplished wrestler, Tom and was nervous about his chances. I encouraged Roy to do his best.
Tom, was fast, strong and twisted Roy in a variety of ways in an effort to pin him. All the while Roy fought to keep one shoulder up until the end so he couldn’t be pinned.
In the end Tom was victorious and they were both out of breath from giving their all.
As Roy left the mat I congratulated him on a great match.
“But I lost,” he said.
“You also didn’t quit,” I replied. “Every second you were out there you made him work for it. Even if you didn’t think you were going to win, you sure weren’t going to lose without a fight.”
A half smile creeped up on his face as he said, “I guess so. Thanks.”
When things are hard you can mistakenly focus on the fact it’s been hard. That’s only part of the story. You also got through it.
You got through it because you persevered, you believe things can be better, that you’re worth fighting for, that if you made it through today you can make it through tomorrow too.
When you’re a mother struggling with the overwhelm of a special needs child, the fruits of your labor can be a study in delayed gratification.
Sometimes your child learns a lesson the 1000th time and unfortunately, sometimes never. But you don’t quit.
You work so hard, just to get through each day sometimes. That is a win worthy of recognition.
This is one part survival, one part revolutionary.
It’s revolutionary because you can conceive of a world where your child is as successful as any other when the odds are stacked against them. That’s as terrifying as it is invigorating so don’t take it on alone.
Let’s continue to hold each others hands, especially on those days it’s harder to stand back up on our own.
This is where a close community of people who “get it” can be your greatest strength. I have such a community, if you’re interested…