Maintaining my autistic contentment is not as hard as I thought it would be. Especially if I focus on one of the best parts of being on the autism spectrum – that pure unadulterated joy that we can experience from the littlest of things. For me this joy comes from a variety of reliable sources; visual textures, beauty in nature, a nice smell, seeing or hearing an act of kindness or compassion, tasting something yummy… I realised this week how lucky I and others who can experience this type of intense joy are. Even if the difficult or less pleasant emotions are more intense or frequent than is ideal, so too can the joy be if we give ourselves the time to just be and experience even if only momentarily.  

This means that each morning I smile with joy to hear the birds, see the bright parrots flying around on my way to the bus, greet the bus driver cheerfully and then sit reading until my stop (I love reading). Then when I am walking to work I get to experience more joy as I walk through the city streets with jacaranda trees in full blossom. These have a gorgeous light bluey purple blossom that covers the tree so completely that you can hardly see their delicate frond like leaves and large hard flat seed pods. On the way home I get to experience all those small joys again. 

Taking the time to focus on the things that bring me joy has resulted in a continuation of my autistic contentment and an increase in energy and positivity. Our dog is certainly pleased as he gets walked more when I have more energy! I challenge everyone to just stop momentarily when they hear/see/touch something that brings them joy. Take in the sensation and breathe into the joy. Hold the memory of both the the reason for the joy and the joy in your mind for a few minutes before focusing on the tasks at hand. 

Encourage your children, friends and family members to do the same. It is easier for us to be kind to ourselves and others when we experience joy in our lives, even if that joy is fleeting. 

I am excited about going to see Temple Grandin next week with a friend, who is also presenting on the same day at the same event. I am happy to be able to have this opportunity to hear people speak with clari and passion about living autistic ally, authentically and managing the challenges that life has.