The infinite loveliness of nothing

There is a certain loveliness in nothingness, in unencumbered stillness, in silent empty space. In this absence of something there is a void that aches to be filled. Therein lies potential and that potential is infinite.

At least I tell myself this as I sit at the back door watching the trees dance in the wind. It is early morning and I am in the process of appreciating some idle time.

I still wake up at 4:45 a.m. A feat that has taken this once proud night owl years of cultivation to achieve and I will get as much down time as I can get even if it is in the early morning. Nothing lasts forever and this extra time will not.

In order to appreciate this time that I have seized for myself in an act of desperation, I must engage myself in the art of doing nothing.

My last job was in itself a culture of stress. I worked in a very busy call center in the public safety sector. There was high expectations and a rigid adherence to numerous and various state laws and regulations that required me to make statements that made callers confused and upset, this made customer service difficult at best. My days were timed to the tenth of a second, over one minute late and you have an “occurrence” and points were given, points that added up very fast for some and there was/ is a high turnover rate. I did well though. My calls were listened to and graded. I was thought of as smart and competent , I took  direction well and after a while I did start to sound like the others: A caller once told me I sounded like a robot.

I almost cried then.

There was a reason why I wasn’t the only one who had constant migraines there.

I felt I was drowning, gasping for air.  I felt desperate. An anger rose up in me that was not me at all.  This started to effect my relationships with my husband and family. I felt sick  to my stomach and my energy was zapped. I felt like a zombie just trying to get to the next day, to the weekend where I would try to cram as much living as I could in 2 days.

I bet my former coworkers would have been surprised to know that I am on the Autism Spectrum, I have masked it pretty well my whole life but that takes its physical and emotional toll on me and that job was not the best for someone with sensory issues, it may be one of the worst. 47 hour weeks of this for nearly two years did me in and burned me out. The job that gave me and my family health insurance made me sick.

 

Before I gave my notice I obtained a part time temporary gig in retail. It pays the bills, just almost. In the two months I have been there I have been much happier and healthier. I am getting myself back.


To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
Lao Tzu

East bank of the Willamette River

Nothing gives birth to creation.

It provides the empty space for something to occur. Nothing is an empty cup waiting to be filled, it is up to us to fill it.

The only real commodity is time. We are selling hours of our lives for money. Money we need to survive. Most of us have no control over this and have to spend much of our lifetime devoted to that task.

There is no time for nothing. There is no blank canvas on which to create and on which to write the narrative of our lives. Some fortunate people have jobs that them happy, that happiness is reflected in their work and everyone around them can share in this happiness. They are excited to get up and start working for the day. I want to be one of those people.

I believe that I can contribute to society in a greater way than I am now, I should say in a better way. Whether I am baking bread, selling jewelry in a store or writing something that makes people laugh or cry or think.

This rat is so very tired of the race.

And so I sit here at the back door, feeding a few squirrels that have gathered. My mind has time to reflect, my writing voice is coming back, the one that has lain dormant for a few years. I hear it speaking in whispers, I can barely hear but I am listening.

SBI

 

**

“And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money, I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.”

Mary Oliver

Just like you

 

I haven’t written much about being on the Autism Spectrum.  I’ve delegated that “discovered” part of me to the background, contained here and there in hints and asides and tiny blurbs on social media. Few people in my daily life actually know much about me at all.  I let very few into my world.

One could say that I have “passed” as an N.T. or Neurotypical; those who are deemed “normal” by society. I have been able to pass under the radar probably due to my generation and that I am female. There are many of us out there. We without an official diagnosis.  We that have practiced being just like we thought everyone expected us to be.

It’s not easy and I have fallen short. I have wondered why I have tried so hard to fit in. It is lonely enough being one’s unique and misunderstood self but another degree of lonely trying to be someone you are not.

I have been blogging for a few years and I have preached about loving yourself and being yourself and all the beautiful magic in that. I have dispensed this sugary drink without sipping it myself. I am guilty of being something I hate, which is a hypocrite.

I have hidden to the world, even my own Mother that I am on the Autism Spectrum.

I keep my tiny victories to myself; hoarding them to savor for rainy days.  I assume the world at large will not understand me. I hold a demeanor of reserve, a protective coating I have strengthened and shined it and relied upon it most of my life. It keeps the world out. It keeps me safe but in that safety, I have lost so much.

And time goes by and so I really haven’t done all these incredible things with my life. It seems that the basics have been difficult, if not almost impossible enough.

I am starting to see that I may not have all the answers and that I may need help and that often the best way to help oneself is to help others.

Maybe there truly can be a reason why I am the way I am. For the most part it is a gift; this way I experience life, from the smallest of things I experience pure joy and alternatively I can feel a deep sorrow. I hear a delicate song in the wind but the loud noises of the world make me feel pain.

I sometimes feel like a butterfly fluttering about a beautiful field of flowers, subject to the elements that tatters my wings, but yet I keep flying. In that tiny victory I have found I am stronger and more resilient than I thought I could be. Perhaps I am here with my gift for words to tell other butterflies that you too are stronger than you think you are, and yes you can because I am doing it now. Watch me fly and watch us fly together.

I am taking advantage of some rare free time that has blown my way by the mysterious winds of fate. I have been finding caches of goodness scattered here and there. It seems the bank of karma has seen it fit to shower a little sunshine on me.
I am resting and revitalizing and spending precious time with my loved ones, doing fun things
and doing nothing at all (which is underrated in my opinion)
It is too easy to get caught up in he day to day…
I am grateful to have this time to think, to write and to plan for the future.

~nlm

Related and not so related articles

 

The costs of camouflaging autism   

(Spectrumnews.org)

Why It’s Hard To Keep A Job When You Have Asperger’s  

(psychcentral.com)

Someone Saved My Life Tonight – Elton John   

(Youtube.com)

 

Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images