Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Heads or Tails Tuesday
and Some Thoughts on Autism Awareness Month

Well, I brooded and pondered and wondered and thought about different ways to approach today's Heads or Tails Tuesday post hosted by Skittles. I thought about writing about the Fool in the Tarot Deck, about the Native American "wise fool" heyoka, similar to the court jesters of the Middle Ages. I had a couple of other ideas, but all of them required more effort than this poor fool was willing to put into it, so I decided to go for quotes, especially because I also wanted to talk about something totally not related to fools. But lets get the fools out of the way first. Here are some wonderful quotes on the subject for your entertainment:

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” - Mark Twain

Abraham Lincoln said much the same thing: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

"Only a fool tests the water with both feet." - African Proverb

“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.” - Albert Einstein

“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever” - Chinese Proverb

“I must learn to love the fool in me the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries.” - Theodore Isaac Rubin

Theodore Isaac Rubin also said this, which I thought was very wise: "The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem."

"Even a fool knows you can't touch the stars, but it doesn't stop a wise man from trying." - Harry Anderson

I add this one with some bitterness, although I didn't vote for the current non-elected president either time he stole the office: "Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country." - Ambrose Bierce

"A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees." - William Blake

"The serpent, the king, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool: these seven ought not to be awakened from sleep. " - Chanakya

"The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month. "
- Fyodor Dostoevsky

"Mix a little foolishness with your prudence: It's good to be silly at the right moment." - Horace

"Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness." - Sacha Guitry

I love quotes and I could go on and on, but I'll stop here because there are more important things to talk about.

It's Autism Awareness Month

My very wonderful and very wise young friend Linda (aka Snoopmurph) whose blog These are the Days is well worth reading on any day, for it's gentle wisdom and its reflection of the beautiful soul who writes it, is writing this month on Autism Awareness. She is the mother of a young cute, sweet young son with Autism and is on a learning journey of how to best nurture and nourish the spirit of young Connor and also be fair to her older son Ian, who is not autistic. From what I can see, she and her husband are awesome parents on all fronts. I hope you'll join her on this month's exploration of Autism.

Oddly, the subject of autism came up right here in my little house in Hancock this morning in conversation with the kind gentleman who supplies me with food. I always try to respect synchronicity, so I'll share the story here as best I can and hope that it was given to me for some purpose.

A little background: Eight years ago, when I was living in Arizona, a friend of mine out there had a son - the magnificent Nicholas - who has a form of Autism called Asperger's Syndrome. Nicholas and I became great friends during my 18 months in Arizona. I practice a kind of healing called reiki and I sometimes use my voice in something called (or that's what I call it) "toning," when I reiki certain people. Nicholas loved reiki and he especially loved the sound. When I decided to move back to New York State, Nicholas was a bit upset, so I put some of my toning on a tape for him. I had that tape running this morning though I almost never listen to it - synchronicity again - when Tom, the Schwann's man, arrived with my groceries. I discovered a while back that Tom makes and plays Native American flutes and we have talked about that on a number of occasions. When he heard the tape and said - "oh, your listening to flute music" (How's that for a cool compliment?) - I told him the story behind the tape and he told me the following story from his days on the Pow Wow circuit. He gave me permission to share it. I will do so here as best I can, but know that I have not really done it justice.

Years ago, Tom was selling his flutes at a Pow Wow in Oklahoma He was sitting playing one of his flutes to entertain himself and pass the time for a while, and also watching the people coming and going. He noticed one young couple and their young son as they walked along. He said he could tell that the boy was a little different in some way from the way - he wasn't sure how - from his body language, probably. Anyway, the boy was just following along with his parents, but not really seeming engaged in the world around him. As the family neared Tom's booth and the sound of the flute became audible, the little boy stopped dead in his tracks, clearly mesmerized by the sound, completely focussed and absorbed. His parents were thrilled by this and explained to Tom their son was severely autistic and that it was always exciting for them when their he made that kind of intense connection. When Tom stopped playing, the boy didn't want to leave (Tom tells this story so much better than I do) and so he played a bit more and then on impulse, asked the parents if he could give their son one of his flutes. They were thrilled to accept since they couldn't afford to buy one themselves. He said the boy just stood there and hugged that flute like it was the most precious thing in the world. He didn't try to play it, but stood there hugging it and hugging it, looking ecstatic. And then - I was already crying at this point - he ran around the table, threw his arms around Tom and shouted "Thank You!" - the first words he had spoken in three years, according to his parents.

