In the ten years that I have given talks seminars and training on Asperger's Syndrome, not only has my content changed as my outlook on life has slowly changed in this time, but the role of the Asperger trainer is also gradually getting harder. For me, what is perhaps the most difficult aspect of giving training on Asperger's Syndrome, despite being diagnosed with the condition and experiencing living with it on a daily basis, I am not 'representative' of all people on the autistic spectrum. Not only are individual experiences of Asperger's Syndrome different, but different individual perspectives of Asperger's Syndrome and general outlooks on life also often vary dramatically. To experience a different life outlook on the autistic spectrum would involve me having to come right out of my own 'Asperger comfort zone', just like a person not on the autistic spectrum would have to come out of their comfort zone to experience what it may like to be on the autistic spectrum.
More recently though in the ten years since my first Asperger's Syndrome seminar, I have begun to notice more how Asperger's Syndrome doesn't only affect me, or others with the condition, but also effects people around us, particularly when it comes to communication. At the conference I spoke at in Manchester, I was pleased to find out that the methods that I have found helpful in coping with the ups and downs Asperger's Syndrome helped one of the other speakers. During many of my seminars, I give audiences a chance to participate in a three-minute breathing space exercise, which involves just focusing on this breath coming in and this breath going out, as well as noticing where the mind wonders, and just gradually calling the mind back to the breath, thus helping one gradually become more in tune with the present moment as it is. One of the other speakers later came to me and said that it was really good to speak after me because this short, simple and accessible technique had helped her to feel more relaxed after feeling a little nervous about giving a presentation.
This theme continued throughout the talks that followed, together with incorporating being present as a person with Asperger's Syndrome here and now to personal goals which one may hope to achieve in the future. One of the best pieces of advice that I have had on getting the best from mindfulness practice is not to have any expectations as to what it may lead to, as the more you may expect it to deliver, it takes you out of the present to something that either hasn't happened or to how you may like it to be, rather than how it is. bringing this approach to personal goals, in this way, it helps to be realistic about personal goals enabling one to work in the present to reach that goal, rather than focusing on and going for a future goal.
|The Arboretum, Derby
As readers of this blog may remember, I have previously written about how the effects of mindfulness helped me complete the 2012 Bupa Great North Run. Where I can bring a mindful approach to the next part of my double challenge to raise much-needed funds for Daisy Chain, to summit Kilimanjaro, is rather than doing the trek to reach the summit, but to go for the summit not just to do the trek, but to continue with my training that I undertook for the Great North Run as well as undertaking some shorter treks closer to home. To find out more about my challenge, visit the following link http://www.justgiving.com/Chris-MitchellGNR/
I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my compassion to those who have lost their lives on active service with the Armed Forces as well as their families with Remembrance Sunday approaching.