Lockdown art

Since here in the UK the lockdown is only just starting to be eased with shops opening, social distancing being reduced and the ability to see friends and family through bubbles I thought I would show some of my art that I have made recently.

Lefkás inspired ones followed by Coronavirus inspired ones and pictures of the area.

Autism – Employability problems arising from Time and Money Management

Autistics are like children in how wilful they are as everyone knows regardless of whether they have personal experience or not. They are both dedicated to what they want to achieve, how and when but because they don’t/can’t prioritise it’s not always a good time so this creates issues. Dedication is a very important quality to have but it needs to be put to use in the right areas. Time management is an adult quality so challenging when they want to achieve something because it’s bed time for instance is reminiscent of those bed time battles you have with toddlers. Nobody wins here as it’s the immovable object vs the unstoppable force.

We know what we want but that’s not always a good thing. Delayed gratification is an adult skill so we either want nothing at all living a monastic life or are frivolous with our money because we want everything. This is why we often are bad with money as we haven’t learnt enough financial self control yet. We are great copiers also so we see everyone else involved in consumerism and think this is another way to fit in. It’s hugely damaging to us and the environment to behave in this way. Money is power and if your constantly giving it away to anyone who asks then you are diminishing yourself.

Autism can also be considered a throwback to an earlier time in human history because we don’t filter, have good social skills, have difficulty speaking and we are very instinctual. These are all qualities you would associate with prehistoric people. This hyperfocus on our interests however can be very useful though if your in the cattle industry like Temple Grandin is. It allows you to see things that others simply cannot see because there minds don’t work that way.

There are many different kinds of Autistics in the world just like there are many different kinds of people. Some of the common ones you come across are linguists, artists, gardeners, animal scientists, scientists and mathematicians. Artists need lots of time alone but they also need people where as scientists just need lots of time alone. People are optional to them. A partner and possibly a best friend are all that is required. This is of course generalising as some are introverts and some are extroverts. Some are even ambiverts. There are of course many other factors involved which would make this post tedious in the extreme if I was to go into them all.

There is room for all kinds in the world from Chris Packham with his animals as shown on British tv, Greta Thunberg with climate change shown all over the world and Daniel Tamnet with his number & linguistic skills. He proved that even though Icelandic is one of the hardest languages in the world due to its isolation; he learnt it within a week and had a conversation on live tv with native speakers. So every difference has a positive side which is often never seen.

Autistics, like kids are often creative idealists and dreamers. This is where meditation and journaling came be extremely helpful. It helps to channels there thoughts and ideas into order as frequently they are jumbled up. They have a unique grasp of the world which should be respected as they could possibly really change the world with one of them. They want to make the world a better place through there creations. Sometimes this is altruistic through empathy of which they often have in excess but this can seem egotistical if it comes out through numbers and structures. This is however what the world values so they will mould themselves to be likeable and appreciated even if this is not who they are.

Autistics are hyperaware of the world around them and there very conscious of the fact they don’t fit in. They know they are different to everyone else and this causes them discomfort. They may wish to mitigate these problems in many ways but these often reveals there true self and causes isolation. Since they are not money motivated and therefore cannot start there own business to take advantage of there creativity; there unique insights are often left to rot in their brains. As they are primarily ideas people this doesn’t get them anywhere in this modern commercial world. Often this leads to others who are much less scrupulous but with an eye for profit and innovation taking there ideas and making loads of money from them. This should be changed as inventors like Nikola Tesla are needed to continue the change our world is currently experiencing through the corona virus pandemic.

Why autistics have obsessions

Autistics like to perform deep dives and go into detail about obscure details. Everyone knows this. However what people do not know is why autistics do this. They just think it’s a quirk of autism to get hung up on these things.

The autistic obsession is a way of controlling all of the input that you have to deal with in life. Right now the world is changing in quite a dramatic fashion. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is freaking out a lot of autistic people. We don’t like change because we have difficulty with processing all the possibilities of life. We like structure for this reason. With nothing changing there is no fear so life can continue as normal. This is a very debilitating way to live your life.

The autistic brain gets stuck on ideas that it has yet to process. This can take years for it to be done to their satisfaction. They do end though when enough information has been gathered and a decision has been made. The autistic brain is a conundrum because it’s childish in liking novelty but conversely having a strong dislike to new concepts without any apparent reason. This is usually a result of triggers residing in the brain that have been absorbed through there environment or carers but they themselves are unaware so they can’t be spoken. All you can see is the result of these hidden programs.

Autistics like animals because they like us are much more instinct driven. We don’t have filters so can make decisions based on all the information out there but this comes at the cost of movement and speech. Speaking is a highly cerebral activity. It is bound up with so many things it’s unbelievable. If we are choked up with a recent event we will not want to go anywhere or to say anything. Most people react to grief this way after the initial shock has passed but to us this kind of event lasts much longer. We need to examine everything in great detail. Also we have difficulty with processing emotions as we are not sure what they mean, where they come from or what to do about.

