We are often so busy doing and trying to do that we don’t have the time or energy to just be. However, it is vital in terms of connecting to self and others/the wider environment, that we take time to just be every now and then. I would love to just be for hours at a time, but realistically at this point in time, that is not possible (except during those few hours where I beat the chronic insomnia and do actually sleep as I guess that technically I am just being asleep).
Instead I am ensuring that I take a few moments here and there to just be, and it is extremely liberating and powerfully rejuvenating. As an example, mid presentation in a school library I noticed a seagull wandering around the library. I stopped speaking (mid-sentence) and just noticed the bird, I noticed the size, shape and colours of the bird and then announced the was a seagull in the library. How does this relate to just being? Well, I love seagulls, they are birds of beauty and evocative of peace for me (blame Neil Diamond’s Johnathon Livingston Seagull for that). Usually, I would continue on with my presentation, but keep being distracted and have to expend energy to stay on to. Instead, I took a moment to experience the joy of really noticing the seagull. I was able to pick up pretty much where I left off quite quickly, but in a lighter and brighter mood.
Another example, whilst in a taxi from a business meeting to the airport the freeway was full of roadworks and the taxi driver was demonstrating his rally driving skills despite the lowers speed limit. This is not something I enjoy, but I looked and of the window and saw the bright yellow flowers along the side of the freeway. These flowers are very small but extremely bright, and they were set against really vibrant green stalks and leaves. I kept looking and looking, drinking in the colours, shapes, contrasts, visual textures and could feel myself smile and my mood lift. I was so excited about this that I told someone else about it, who responded ‘what the weeds?’ The thing is, I love visual textures, so if really noticing them during the day for a few minutes gives me great pleasure, then this will diminish my stress. This noticing is for me, being me, just being.
All too often we struggle to do all the things that we need to do in ways that are socially acceptable, and we forget the power of just being, autistically being. Indulge in your passions or sensory stims, experience the immense joy that we autistics can get from the smallest of things or the shortest of moments and just be who you are in your indulgence of autistic joy, however that expresses itself for you.