This story speaks to me in so many ways. It speaks of the pain and isolation of autism and how hard it must be for parents to have their beloved children locked away from them. It speaks of the power of music. And of course, it speaks to me of the power of simple acts of kindness and the power of love.

I don't really know very much about autism. I know that my young friend Nicholas has as heart as big as the world. I'm learning a bit more as I read Linda's posts about her son Connor and the journey she and her family are taking along with him. Autism is so prevalent these days that I doubt anyone reading these words doesn't know an autistic child or have a friend or family member who is living with and loving an autistic child. It would be wise for all of us to learn more about this condition. I hope you will join Linda as she explores autism all this month.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! I loved the quotes for your HoT! :) Some of my favorites and some I hadn't heard of!:) I really liked the one by Einstein! How prophetic in this day and age of everything getting smaller and more compact! :)

Le Butterfly said...

Excellent post.
This year we have a boy with autism in our school. Its a new,enriching and sometimes difficult experience for everyone.

peppylady (Dora) said...

What a great post I never heard of Native American "wise fool" heyoka but thats one thing about blogging never know what pops up.

This one I liked the best...“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever” - Chinese Proverb"

Thanks for popping over and stop by again.

Anonymous said...

I loved both parts of this post. The quotes were many of my favorites.

Autism is something we've been made aware of a few times and try to be sensitive to. At one point, we had an autistic foster child, for just a few days, and we were left wondering how parents managed. It is very scary to have a 3 year old who gets out of bed in the middle of the night and wanders! So not only do I feel for the kids, and try to be aware, but I try to be sensitive to the parents and understand that they are probably on the brink of exhaustion, just about all the time!

Shrijnana said...

What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it; I had tears in my eyes!

Barb said...

Oh Raven... Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story of hope with us!

Dianne said...

The Albert Einstein quote really made me think of this current non-elected President, then again anything that begins with the word fool tends to do that.

I wonder if he thinks today is his own special holiday!?

Linda aka Snoopmurph deserves so much respect and love and that's exactly what you conveyed.

And your story made me cry (happy tears) too. We all just need to learn a little and listen a lot and be kinder and gentler to each other.

You're a shining example of that Raven.

Unknown said...

Raven: Thank you for reminding me to network by e-mail the girls on my Blogroll who have an Autistic child.

I like the first Theodore Isaac Rubin quote (after the Chinese proverb). And with no offense to Mr. Miyagi!:D

Forgetfulone said...

Great post. Happy HoT!

Misty DawnS said...

This is a truly awesome post. AND, you put a Mark Twain quote in there - I ♥ Mark Twain quotes!

Hope you had a great Tuesday!

Linda Murphy said...

Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.

First of all, I also love the Theodore Isaac Rubin quotes-they are in my catalog of quotes...which reminds me I need to update my sidebar quote...

Nicholas sounds like a terrific boy and Tom's story is so affecting. Music does so much to unlock the mysteries of the soul and brain for these children sometimes. Many children with autism have music therapy as well-it can work wonders!

I appreciate your thoughts and your kind words and support. I feel very honored to have you in our corner.

Raven said...

Thank you everyone for your kind comments. My apologies for not responding to each of you separately, but the day has fled faster than it was supposed to and bed calls.

I'm glad so many of you enjoyed the quotes and Tom's story and I hope that you will read visit Linda's wonderful blog and hear what she has to say.

Linda - it's an honor to know you... you are a remarkable person.

