I shared a post on Living Whole about my so-called challenges with executive function the other day; this being a well-known weak spot in the Asperger’s profile. The conclusion I reached, however, suggested that this isn’t so much a case of lacking executive abilities but of possessing them to excess, to the point of feeling utterly overwhelmed by them. The result of writing about this, in a week when “casting our vote” is such a hot topic here in the UK, drew my attention to how we are all, to varying extents, like that, regardless of whether we are neurodiverse or not. Contrary to popular viewpoints, we mostly underplay our hand because we are so afraid of all the influence we wield in the world.
We live in a world that pivots around the all important “executive task load”. From the moment we are born, we are expected to (quickly, against highly pressurised milestones) learn how to execute task after task, many of them at the same time, whilst also keeping in mind all of our previous tasks for that all-important comparison and also planning ahead for all those we have yet to make.
When you have Asperger’s (or, at least, in the case of this Aspie) the way you are wired to think way outside the box can mean you arrive in this world fully cognisant of having countless multiple choices at your disposal, all filled with multi layers of potential, as well as being almost oppressively aware of your own powers of creatorship. In other words, you realise that its not only the things that you do but what you think about and say, even where you focus your attention and the most subtle influences that you expose yourself to (more so when you are as sensorarily aware as many Aspies are), that conspire to alter the manifest form of the world around you. It’s enough to turn you into a control freak if that world seems particularly chaotic, since you then have to work all the harder to keep your inner domain pristine enough to manifest your choices. In other words, we all manifest the kind of world that reflects back at us all of the things that we preoccupy and surround ourselves with…both inside and out; a truth that is playful in the abstract but horribly daunting in 3D.
Whilst acquiring such awareness is the food of many a spiritual teaching forum, it was as though I arrived knowing this since it was so obvious to my highly-keyed senses. In fact, I don’t think there was ever a time that I questioned it and, once I realised that the neurotypical way is to wholeheartedly question such a reality and to assume that all useful action lies in the three-dimensional, physical domain, it turned into one of those utter bewilderment points that conspired to make me feel separate and alien in this world from then onwards. Once I went to school (for all we said prayer and sang to an abstraction in assembly…) I was clearly expected to focus all my efforts upon learning how to pull and push knobs and leavers to “make things happen”, whilst no importance whatsoever seemed to be put upon the inner stuff or those subtle powers of influence that held my attention. Already, I was finding my vibration “crashed” by daily exposure to contradictory and chaotic behaviours plus noise levels that interfered with my inner stability. It took all my quiet time and personal pursuits at home to restabilise ready for the weekly onslaught of school and, to start with, this threw me off my footing for several years. In the end, as I approached my teenage years, I realised that, in order to assimilate, I must set out to diligently learn all the ways of executive function “out there” in the world, even making it my specialism so that I could survive there. This is what I did, for the remainder of my school days and for about 15 adult years in various “careers”…until I crashed from all the effort and frustration of it. Reading about mature women with Asperger’s, this life path (which involves the adoption of an assimilation plan, to hide and survive) is very typical and one of the most pronounced differences between them and the, often much more easily and earlier diagnosed, Aspie men whose challenges with “the way the world is” tend to flag up much sooner.
I share this, not to “go on” about Asperger’s again but, to highlight a “truth” that some of us are born knowing about, whilst others seem to wake up to it on some sort of mindfulness path…and many simply don’t, or won’t, let it in. We are more influential than we know, and in far more diverse ways that this world-wide obsession with executive functioning would imply. An alarming number of people seem not to want to know just how much they hold sway in the world, preferring to hide-out in a grey cloud of ineffectualness and pessimism. To paraphrase the well-known quote from Marianne Williamson, we say we are afraid of so many things and yet it is our own power that we are most afraid of and when we get over that, the effect is contagious:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
The thing is, as I just said, every thought and focus we have is, in a sense, a vote. We vote with our discernment We vote with our feet when we don’t go somewhere, either as an action or as a preoccupation; and we manifest our daily light quota according to how wide open we leave our interior “windows” for those certain frequencies designed to uplift. Why do you think it is that some people seem to be having a completely different, far more radiant, life experience though they live next door, and have near enough the same material circumstances, as someone else that is in some really dark place? These things seemed so obvious to me as a child but even I had to relearn them after my breakdown.
