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Mindfulness. A Special Needs Approach

07/02/2017 14:56

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Picture author's own.

As we enter February it's possible that you have not found the right life plan to transform your mind, body and spirit. You, fellow traveller, have come to the right place!

Having problems dealing with difficult people?

Struggling with your relationship with food?

Finding living in the moment tricky?

This plan, based on the life experience of someone who I have studied assiduously for ten years offers you some answers, what you choose to do with them is your responsibility.

Last week while navigating my way through the endless appointments, which seem to just keep landing on our door mat, I was thinking about people I admire, and what it is that makes them stand out. I realised that one young lady, who was cheerily attending the appointments and embracing all of them in a spirit of curiosity and a chance to meet new people, had a better general attitude to life than I did, and wondered what I could learn from her.

I bring you (insert fanfare) Pearlfulness TM *

Be authentic.
Do not be held back by convention and social nicety. If something amuses you, laugh. If it saddens you, cry. Stoicism and English Reserve do not necessarily make you happy. Get out there, live life and engage. It's messy, some people won't like it, but it is a good way to remain in tune with yourself, and find out who is genuinely worth giving the time of day to. Hiding your real feelings from yourself and others, causes confusion and bad mental health all round.

Believe in yourself.
Pearl knows that in any room she enters she is the most interesting and important thing. If people are staring at her, Pearl is not concerned, it is because she is marvellous. Someone I may consider a heartless, callous person, thinking (at best) "what is wrong with that child poor thing," Pearl believes is waiting to be introduced. Believe me, when you have been charmed by Pearl sitting next to you saying "harro" and plonking her communication book on your knee, your preconceptions about learning disability will be challenged. The moral of this tale is believe in yourself, channel your inner Pearl, and if you can't, fake it 'til you make it

Be kind.
Pearl has gaps in her understanding of grammar. The more complex a sentence, the easier it is for her to misinterpret. She has become an expert at using tells, facial expression, body language and the general aura people give off, to help her. Because of this she is very adept at spotting sadness in people, and will go out of her way to cheer people up who she considers need it. She will offer a smile, a laugh or a half eaten biscuit to those in need. Seeing the reaction she gets I would urge you to never underestimate the power of kindness.

Love your body.
Pearl's body is a tricky and mysterious thing. Sometimes legs unexpectedly give way, tap, shake and hurt. This in no way prevents her from using it as best she can. She adores food and punishing herself by refusing cake would not begin to occur to her. In fact if there was a mantra to live by Pearl's would likely be, Be Kind. Eat Cake. There are far worse ways to live your life.

Be courageous.
Standing behind Pearl watching her walk is a marvel. Her centre of gravity is all wrong, her gait defies convention, and her feet strike the ground in odd places and at different levels.This may put many people off considering walking on a wall, trying steps, or Parkour on the sofas, but this is not the Pearlfulness TM way. It may be wise, but sometimes being sensible can seriously cramp your style. Give it a go, push yourself, try something tricky and new. A can do attitude could take you into a whole new area of interest.

Be determined.
Pearl's school runs on Conductive Education principles. Movements are repeated, over and over again, and reinforced by song. I have seen the look on the children's faces as they carry out "task series". The other place I have seen this expression is the faces of Olympic Athletes, and Wimbledon Champions. If you want to achieve something you need determination, mental strength and repetitive practice.

Sing everything.
Conductive Education has a 'hello' song, a 'potty' song, greetings songs and standing songs. Not only is this immeasurably cheering, it will lead you to believe you too have the glamour and panache of the late, great, Debbie Reynolds. As a side effect it seriously embarrasses any teenagers you are related to if continued in public. This is always a bonus.

Disclaimer .
Like any regime, if overdone this has drawbacks. Biting people who irritate you is never recommended and the legal liability of such actions remains yours, and not the responsibility of Pearlfulness TM. Approaching attractive strangers and stroking their legs, may increase your vulnerability to exploitation and seriously embarrass your companion. You have been warned.

Enjoy life as much as you can, at whatever level you can, whenever you can. Life is not only there to be lived and grasped by the pert, privileged, perfect, young or famous, it is for all of us, and it is short.

Pearl has lost many peers in her young life and none of us know how long we have.
The Pearlfulness TM message to you in the face of political upheaval, emotional uncertainty and physical difficulty is that you, yes, YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made, a little bit fabulous and definitely worth it.

If all else fails Be Kind. Eat Cake.

*have I really trademarked this? Oh come on-what do you think?

A version of this post originally appeared on www.thewrongkindofsnow.blog.

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