One of the gifts my son Myles has given me is watching someone living a life of unadulterated transparency and authenticity. I say un”adult”erated because I think we all are born with this pure sense of self however as we experience life and become adults we develop certain defense mechanisms. I am sure at one point these were necessary to protect ourselves from real or imagined threats, but the down side is our authenticity slowly fades. Myles has managed to maintain this untainted approach to life.
We are told he has poor social skills, you see he does not filter his thoughts based on social mores, this is common with people diagnosed with Aspergers. If you have bad breath, flatulence or if you behave badly he will say something. He does not necessarily form an opinion of your worth as a human being he will simply state, what is, at that particular moment. At first I was terribly embarrassed when he would point out such things to someone, again I have been “adultified”, so I have been programmed to feel such honesty is not proper. The irony of this is that over the past two years I have been working with a life coach and basically to summarize what I have learned is that I need to live more authentically or transparently. So my epiphany was that I needed to be more like Myles. Am I going to tell you about your bad breath, it depends on the situation but probably not, but I will tell you my honest feelings about something we are discussing.
So I view Myles’ approach to life in a very different light now. As my dad was being cared for by hospice Myles’ honest and direct dialogue about what was happening to grandpa was very comforting. I think he asked questions that some of the adults were afraid to ask or openly discuss. It also gave my dad the opportunity to pass from this world in a very authentic way, what a gift. In our family we refer to Myles as our canary in the mine, referring to the practice years ago when coal miners would take caged canaries in the mine because they would succumb to dangerous gases before it would harm the miners. Now before you freak out we are not subjecting my baby to noxious gases, or any other danger, that we are aware of anyhow, but by that I mean Myles lives so authentically and transparently he detects negative energy in our family before the rest of us are even aware of it. So we know we have issues when Myles is affected.
After my experiences I no longer view what society would label as disabilities or handicaps, as such, I think those labeled as handicapped in many cases are advanced and those of us that have to consciously work at transparency are handicapped. I now aspire to live more like Myles and actually consider myself his student, he has so much to teach me, I believe it is his dharma or purpose in life.
I actually find myself drawn to authentic people now, whereas in the past when I was less transparent myself, these people either threatened me or seemed odd to me and I would judge them harshly. I have noticed certain people are extremely uncomfortable with my more transparent friends. I absolutely love them. When I see people judging authentic people harshly I have a lot of compassion for them, I used to walk in their shoes, but I also have sadness for them, they are stunting their own authenticity. If you think about it would you choose to hang around the “cool” people who only say nice things to you? We aren’t perfect, so if the people around you only say nice or neutral things, are they being honest or truthful. If you surround yourself with people who don’t challenge you or call you on your stuff what does that do for you, it keeps you right where you are, no growth, no depth. That sounds bland and depressing to me. I like spice in my life.
Having Myles in my life I am so used to being called on almost everything that the shock factor is gone, again what a blessing. I feel great sadness when I see parents who cannot be honest with their kids they fear authenticity with their own kids, I have also seen kids who cannot be honest with their parents, not about staying out late, or homework or superficial things, I mean about their feelings, giving honest feedback, and transparent dialogue. Wow what a lost opportunity. Start transparency at home, where you feel safe, then branch out from there with your close friends. I will send Myles over to talk to you. I am telling you eventually it feels so good you can’t imagine living any other way.
So many people turn to mind altering drugs, alcohol or other forms of escapism to dull the pain they feel, just to exist in this world. I believe the pain is not from what life is doing to them, they are in pain because they no longer feel comfortable to be who they are, to be their authentic self in this life. In other words their authentic self is buried so deep by defense mechanisms, social mores, ego, prejudice or peer pressure, that they no longer know, or feel safe to be, who they really are. So the next time someone tells you have bad breath or that joke wasn’t very funny; smile, be thankful and know that is exactly what they think, nothing more, they have no hidden agenda, they are just being authentic. They are simply having an honest experience with you.
Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where we can all be transparent and authentic, we can express our “terrible truths” without fear of reprisal or retribution. There would be no more halitosis, there would be no more walking around for hours with spinach in our teeth, fruit cake would no longer exist, think of the possibilities. Thank you Myles and yes you are correct that fat man over there farted.