Thinking about a word that could accurately describe the past few weeks, I continue to circulate back to “muddy”. I feel as if everyone who enters the therapy room are trying to navigate slippery slopes and quicksand-like mucky spots within their lives without the satisfaction of good galoshes. The world is muddled by high tensions, tickled from approaching significant historical transitions of power smudged by intimidating threats. The one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic looms in the murky background, a heaviness no one is able to fully overlook.
In the realm of Autism, the tension that poisons the air is creating a very uncomfortable, dread-like sensation. One some of my client’s awake to and restlessly drift asleep into. I think we can all resonate with the inescapable muddy feelings that taint the spaces we presently exist in.
What can we do with all of this metaphorical mud that sticks to our souls like glue?
I find myself looking for the glimmers. The sparkles that exist in spots if I pause long enough to squint. If anyone knows me, pausing is not my strong suit. I’m a full-steam ahead kind of gal, ploughing ahead toward the next adventure, the next tantalizing goal or destination.
Perhaps that’s the mud we are getting stuck in. Going full-steam ahead toward anything right now is a mentality that will face a slew of obstacles, largely out of our control. This pursuit of hustle has a high chance of dishing out enough burnout to trap even the most zealous of humans in soul-sucking muck. This enveloping muddy mess that’s a product of the largely uncontrollable factors that surrounds us begs for a thoughtful reframe.
Slow down, breathe deeply, and look for the moments that glimmer.
They may be brief or faint. They mostly go unnoticed due to how untrained we’ve become at paying attention to them. Nevertheless, these sparks have yet to be engulfed by the murkiness of the world’s dishevelment. Nor do I think they have the capability of disappearing entirely.
Everyone has their own nuances of glimmers, and they are related largely to ways we all find our happy. Glimmers can mimic a subtle smile from a child who was committed to their grumpiness a few moments before. The gratification of a crispy apple or a wonderfully ripened avocado that serves as the “just right” addition to your Wednesday lunch. Perhaps these shimmers could be the first step outside and the warmth that washes over you as the sunshine embraces you in its hug. These sparks could be the goofy grin your dog shows off as they convince you they need a bite of your meal.
I’m thankful for the glimmers that fill this tired therapist’s soul. I grasp onto them tightly, mindfully noting their existence so I can melt into the memories of them on especially murky days. Closing my eyes and sinking into these memories now, I feel the corners of my mouth uptick. My mind takes me to the color that fill a client’s cheeks from relief as they take their first deep breath in days. The widening of one’s eyes as they recognize the sensation of sitting in a space with another whom sees them in their entirety. The heart-felt giggle from a youngster who finally beat Ms. Kat in Candyland. The warmth and vitality from a hot chocolate that was so kindly gifted from a sincere clinical director on a random Tuesday when my feet were especially dragging. The three squeezes from the hand of my husband, his gentle reminder of his steady love.
This is your friendly reminder that your glimmers are there within the mud that colors our perspectives and experiences. I encourage you to be mindful of these sparks, and when they happen, hold onto them tightly. For these shimmers are our galoshes that will carry us through this especially muddy time.