Observing Our Own Thoughts

Observing your own thoughts is important. Self-as-context is crucial in the process of being able to accept and commit to move towards your values. This exercise can be done with anything from clouds in the sky to leaves in a stream. It can be visualized in your mind’s eye or inspired by real things such as this amazing jellyfish exhibit I saw years ago at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Either way, I invite you to take a moment and to this activity.

The longer video that is looped is linked below if you wish to do the exercise for longer, although I encourage you to try doing it different ways.

Extended video is found here:

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An Introduction to ACT (& ACT Week)

Our verbal abilities create connections in amazing ways. Humanity is fantastic at problem solving as individuals and as groups. But this ability is a double edge sword. Because we can connect anything with anything through our verbal abilities, we can connect pain, fear, anxiety, and more with objects, situations, songs, words, thoughts, memories, and yes, even other emotions.

Acceptance that everyone feels physical and psychological pain is not exclusive to nihilism. In fact, that acceptance is an important part of being able to build resilience and compassion for yourself and others. The act of turning away from your pain pairs the things you do to escape from that pain with that pain. Avoidance creates a verbal connection between that avoiding and the pain which in turn forges suffering. It is when we turn towards the pain, accepting it and then moving toward our values that we see that the path of life, while filled with pain, is also filled with joy, meaning, love, caring, kindness, and more.

When I struggled most was when I sought to escape the pain. To hide from it. Struggles with my autism and not understanding the social interactions the I seemingly always screwed up, depression, a failing marriage, family struggles, disagreements, and crippling loneliness. All of these seemed to be the concrete shoes that pulled me deeper into the waters of despair, anxiety, and fear. It was not until I found a friend who understood and shared that the weight had been lifted.

The relationships I have built, and jettisoned, since are founded around my values. Interestingly, I have been told by close friends and family that I am happier and healthier. Whether that is true or not, the foundations of ACT were certainly in play in helping me overcome those challenges I faced then and will continue to face. The beauty of ACT is that instead of it being guesswork, I can directly identify what is happening and how I can help myself and others.

ACT is not a magic cure. It takes work, but it is work that is meaningful and worth it. I highly recommend you read a book on ACT. The ones I prefer are:

The Liberated Mind by Dr Steven C Hayes

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life by Dr Steven C Hayes

ACT Made Simple by Russ Harris

Thank you for joining me on this week of ACT.

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Greater Love Hath No Woman Than This

Sister Viktorine Zak was a nun who worked with Doctor Hans Asperger at the Vienna Hospital to help, and study, autistic children in

Her efforts lead to her deep love and care for the children she served. A love that ultimately was proven out through the ultimate sacrifice.

When the Allies were bombing Austria and Germany, the hospital were Sister Viktorine was at was hit as well. The last time she was seen alive was her throwing her body over that of one if the children she served and loved. Greater love hath no woman than this, that she lay down her life for her friends.

Sister Viktorine was a friend to the autistic neurotype long before it was understood as being a neurotype. Her love and care stands as a beacon to how we should treat each, regardless of neurotype.