Recently I learnt that it was not in fact sulphates in wine that was making my eyes prick every time I drank it. It was in fact emotions bubbling up to the surface. I was noticing the change and now I know the real reason behind it. It was not square eyes from too much screen time which is another lesson in itself, dehydration which is self explanatory or lack of sleep which you can fix yourself.

I’m always searching for the truth, the real truth nothing but the truth. However everything is so nuanced that it can be difficult to find out what this is in constantly changing world. To separate myself from everyone in order to do this is not the answer. Finding mechanisms that allow me to participate in life while still being my self is the way to go.

A mental health booklist

I’m developing a list of resources that you can use to make sure your life is exactly what you want it to be. These are mainly free resources as you don’t need further obstacles when you have decided that you need some me time.

I have started to use the Artists Way by Julia Cameron. This comes highly recommended by many famous patrons that have benefited from the information inside. It is also stuffed full of quotes from pretty anyone who ever lived that said something quotable. I have borrowed the book from my brother in law who didn’t like it as he said it was too simplistic. I can see what he means if I compare to Metahuman by Deepak Chopra but I think this is unfair since they are for completely different audiences.

I also have the accompanying workbook that he bought to see what if anything it does for me. The Artists Way is a 12 week course consisting of daily morning pages and artist dates amongst other activities. Morning pages are 3 pages of stream of consciousness writing to clear your mind for the day ahead. Artist dates are where you set aside time to indulge in culture. There are also other tasks such as reading as detailed in the book.

I have also ordered one of Melanie Beattie’s books on Codependent no more. I found the online version beneficial. Having now endeavoured to use technology less where possible, I now going to try to switch over to the paper copy. It provides space to write what you think about the daily devotional as it’s called. This allows you to develop your ideas about the concept better.

I have the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle which was instrumental in me starting down this path and being that I now have a physical copy means I can read it and make notes where necessary. It’s so much easier to bookmark, read and absorb the information in a proper book rather than an e book. They may be more expensive and less portable but you get far more from them than their electronic copies.

In addition to these I have the Little Prince by Antione St Expury when I want something lighter and The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. Fiction is a necessary compliment to non fiction. There is something much more reassuring and relaxing for a bed time story in an actual book rather than a Netflix series or YouTube video.

Meditation types

Not all meditation is created equal. I have tried the most popular commercial apps that are around at the moment – Headspace and Calm but to no avail. To me they feel like you are just going through the motions since they are only utilising a calming voice, tranquil music and visualisation; nothing else. This is why the American self help programs, positive affirmations and mindfulness I have previously tried to get behind haven’t worked. They feel lacking in authenticity to me. It’s like having an artificial structure imposed onto your life but there is no content to sustain it. If you just have the bare bones of something it’s not going to be very useful. Very much like in languages if you can say hello, my name is, how are you and I’m good this does not make a conversation or a friendship. It’s just politeness that feels like progress as its relaxing you, but stops short of actually achieving anything.

Meditation is being commercialized in a big way right now but when that happens the very essence of what you are trying to accomplish is lost. This happens continuously because when you introduce money into these concepts they stop being about self actualisation and start becoming about income and nothing else. They lose their potency which is the very reason why you want to do them in the first place!

Religion is a bit like this too. As I’m learning more about the origins of the big religions and how they have changed over the years I seeing why people are losing faith in them. There becoming corrupted from there original goals. No wonder Americans study the bible in Greek. The King James Bible is so altered from the Greek or the Russian Orthodox version. I wouldn’t say I was religious at all but there are truths in these books. It’s why they have persisted for so long. It’s control but it’s also an understanding of human nature. We have not changed as a species so the same stories still help us through the centuries. The father, the son and the Holy Ghost is a recognition of the fact that we grow throughout our lives but there are still elements of the past within us while we anticipate and plan for the future. Our personality or soul, what makes us unique, can be carried on to future generations through our actions, words and tasks. Our legacy can live on even though we do not.

I really liked the Deepak Chopra 21 day meditation course I’ve just done. This is available for free on YouTube if you want to take part in it yourself and I highly recommend that you do this. There are other resources to go with these videos which I was provided with as part of a group exercise I took part in. I’m not sure just the meditation works on its own even though he uses chanting, mantras and visualisation techniques. This is where the difference comes in with competing regimes. Deepak Chopra is a world renown doctor of endocrinology and has researched what happens with the body/mind connection. Not many other people are that steeped in the knowledge required to do this properly and it certainly shows with the outcomes of these programs. I’ve got his latest book Meta Human to continue the progress I have started.

I’m deep thinking and highly empathetic which is slightly problematic when I want to talk to someone about this. Most people are not able to understand this in the way that I need them too. Most of the people that do however have much higher levels of emotional intelligence than I do so trigger me. While this is good to a certain extent being triggered by them all of the time means they are not for you.

So once again I have the dilemma of where do I fit in and will I ever find my tribe? Being an optimist is only good for so long. That’s why occasionally I do have a healthy dose of scepticism and pessimism. If I was accepting of everything and everyone all of the time; my brain would be so open it would fall out. You have to stand for something otherwise you will fall for anything. Principles and a moral code are extremely important here as standards do need to be respected and kept.

