Can you imagine, feeling everything so intensely, lights are brighter, noises are louder and more distinct, sensations and touch are more intense? For someone with autism, all of this in everyday life is overwhelming. Then there’s the confusion of conversations and facial expressions, combined with the distractions of all of those sights, sounds, and sensations. And for some it can be difficult to perceive the proximity of people moving quickly around them and may feel uneasy or even threatened in their own space. It’s something the rest of us will never fully comprehend. But then you get onto a surfboard, your buddy paddles out with you. You feel the ocean roll beneath you. The sounds, the conversations, the fast moving people, the intensity of everything around you gets further and further away until you can’t hear, feel or see it anymore. All there is, is the ocean. The intense but beautiful smooth rolling of the water under your board. Then you see the set coming in, you paddle. With all those distractions that blind you during every other activity, you can feel the water running between your fingers, the cool air and water on your skin, the weight of the ocean pulling your board as you try to catch the powerful wave. Then you do! And you ride! You feel the swoosh through the bottom of your stomach. What a rush for anyone! But can you imagine it in their eyes?! I don’t think we can. But we can see it in the wondrously happy faces!
And it’s not just for the children! I read some of Dr. Wayne Dyer and on these special days I experience some of what he has talked about many times. The goodness, kindness, and giving nature of one good soul has the ability to cancel out the negativity of many ill-wishers exponentially. For example, with our good deeds, good will and kindness, we may be able to cancel out the negativity of say ten bad people. Ghandi’s goodness could cancel hundreds of thousands, and the Dalai Lama’s goodness cancels out perhaps millions of negative thinkers. And each time I get so moved, and so touched, by the selflessness of the surfers and the volunteers, the joy of the parents and onlookers, the loud cheers from the beach as kids catch a wave, the courage and pure excitement in the children’s faces, and the positivity and acceptance of an entire crowd gathered for one day on the beach. I truly feel this at these events and it’s still living with me. The kindness, the giving, the selflessness, the smiles shared, the “Right-On’s” and the hundreds of “Way go Go, Little Dude’s” give so much to so many of us that attend. I feel it undoing the negativity, the criticism, the mean words that are thrown around sometimes, the worry and the anticipation of what lies ahead for us living with autism. Just as those thoughts can suck the air out of your sails, the generosity of spirit of everyone involved with Surfers Healing is like a massive windstorm of good spirit and happiness giving us so much lift to carry on with.
Yesterday, was one of our “days.” It just was not working for us. Typical or with autism, we all have those “days.” So I sat and consoled my little Dude on the edge of the beach, no pictures yesterday. And in between feeling “not so awesome,” we cheered on our friends and surfers, all having the ride of their lives! So instead, check out these shots from the event in Malibu on June 5th. It’s a sight to see, no matter when it was! Way to go, young Grom’s!