Rest is the foundation for your next action

“Rest is the foundation for your next action.”

That’s what I told a group today as we discussed self-care.
 
Every muscle contraction, breath and ocean wave has a break, a pause before the next.
 
We also pause while speaking. A way of resting the voice and tuning in to curiosity for better listening.
 
You may also take a minute to think about something. Not even to actively work it through, just to sit with it.
Waiting in stillness until an insight presents itself.
 
Rest can be an instant of darkness as a lightbulb flickers, or a refreshing nights sleep.
 
It isn’t the opposite of value, work or productivity on its face.
 
Rest is a phase of surrender that frees you to gather your resources for the next best action.
 
To keep going without resting is to fight for diminishing returns.
 
The signs are all around you that rest is a natural ingredient in the movement of your life.
 
Pauses/Resting everywhere, varying lengths helping set the tempo of life.
 
Feeling off balance? Perhaps a little more rest will help you find your rhythm.

PLEASE STOP referring to every emotional outburst as a meltdown

Parents and Teachers!
 
PLEASE STOP referring to every emotional outburst as a meltdown.
 
➡ A child bursting into tears when criticized IS NOT having a meltdown.
➡ A child going to their room, slamming the door and cursing is not having a meltdown.
➡ Punching or throwing something out of anger isn’t a meltdown either. It’s an impulsive act.
 
A child having a meltdown is experiencing rage or terror. They’re in extreme fight or flight. They lose control in a way that can be dangerous for themselves and others.
 
It’s like an emotional seizure, where the threat signal keeps firing and our nervous system keeps reacting with extreme intensity.
Until the trigger stops, significant calming measures are used or exhaustion occurs, it’ll likely continue.
 
I encounter too many Neurodivergent people (especially teens) whose parents criticize them for their emotional sensitivity by exaggerating it, calling everything a meltdown.
 
“There you go melting down again.”
“Don’t have a meltdown over this.”
 
It’s gaslighting to do this intended or not.
 
We need to help our kids improve their emotional intelligence and resilience. We do that by helping them understand, express and move through our emotions smoothly.
 
You need to know how to do that first. If you’re triggered by your child’s difficult emotions, I suspect you’re uncomfortable with your own as well.
 
We have work to do.

People with Neurodivergence shouldn’t have to tone themselves down for others….right?

CONTROVERSIAL OPINION ALERT!
 
People with Neurodivergence shouldn’t have to tone themselves down for others….right?
 
This is a common assertion from many adults living with ND. I have a position on this issue many of those same people find upsetting.
 
You see, I don’t consider any of the characteristics of ND to be who I am. I consider them to be things my brain is doing.
 
➡ I tend to talk louder and louder when I’m excited about a subject.
➡ I tend to default to an all-or-nothing way of thinking.
➡ My emotions can be all over, sensitive and intense at times.
➡ I can be forgetful and scattered.
 
These are realities of the Neurodivergence I experience.
 
None of these are static qualities. I’m not saying everyone has the same degree of flexibility and potential. I’m suggesting folks not use the label as a defense against doing the work.
 
If you come to me and say you’ve tried as hard as you could and still struggle, I’m not going to argue with you. That’s not the point of this. Some people become paralyzed and learn to walk again, others don’t. Everyone has their unique circumstances.
 
Like any other human being we can learn new skills and acquire new knowledge.
One reason many adults may adopt the position that everyone else do the changing. Is because growing up we were usually the only ones (or so it seemed) being corrected.
We were encouraged to make adjustments for everyone else but they weren’t asked to meet us half way. That’s a mistake and must change.
 
As adults, I don’t see a path forward in reversing the unfair treatment we received throughout life and putting it back on others.
That’s the same all-or-nothing, win-lose thinking we know doesn’t work.
 
I have found greater success in pursuing a win-win with people.
Regardless of whether you have labels or not I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to acquire more knowledge and skill.
Is it fear of failure, criticism, rejection? I get it, I experience it, but I promise you, none of that has to stop you.
 
The solution to that isn’t to stay exactly how you are and expect everyone else to change so you can remain safe while taking fewer risks in life.
I’m working for an inclusive society where we recognize each others needs and seek a balance so those needs are met as best as possible.
 
Here’s an example of what that balance looks like. My tendency to talk loud when I’m excited about a subject is a result of poor self-awareness. I can improve that with mindfulness and feedback from others. And why wouldn’t I?
 
I ask others to help me monitor myself by saying things like, “I can hear how much you care about this subject.” Because I asked them to say that as a prompt, I know exactly what it means and don’t hear it as a criticism.
They help me which in turn helps them, win-win.
 
