However heavy heart and mind can feel, the relief of chancing upon someone with a bright outlook can raise our levels of everything necessary to feel just that little bit better. It doesn’t need to be an actual person, either. For me, a connection with nature can be comforting during tough times, from the ‘white noise’ of the breeze in the trees to the effects of grounding or ‘Earthing’ as titled by Clinton Ober, Stephen Sinatra and Martin Zucker in their book of the same title, in our exchanges and rebalancing of our energies.
Add to that the presence of antidepressant microorganisms in the soil absorbed through our skin and breathed in as we work – as recognised by Dr Mary O’Brien (Study: Soil Organisms and Performed Behaviour) and our reconnection with nature, fresh air, vitamin D and exercise can have a great impact on our wellbeing.
In each of our gardens there is space to sit alone and breathe in nature, just to rebalance. I call it my reset button – and it works. We have enough space to relax, to observe, become interested in the world (again) and begin making plans and this is a very positive outcome. Crucially, we know who is coming and when so we can plan for our interactions, should that be important to us. These small considerations help to make it all work, so when we do get together for company, it’s manageable to all present and we learn a great deal from each other.
At the end of February I attended a training week in Hungary for people involved in community projects and hearing the stories and challenges of the other participants was really helpful to me in a practical sense but being surrounded by people who really just want to help out other humans was truly inspiring. The power of the energy exchanged between these people was immense and thankfully it was positive but that can go either way and we need to ensure that we maintain the balance of what is needed within the group, which seems to work out on the whole.
The thing is, we only ever have less time so why waste it on anything other than helping each other and ourselves within our small community, applying our pooled knowledge about the culture of autism? It’s a waste of our time not to. We’ve been challenged on each of our very few rules but they’re just about maintaining due consideration for other members, so if that’s an issue there are thankfully many other groups to join instead. We do what we do and it meets a need without fuss. As time goes on we feel, in many ways, that we’re making the right connections.