Bootcamp

by Nancy Bekhor

Bootcamp is on and Marley is in charge… It’s bootcamp with my name on it, whether I want it or not.

His hand, an iron manacle on my wrist, does not hurt unless I try to move. He gets more intense as the seconds tick past that I have not ‘got it’.
What started, a few years earlier as,” don’t be angry when I make you angry!” A conundrum at the time, my position was progressively deconstructed starting at my first bold thought, “Excuse me, but it doesn’t work that way”. Or equally lame, “Don’t be ridiculous”. He just kept repeating his chant,”don’t be angry when I make you angry” over the following months.
It’s always about Unconditional Love for him. Societal convention is that you can adore a baby stranger but no way can you gush over anyone else. Marley gets a feeling of love looking at anyone and when he is told by others that this is unacceptable, he becomes very upset. He has taken to calling himself a ‘wild love’ as one would refer to a wild rose, uncultivated.
Years ago he was overly sensitive to touch, and even now does not like any surprise touches. He strikes instantly with a quick push. A push from a 6+ foot boy whose body has been conditioned by daily ‘grand mal’ seizures packs a punch.
Then he says, “It’s my head” “sorry”. In effect he is saying he cannot control this ‘knee jerk reaction’. I seem to be in the same boat!
Unlike members of the ‘Norm” (the majority of society at this time), Marley does not react to attacks (real or perceived) to his ego. However he is instantly mobilized if the mood generated by me is less than lovely. It somehow hurts him. He is sensitive to the flow of good feelings. He never ever apologizes for this reaction.
Then I began to see a new meaning beyond the way we normally use words. Thinking, “Oh, I see, don’t be so reactive and get angry even though the behaviour normally makes me angry”. This is not easy to do, by the way.
This situation has now escalated over the last 3 years. He has obviously suffered for years and only recently has been able to express it effectively to me.
This love terrorist is relentless.
Though I may be in the kitchen and dealing with superhot stuff, he bowls in oblivious ( he does not seem to ‘see’ what is going on). I become tense. No domestic accidents please!
This is bootcamp and my mood shift is unacceptable to him. He is like a Zen master who teaches stillness by cracking his stick on the heads of his students to reinforce their stillness.
Other times he picks up the subtle vibrations and says
“You are angry”.
” No I am not angry”, I would say and after the 3rd repetition I would say so angrily.

In frustration, at being confronted with this statement again and again, I retorted,” I’ll show you angry…”, even though this phrase means nothing to him as he is not acquainted with dark parenting styles in children’s literature through the ages nor the conventions speech of English. As expected,he looks at me blankly as I am sounding like the Dursleys of Harry Potter childhood. It’s amazing and embarassing the stuff you can blurt out when you are upset!
When I know I am angry because he wants something and I am not getting through to him why he cannot, he will say:
“Why do you like to be angry?”
After attempts on my part to deny it. “Of course I don’t like to be angry”, I would say double as angry. A nano second to fume but doesn’t help me at all.
Eventually this too became a conundrum that I expected to solve.
Yes it did seem that I liked to be angry when I reviewed my generalized behaviour. I noticed I was losing patience with everyone around me. Whether friend, mother or customer service agent on the phone or face to face.
Lord knows, in an attempt to be calmer, I took up gym, did meditation, gave amnesty to unkind relatives and anyone else in the world that had ever ‘done me wrong’, including myself in that list. I went further and gave up deadlines. Gave up being ambitious. I had already done so much, yet the ultimate calm in face of external triggers to the contrary continued to elude… What else is there? Bootcamp with Marley.
The paradox did resolve because my own growth demanded it. This is where I am headed… the joy of the moment, of all moments. For the spiritually minded it would seem to be a long term project, until yesterday when Marley upped the ante on me. He wants it already.
He will tell anybody, and I mean anybody, “Nancy likes to be angry”. Very embarassing for me because they will assume that I must be a very cruel person and perhaps the Child Protection Services need to be called.
Back to my manacled hand, he digs in his heels and is utterly intolerant to my frustration.
What do you know… his nagging was only phase 1.
Just as I had tried to induce him to do stuff, he is now inducing me! Remarkable. This feels like an EST seminar where the doors are only unlocked when ‘you get it’.
I go in and out of getting it and when I don’t we are both frustrated. He chooses to dwell in the vortex of good feeling vibrations and he wants to take me with him. Even if he feels bad momentarily to achieve it. (Compare to the status quo: miserable is on the menu and it’s popular). What’s at stake here is having better feeling energy all the time.
Undoubtedly hyper vigilance required from me to look after a boy who has uncontrolled seizures, is illiterate and absolutely does not recognize the world and it’s myriad of mechanisms, as the rest of us do has set the scene for me to never relax. That he was an insomniac for 11 years didn’t help either.

Marley knows what he knows and I have come to have deep respect for that.

……. To be continued at bootcamp 2.

See Marley’s extraordinary art!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Bekhor October 22, 2012 at 12:25 am

Eddie, from Indonesia, a parent of autism and founder of a home for children with special needs and autism said he is trying to understand article and i answered thus.
“Hi Eddie, you will find it easier to understand when you read the whole book. Am sorry that it is not yet available. Basically in the article I am trying to show that though he cannot read or write or understand conversations he is so very clear about love and the flow of good feelings between people. “

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Janine October 30, 2012 at 3:12 am

Hi Nancy

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! It shows great insight, whilst being amusing. A great understanding of your journey through this and might I add, your education by The Master, Marley. We are here to learn great things from autistic people and they come bearing fabulous gifts, for us, who are prepared to listen.
Love and Light
Janine

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Lisa Brash January 3, 2013 at 5:56 am

What a beautiful article. So amazing because this
week I have been thinking about and exploring the meaning of finding inner joy Šand I have been wanting to step into this more and more. I am now seeing a spiritual healer who is helping me delve into this.
I still don’t have a grasp yet of how autism affects a person. It
certainly seems that Marley is teaching you and people around you so much.
I love that he is helping you in your exploration of anger. That perhaps
to get to inner joy we have to move through the anger layer first and
that’s ok. How remarkable he is teaching that. Is this an extract from
your new book? When do you think it will be released?

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