The alternative is to insist I be permitted to talk as loud as I do and expect others to deal with it. Cause I shouldn’t have to tone it down for them, right!
 
It’s a double standard to expect others to refrain from things that might overwhelm me while I reserve the right to overwhelm them.
 
I realize this is a complex, emotionally charged issue.
I also want to emphasize that I don’t believe I have the “correct” perspective on this, I’m just sharing how I think about it.
 
The way I approach it has led me to close, trusting loving relationships.
I’ve found greater peace, self-awareness, self-acceptance, compassion, you name it.
 
The very brain you’re looking to have acceptance for is also feeding you some lousy intel. That’s a reality, and needs to be considered.
Recognizing how pervasive all-or-nothing thinking is in your brain is a good start. It really muddies up your perception of things.
 
Then, working to find greater balance in your perception of things is how the world becomes a less threatening place.
That’s what I’ve learned and what I teach. With life changing results.

Coming to terms with being forgetful

Accepting I’m forgetful and writing things down, instead of anxiously fretting over how important it is not to forget something.
Has been a big relief and made a noticeable difference in my mental health.
 
Trying to remember to improve my memory is like trying to improve my color blindness by looking at more color.
My brain doesn’t do it. The ADHD prevents it. That’s the reality.
 
Once I accommodated it by writing things down, the pressure was off and my brain could rest.
 
It’s also important to let go of the “like everyone else” criteria when seeking a solution for yourself.
They don’t have any skin in the game, if their way doesn’t work for you who cares how they do it.
 
Accommodation often requires innovation, which means different.
Remember, the ones doing things differently aren’t necessarily the ones incapable of keeping up with the others.
They notice the ones who realize those running maintain the status quo.
 
Your job is learning the tools and strategies to increase your flow.
So you can show the world more of what you know.

The more I healed, the more happiness I remembered

One of the gifts from healing my own Gremlins, is remembering good things from my childhood I’d forgotten about.
 
When you walk through life wounded, your mind keeps front and center the info that’ll keep you safe from more harm.
 
It’s plan is this. Let’s be on alert for the possibility we may get punched in the face.
 
To do that we’ll keep punching ourselves in the face to remember what it felt like, not simply that we didn’t like it.
 
Living on defense is exhausting. That’s what anxiety is, a defensive neurological state.
 
I remember telling stories of my unhappy childhood over the years. I can understand why some might think there was no happiness at all.
 
But as I progressively quiet the mental preoccupations with painful parts of the past, I’m able to see life with a wider lens.
 
When you heal life becomes both clearer and bigger. Bigger in terms of the number of things you’re aware of and feel connected to.
 
You’re able to experience life in a more balanced way. Versus having your baggage on your lap everywhere you go.
 
It’s a powerful journey to take yourself on. It’s one of my favorite things to do with others. We’re all in this together.

The importance of learning to trust more

I’m getting the hint it’s necessary for me to trust more.
 
Cath and I attended a large picnic today to celebrate the marriage of one of her best friends.
 
To walk from our car to the venue I elected to balance myself by placing my hand on her shoulder instead of using my canes.
 
I didn’t expect needing to stand and walk without her being available.
 
On two occasions that’s exactly what happened. I needed to rely on acquaintances to stand in for Cath.
 
The second time it had started raining and Cath went to bring the car closer so we could go.
 
We’d been there three hours and I didn’t have much left anyway. Though it was a lot of fun.
 
So I stood up slowly thinking I was on my own.
 
I stared at the ground as I struggled to find my bearings.
 
Then I heard, “Need some help Brian?”
 
It was the father of the bride. He and I had a pleasant conversation maybe an hour earlier.
 
I asked him if I could place my hand on his shoulder for balance and we could walk to where Cath was waiting.
 
He took charge of the, “excuse me’s” so people would step aside.
 
It was an odd feeling because Cath knows my rythym and how to walk with me.
 
I could tell each of them that helped were being careful not to move too fast. They were very considerate.
 
It’s not always easy to be vulnerable, especially when physical injury is a risk.
 
Having risked it, it’s nice to know that when I chose to trust two people with my safety, they were there for me.

Helping your neurodiverse child stop tuning you out

Hoping our kids learn important lessons through lecture is a fruitless strategy.
 
All your kid really gets better at is tuning you out.
 
I’ve learned (especially with ND kids), introspection is a more powerful teacher.
 
But ND kids tend to avoid introspection. Their self-consciousness and inner critic make it something they want to avoid.
 
We can get around that, however, by engaging curiosity.
 
Learning to ask questions in a way that compels them to think about it.
 
