“How much time do you spend on the aspects of your life that you enjoy/feel good about, compared to the times spent with aspects that you don’t enjoy or even resent?
“Your time, energy, and efforts are highly precious, especially when raising a child on the autism spectrum. Your days are already primarily devoted to the many different tasks to do with parenting – cooking, cleaning, laundry, bedtime routine, therapies, essential phone calls, paying bills, etc. You don’t have time to waste away – every minute counts in creating the life you want for yourself and your family! So, let’s talk about how you can conserve your energy for the things that matter and help you feel joyful!
# 1 – “It’s OK to acknowledge the aspects of your life that feel problematic, things you want to change. However, once you have acknowledged the problem, shift gears and ask yourself, what would I want instead of this ‘problem’? And how can I go about creating this for myself? From this point on, focus on what you want versus what you don’t like, and find problematic.
“Example: I have a friend who speaks about my child with autism very judgmentally, and I would like a friend who is understanding and supportive of my child on the spectrum.
# 2 – “Acknowledge the aspects of your life where you are already doing/getting a portion of what you want (or at least a modified version of it). Knowing that you already have (even if in a small portion) what you want is helpful. You will feel successful and believe you can fully achieve what you want.
“Example: I realize I have another friend or family member who is understanding and supportive of my child’s autism…
# 3 – “Think of other aspects of your life where things feel good, for example, moments when you feel joyful! Make sure you spend at least 50-60% of your energy and efforts nurturing those aspects of your life that already feel good to you. Life is already presenting you with the ‘remedy’ you need; take it! 😊
“Example: I love to cook and serve healthy, nurturing food to my family (this is true about me, Camila 😉). I also love spending time in nature and with my children. So, I make sure a good portion of my days and efforts go towards doing those things.
“If it has been some years since you remember truly feeling joyful, go back to a memory of feeling joyful – What were you joyful about in that moment? What felt good to you from this memory? Can you recreate this in your life now?
“Last week I spoke with a Son-Rise Program mom, Anna, who told me she believed she was not very organized. She spent many days considering running a Son-Rise Program for her child but never committed to entirely doing it. She thinks she needs to be more organized to implement the program, even though this was something she wanted. I asked her if there was another part of her life where she thought she had good organizational skills. She said she always ensured her son went to sleep by 8 PM. She always stuck with it – tadaaaa here; there is one aspect of Anna’s life where she successfully implements what she wants (to be organized). Anna feels organized in this one example (with her son’s bedtime), so she can eventually apply this to other aspects of her life. Dwelling, feeling bad over it, and over-identifying herself as a ‘disorganized’ person will not help Anna learn the skill she desires to learn. But focusing on the aspects of her life where she feels organized (what she wants) will help her reach her goal and build what she wants for her family. Whatever we focus on grows more – focus on what you want, and you will get more of what you want!
“A little bit more of #3 — When you acknowledge the aspects of your life that feel good to you (when you feel joyful), you touch on your power and strengths. It will help you feel empowered, grateful, and more relaxed. Still, it will also support you in tackling the more challenging aspects of your life. Anna is a super silly and playful mom who can make the best sound effects I have ever heard. She can make a cow sound that would make you feel like you are in a field with one and will get you looking for that animal in the playroom! And let me tell you, that is sooo super entertaining!!! A massive aspect of implementingTthe Son-Rise Program that Anna already has. Anna watched a video of herself playing with her son and realized how much he was looking at her, smiling, and engaging with her when she used these sound effects. It helped her feel empowered and know that she can absolutely implement this program with her son because this is what she wants!
“To help you in your Son-Rise Program journey with your extraordinary child. Here is an activity for you to do. Write these down:
#1 – “What is bothering you right now (something you spend time and energy thinking about that you don’t like)?
#2 – “What would you like instead of this “problem” (#1)?
#3 – “Find one aspect of your life where you are doing / or already have (even if to a small degree) what you want (#2).
#4 – “How can you create more of #2 and #3 in your life?
# 5 – “Identify as many aspects of your life as possible that you feel good about (unrelated to the other examples above).
“Bonus: How can you use #5 to support you in achieving #2?
“Focus your time and effort on what you want, versus dwelling and feeling bad, or over-identifying yourself with the ‘problems’ in your life. Your energy and time are precious – use them in a way that serves you. Whatever you focus on, grows more!
“Let us know how this goes! Feel free to email me at email@example.com. <3
“I am sending you all best wishes and a life full of joy alongside your super awesome child on the autism spectrum!”
Camila Titone, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher