Descending down the long-tall escalator at one of our local cinemas the other night, my friend and I glided by the guragantuan movie posters. We chuckled at the silly characters, such as the one-eyed, green monster wearing braces who was so ugly he was cute. Passing by each, I remarked, "I'll take Grace to see that this summer!" "Yeah, let's do!" my friend exclaimed, excitedly. Reaching the bottom floor, we walked down the corridor toward our theater and it hit me: I'd been dreading this summer.
On one level I knew the dread was there. I'd spit at it in moments of lament about falling off the cliffs of autism services into a black hole of adulthood. And in other ways, it was if I'd unknowingly experienced a home invasion that left toxins that poisoned my entire being….
Negative thoughts are like that, you know. Science shows what we think can become toxic chemicals that destroy not just our attitudes but the very bodies in which we move about on this plane. And, I'd been guilty of that thinking about this summer. And last. And the one before that and the one before that when I first smacked into the wall that I'd been warned about when my daughter was diagnosed at age three. The one that would be there as she sped toward adulthood.
Back to the movies. Thinking about those, the laughter, the silliness, the togetherness it would bring…that brought joy. And, it was accepting What Is. And, the Is-ness of it all. Truth is there's a lot of things we can do. They cost money. They cost more of my time and energy. The energy of a body that's older and a self that yearns to write and create more on her own. And, yeah, I'm not real wild about that, but it Is. And accepting the Is-ness of this new-to-us reality, I siphon the toxin. It also gives me breathing room and the knowing that I must do something about this Is-ness.
This summer, if all goes to plan, I'll spend another portion of another vacation exploring what's working in neighboring North Carolina in the arena of art, entrepreneurship and social enterprise for adults with disAbilities. Specifically, I'm exploring creating an integrated creative arts co-op that offers the options of maybe a fine art studio, quality crafts and a bakery. Not an adult day care. Not a segregated workshop. But, a meaningful work-experience-environment where art by adults with disAbilities can be created alongside typically developing artists who share studio and gallery space. For those who are interested in joining but aren't artistically inclined, there's always packaging, marketing, delivery, etc. This is not an original idea, it just hasn't been done locally, exactly, that I know of, at least. These are trends happening in the field of disAbility nationwide. I'll need a lot of help. Some art-appreciating parent types are with me. Some artists in the greater community are with me. Yet, right brainers need the partnership of left brain cells that can write grants and start up non-profits. I'm a pretty balanced right and left brainer but I know that my energy sizzles to crisply burnt toast rapidly with these types of left-brain intricacies. (Hint-hint.) Just like raising our special children, it takes a village, each bringing their own set of gifts to the project/person.
So, back to Is-ness and What Is. It starts with my attitude. An acceptance of even the things that I might not like. ("Rocks are hard and water is wet.") It's a zen sorta surrender. And in surrender, I release the struggle. And in releasing the struggle comes peace. And, in peace is a very fertile ground for Joy. And to enjoy. Enjoyment of even the Is-ness.
Is there an Is-ness is your life with which you've struggled, be it disAbility or otherwise in this big One we call Life?
Pictured above: GraceArt, Untitled [Heart] by Grace Walker Goad, for sale and currently on view in a all-new 2013 senior artwork solo show, sponsored by VSA Tennessee in the Polk Theater Lobby TPAC, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.