The answer ultimately comes from within them so there’s little resistance to it.
It also helps them practice stopping and thinking, self-awareness, problem solving, etc.
 
All those executive functions you’re eager to help them exercise are so accessible to you.
When you utilize teachable moments to encourage reflection with questions like,
 
“When did you decide that was true,” or “How is it useful to believe that?”
 
You open your child up to their own inner world. The place they’ll find the greatest source of strength.
They’ll need it while navigating this world that still has a lot of learning to do.
 
We’ll get there, together.

A useful way to manage anxiety

Let me tell you something about anxiety. Anxiety is stored up energy for action you can’t take.
 
When you fret about the past, thinking about how it should have gone, what you should’ve done – you’re suggesting to yourself another course of action is possible.
 
Your subconscious mind thinks, “Yeah, let’s do that!” Then it starts firing your nervous system to get you to act toward this new option.
But you can’t go back in time and do it over. It’s impossible to implement a should’ve.
 
So your body is now primed to take action on a moment long since past.
With nowhere for the energy to go, it often stays inside you.
 
You run into a similar issue with the future. You imagine scenarios where you may feel embarrassed or upset in some way.
The anxiety that comes with that imagining wants you to act to protect it from that danger.
But the danger doesn’t come in reality. The energy has no where else to go.
 
Now image living your life in such a way. That your thinking is primarily about what happened yesterday or what could happen tomorrow?
In doing so you end up manufacturing anxiety that accumulates over time. This isn’t good for your health or your morale.
 
The way out of that mess is in this moment.
 
I suspect there is no immediate threat for you to do anything about right now, true?
 
Give all of your attention to the feeling of safety that comes with that realization. Allow it to wash over you.
 
You’re welcome.

Getting beyond RSD with ADHD

I have an idea about RSD (Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria) experienced by many with ADHD.
 
I’ve noticed those that experience it perceive relationships in an all or nothing way.
 
You’re loved or unloved, given attention or ignored, you’re happy when they’re happy.
 
When in a relationship it’s often co-dependent. Wanting constant access to the other person and the dopamine hits that come from their approval.
 
Having the need for acceptance finally met after so many failed attempts can feel like breathing fresh air.
 
Whereas the loss of this feeling can feel like suffocation.
 
To approach relationships in this way causes you to idealize the people you’re in relationships with.
 
After inflating the value of the relationship, the loss of it can feel like a death. All-or-nothing.
 
But why do some folks experience RSD when they feel rejected by strangers?
 
That’s because all-or-nothing thinking treats all rejection the same. It’s a catastrophe no matter who it’s from.
 
The deeper experiences originated with those they felt close to, then were generalized to everyone else.
 
What’s the solution?
 
First recognize this is caused by a feature of ADHD. It IS NOT a character flaw!!!
 
Second, as it’s a feature of ADHD you know it’s glitchy so you need to question what it tells you.
 
Practice catching yourself having an all or nothing thought:
 
“I always…”
“You never…”
“Everybody knows…”
 
Then say to yourself, “Now you know that’s the all-or-nothing talking. What is more likely to be the case?”
 
“I sometimes…”
“You occasionally…”
“People I know…”
 
I hope this is helpful.

He’s going to be an adult someday so he may as well learn it now

“He’s going to be an adult someday so he may as well learn it now.”
 
This is a concerning belief in the mind of many parents raising a child with neurodivergence (ND).
 
It demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding about how our kids learn.
 
Believing a consequence needs to be harsh and effective the first time is punishment logic NOT problem solving.
 
Its important to teach our kids how to make better decisions, not simply how to feel bad for the decisions they’ve made.
 
We have an epidemic of shame and guilt in this world and it stems from beliefs like this. Shame and guilt primarily lead to changed behavior to avoid feeling more shame and guilt.
 
Is this what you want for your child?
 
Yes, our kids are going to be adults someday. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be adults tomorrow and today’s consequence better prepare them for being so.
 
It’s the parents own all or nothing thinking that believes a child needs to learn the lesson NOW, instead of as a process.
 
I live with an ND mind and am raising several children with ND. Our brains have difficulty processing, retaining and retrieving what we know.
 
Inconsistently applying what we know is the result of this glitchy web browser in our brains. It isn’t about defiance, disrespect or anything else you tell yourself to convince you its intentional.
 
Do you honestly believe your child lives to bring down as much pain upon themselves as possible.
 
Our kids learn best by learning to think through the situation you want them to become better at problem solving.
 
Not by lecturing and telling them what to do, that will not work. They need to be guided in solving the problem doing the thinking themselves.
 
I just taught the members of my Inner Circle how to do this.