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This Week’s Reading

26 Jul

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This week I’m reading two books simultaneously (glorious!): No Fighting, No Biting, No Screaming: How to Make Behaving Positively Possible for People With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities by Bo Hejlskov Elven and The Magicians by Lev Grossman. I’ll wait to comment on the Grossman until I finish, that being the way with fiction, but I cannot stop talking about Elven’s book. It is a revelation. The book talks in depth about how we, the caregivers, need to think about the people who are in our care. The book is about letting go of power and relinquishing control, about understanding that the way people with disabilities look at the world might be different than the way we (as caregivers) do, about finding ways to create positive manipulation rather than resorting to power struggles. In short, it’s really good. I’d highly recommend to anyone who works or lives with someone with a disability. The book is empowering, a caring, thoughtful way for us to look at the people we love–as the unique, fantastic individuals that we know they are. Rather than getting frustrated we must think, and Elven gives us a great paradigm to look through. I’ll keep talking about this one for a while…

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Lent

13 Mar

I was looking through an old altered book (I used old textbooks as sketchbooks in college, tearing them to pieces by painting, writing, and gluing in them) today, thinking about the past and how far I’ve come. How much I love my life right now, exactly how it is, and how I had no concept at 21 or 22 as to what possibilities awaited me. I’m glad that I waited for this love–for this life.

But in this book, which was one created in one of my darker days, I found this poem by Rumi scribbled desperately. As this is Lent, the season of repentance and renewal, and as I was reflecting on my own growth, it seemed particularly touching.

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.

Don’t try to see through the distance. That’s not for human beings.

Move within but don’t move the way fear makes you move.

Today, like every day, we wake up empty and frightened.

Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

This poem is a good reminder of another proverb that I collected during this difficult time in my life. It’s emblazoned on a coffee cup: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

As I go through this Lenten season, may I remember to be patient. May I remember to find and perform beauty.

May I remember to be thankful.