Annabel said...

this is a fantastic post. love the 'fool' quotes. and the autism stories were very moving.

Jeni said...

Loved the "fool" quotes -very good selections.
And thanks for acknowledging April being Autism Awareness month too. You're so right about Linda's blog and the tone she invokes in her pieces about her family, especially little Connor -the trials and many tribulations of life raising an autistic child. Linda and I are linking our blogs this month in observation of Autism Awareness too - a move I'm very happy to make and share thoughts, ideas and especially our feelings about the autistic children in our lives.

storyteller said...

I loved these quotes!!! Thanks so much for sharing … and I hope you won’t mind if I share some occasionally on my blogs. I have a friend writing on Autism Awarenss this month too … Mary has a grandson with Asperger’s and is seeking ‘connections’ with others to educate herself. I’ve shared a few blogging sites with her already and intend to pass along yours to her today because I, too, believe in synchronicity. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m thrilled to be a conduit ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Unknown said...

Wonderful post.

I have 4 children with autism spectrum syndrome, one of them with classical autism, or core autism as they call it.

I was touched by the words "Locked away from them", because that's how it feels.

Thank you friend for giving the flute.
Touching a child with autism this way is awesome and life changing.

Mary said...

Hi Raven. Storyteller left a link in my comments to this post. I'm so glad she did.

I'm sure your Nicholas is a lovely child. My grandson has Asperger's Syndrome and these kids are so special. They teach us a lot about the world since they see it with different eyes.

A heart touching story about Tom and the little boys with autism. I never knew that flute music or Reike could be used to treat autism, so I have learned something here today.

My last two posts have been on autism and Asperger's Syndrome. I hope you will stop by for a visit.


Michelle O'Neil said...

Wow. Such a beautiful story.What a gift you were to Nicholas.

My daughter responds really powerfully to music as well. And energy.

Casdok said...

Great post!
And thank you!

Raven said...

Annie - thank you for stopping by and for your kind words...

Jeni - thanks for your visit... I hope people will visit your site and read your extensive and great information/links on autism.

storyteller - glad you liked the quotes. I'll check out Mary's site. I hope you and Mary will both check out Linda (snoopmurph)'s site. Dianne at Forks Off the Moment wrote a great post today with some excellent links. And check out Michelle (comment below) and Jeni too... they will lead you to other great blogs.

Laane - I'm so glad that this post touched you. I will be sure to tell Tom how his story moved you. Four children with autism! Wow. You have your hands full... and clearly your heart is full too.

Mary - I haven't seen Nicholas in ages - since he and his family are in AZ and I'm homebound in New York State. He's a teenager - 13 (an awful age whether you are autistic or not) now and his mother is home schooling him because she feels public school is too much for him at this age. I'll drop by your site later. I have a friend who does free long-distance reiki attunements. Might be something you want to look into.

Michelle O'Neil - Nicholas and his family were a gift to me too. Have you thought about learning reiki? I'll try to remember to post a link for my friend Cindy's free attunements. I think her site is called the World Healing Network. Her name is Cindy Oriente.

Casdok... I was so moved by your post at your blog today. I hope others will visit and read it. It was so lovely.

Raven said...

I'll try to remember to post this elsewhere too, but while I'm thinking about it... here's Cindy Oriente's Reiki/healing site. She offers weekly (I think) free attunements... If you can do an live, in-person workshop with someone, I'd recommend that, but for parents, especially parents with autistic children that might be a luxury. I may do some research on the idea of attuning the children themselves to reiki. You might want to run that idea past Cindy if you get in touch with her.... Well this is a long post that probably nobody is going to read... Did I remember the link? Agh... senility is setting in... here it is: http://www.worldhealing.net/

~ej said...

what a wonderful story from tom via yourself!! i am learning more and more about autism and asperger's....so many children now....
thanks for sharing the links to the other blogs.

Raven said...

thanks elena jane - there's so much to learn about autism.... I hope you check out Linda's site and some of the others she has posted.