This morning, after a very restful time away, I woke up to being home. Sometimes when I go away my life gets simpler and coming home is a shock. The dogs seem so doggy, cats aggogle with needs, hair everywhere, weeds as if I’d not weeded. We had stayed for a few days on Martha’s Vineyard, a place I associated with rest and quiet until we lived there with all our animals, kids and needs! We moved there with our two greyhounds, six or so cats and ourselves – a large ficus and perhaps one other sizeable plant. We left twelve years later with six dogs, three horses, two children, maybe ten cats, bonsais and large plants that took a separate rented van, ferry trip etc to move. We were not laid back!
But this time when we went back we stayed in the beautiful Aquinnah house (five minutes from one of the loveliest of Island beaches) of our dear friends and the godparents of our daughters. We are part of the godparent contingent of their son Jacob who, a child of autism, is one of the dynamic teachers on this life/plane. On the front door is a sign that reads, “Jacob’s house.” And it might as well say, “and all who dwell within are Jacob’s.” There is no way not to participate, no way to be above or below. I am keenly aware of the world of Jacob and as keenly that I know nothing. Nothing, not of it, not to it or from it. Nothing.
This shifted me into complete acceptance. Awareness. Mindfulness. I have studied Bare Attention for years as part of a yogic practice. Something I could choose to do, be firm about, be lax. That choice doesn’t exist in Jacob’s world. I was aware, I was OK. I was attentive – that was particularly helpful when I found out he can propel himself through the screen door and out – out where he can run very fast, for he is a very fit eleven year old now. The first time I was surprised, the second time I latched the screen in anticipation and was triumphant when he thudded against the door but no release! Just because he is autistic doesn’t mean he isn’t smart, or he can’t understand and react to news that might apply to him.
What I learned and take back home is to accept what is. I have some of that I need to do here. I think Jacob is my guy to help with that. He’s the professor of my acceptance. The courier of my disunity. The master of my expression. All in terms of helping me realize my own illusions, my diversity – I am not always who I think I am. Anthony de Mello writes about how we have an illusory vision of what is around us. Our belief system is propelled and encouraged by what we think we see as “reality.” I have been awoken, shifted into appreciation and acceptance. That includes me, it includes you – and all that we say and do. Need to keep going back to get these courses.