Life is a game of balancing the 2 sides of everything. You can’t truly experience anything if your only seeing one side whether this is through your own myopic view or that which has been created in your own country.

Triggers

These are all actions that are buried in our subconscious. They appear when the event occurs that triggers them. For me they relate back to my early childhood like I expect they do with most people.

Triggers however are not always bad. Just like panic, anxiety or even ‘nesting’ these behaviours illuminate some action that needs to be taken. I see it a lot in guys that have just had children. They were so driven to get their business/career up and running that when they finally meet the one it’s quite a change for them. They have to revolutionise their lives completely as they have to incorporate the thoughts of another into their actions. Then with the birth of their child comes more changes and they lose their drive some what. This is not a bad thing as family is the most important.

However, if they were raised in a patriarchal society and have managed to overcome this in there adult life when the child(ren) turn up those hidden beliefs are revealed. It’s much more difficult to heal yourself when you have a business to run, a partner to provide for and a child to look after. If you can look inside yourself and find time to reinvent yourself once again then that’s astonishing. Raising a child and doing it well is no small feat.

Childhood is the most important aspect of our lives as it affects everything else that comes afterwards. If we have had a rocky start then the foundation that our later lives are built on is always going to be unstable unless we put in major work to shore up those footings.

Meditation

This practice is needed most by those most resistant to actually taking it up. It’s the masculine side that needs balancing by the feminine side. Yoga groups are full of women taught by men. This seems a little odd to me. It’s been around a very long time so it’s been proven by the test of time. It’s a free practice that has been monetised to great success. As proven by Bikram Choundry on the Netflix program about his life.

Meditation is about accessing the 5 different brain waves that we have at our disposal. Alpha, beta, gamma, delta and theta. (Makes me wonder why no epsilon?) These brain waves are responsible for our thoughts and brain activities. They are different lengths and respond to the different levels of consciousness that we possess. If we are not able to use them all while me may get get sleep it will not be the restorative sleep that we require to wake up feeling relaxed, recharged and ready for the day ahead.

Meditation helps us to connect our minds with our bodies as often we think they are completely separate. There intimately entwined with each other more than we know. This is why our diet is so important. If we put bad food into ourselves we are polluting our bodies and therefore we can’t function properly. Our gut biome is our bodies way of keeping everything ticking over well. If we lose our appetite this tells us there is something wrong just like when we are sick or feeling nauseous.

Our skin is often the first indication that something isn’t right with our diet, environment or our mental health. It’s extraordinarily sensitive to everything that we experience on a daily basis. It’s our barrier between us and the outside world but we often don’t give it enough attention. Only when it is irritated do we look for a cause. This is often just the first symptom though.

We often need to look deeper into ourselves if we have constant problems with our nerves or we have other issues that cannot be easily explained. Our endocrine system (hormones) and our 2 nervous systems, sympathetic and parasympathetic can help with diagnosis here. Pain is a problem with inflammation and shows that something is out of balance. In order to eradicate this we need to look at what could possibly be causing it. This is tricky because it’s not well understood by western science. We have a scientific understanding but much like with languages; our initial information only literally describes its effects. We need to investigate the links present so a much more through journey is required.

Eastern medicine looks at things in terms of energy to see where it is, where it should be and how to get it to make that transition. It’s how Feng Sui works but this is a much maligned practice at the moment. Marie Do has tried to help with her tidying but only time will tell how much of an impact she has on this.

Yoga is about breathing and stretching which is a key part of eastern beliefs. Tai Chi is another that helps to promote peace and prosperity. Gentle exercise is essential to get your endorphins flowing just like being outside in the fresh air getting your vitamin D. Swimming has long been held as beneficial as well as the sea side.

Our ancestors knew that simple things such as writing our thoughts down in journals, painting or calligraphy is soothing to an anxious mind as well as being beautiful, walks in nature and discovering ourselves through careful observation of our reactions to things.

We have become majorly distracted from what is truly important in our lives and for the majority of us we didn’t have the time until now to change this. We need to use this opportunity before it is lost to us to create our lives exactly as we would want them to be. They have been stripped of all excess to allow us to notice what we really appreciate and need. We need a lot less than we think to live a good life.

This is why meditation is so important to continue this reset so we don’t lose the progress that is made in this break from what has become normality.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This is a book I read at college but I didn’t like it. It was shocking and terrifying. I also didn’t like the way the book was constructed but I don’t think it could be done in any other way. It was meant to illustrate the power that such a revolution would have on you and it certainly did that for me. I was confused as to how such a thing could take place but so is Offred and everyone else. That is why they fight to overcome the system. Offred is very strong and resistant to the new regime but sensible enough to know that you have to act a certain way to survive. I don’t want to give the game away to any of you who haven’t read it or seen the TV series. I expect the follow up The Testaments is where the material for later series comes from.

Have you found any unexpected novels that you persevered with and later understood them much better?