Voting is important; I couldn’t agree more (as most, though I would like to say all, of the UK turns out in the rain to put their slip of paper in the ballot box today). I have never wanted people to get off their backsides and actually vote for the kind of world they say they envision for themselves and their children more than I want them to do so today. I’ve also found myself astonished at just how many pieces of paper through my letterbox it seems to take to get people to carry out such a simple and life-altering executive task and yet that seems to be what it is presumed to take, based upon all the efforts to coerce and sway the actions of last minute dithers that were being masterminded by my party of choice late last night. If, without all this, people can’t be bothered to do their homework and get out of bed to vote for a better world today then I despair of their ability to do the more subtle work it takes to manifest a beautiful planet.
Yet despair is one of those things my mindfulness steers me away from; since I know that is also a vote. I was dismayed to hear my daughter talk of how she and her friends have decided to adopt abject pessimism this week to “soften the blow” of the election outcome and, yes, commiseration parties have already been planned! In spite of all I have tried to instil in her, this is the common way…to presume worst case scenario; to actively summon that pessimistic channel up on the TV screens of their minds, in order to give themselves something to talk about with their peers (misery loves company) and prevent disappointment if the most pessimistic of information sources turns out to be right.
Of course they will keep on being right if people continue to surrender their powers, in advance, like this; pessimism has power too! It takes more than the action of voting; you’ve got to believe in that vote. Appreciate that vote; wield it like the super-power that it is (when we back it up with our belief). The ability to vote is something we’ve fought for many times; not just in the obvious sense, as when women and minority groups went after this, but when base liberties such as free expression and free thought have had to be clawed back from the vice-like grip of those who would make puppets of us. Knowing what I do about how what we feel, what (and how) we express, what we think and what we believe at our core are also such powerful forms of voting, these breakthroughs were significant victories on the road to manifesting a better world. Have you ever stood in the presence of somebody who utterly, passionately, believes whatever it is they are here to say, however unfeasible it may sound in the world “as it is”? It’s contagious, isn’t it? Makes your hair stand up in end, like an electric current, and all the more so when it comes from a higher-vibrational place. This is what we all have at our disposal; to positively alter our own lives and ripple that change out to others.
If you are reading this, you probably have free expression and free thought at your disposal, so use it well. Yes, vote with your feet and with your pencil in the ballot box but also with your mindset. Guard your domain from interlopers such as the kind of news that would undermine your own inner campaign. Treat those who would spray negativity and regurgitated news into your space like those who expect you to passively smoke their cigarette; ask them to stop it or move away. I told my husband, so many times, that I didn’t want his summary of the news headlines each day that he no longer bothers delivering it to me, except for the occasional lapse (which seldom goes well). If it’s important news, I will “hear” it by one of my more reliable sources but I won’t have all that spin in my inner domain, knowing as I do that that’s where all the real work gets done. I never stop believing that we are witnessing the dawn of a new golden world, whatever bumps and “setbacks” there might seem to be.
Running both train tracks is my way in the world; never underestimating the importance of either inner or outer action and focus, yet seeing how they slot together, the one more subtle version powerfully influencing the other, for all it “seems” dominant. There’s no point putting an “x” in the box of an outcome that I pessimistically assume to have no chance; what on earth is the point of that? And don’t just vote and think “there, that’s done…out of my hands”; put energy into it, before, during and afterwards. Use your subtle influences as discerningly as you put all your consideration into who to vote for.
On the upside, this wave of sheer dauntedness I detect around exercising our subtle influences suggests, to me, that we are waking up to them more and more and, like any conscious being that realises it affects more than it knew, a kind-of temporary paralysis can set in. The thing is, we are not alone in this wake-up call and our only task here, as an individual, is to tune into what feels right to us…that’s all it takes to add our influence; we don’t have to take responsibility for the whole of the world. All things are possible, that much is already the case (as recent history has shown with some of its curve calls) and we will manifest a better world all the quicker once even more people realise this to be the case.