My bright orange Subaru CrossTrek—named Clementine—wound up the mountain above Santa Fe six weeks ago. My husband and I were headed to a hike through the aspens—a luxury we stumbled into as our girls had a week away from home. We volleyed words back and forth as the car hugged the mountainside, watching the high desert scrub transform into towering pines. I’d just gotten an email with the first round of potential new logos from the wonderful Beth Wormald Gonzalez at Early Bird Designs. The words weren’t quite right yet, so we were hunting them. What could capture the essence of my work in neurodiversity and on the contemplative path?
We fell silent as we laced our boots and struck out through the forest. Shade and scent embraced us. We sipped water half way up under another hiker’s prayer flags in an open meadow covered in white blossoms. Just after we reached the summer-stilled ski lift that was our turn around, the thunder began to sound. We let gravity pull us along the path we’d just struggled to ascend. The sky opened up and rain crashed down; slim aspens surrounded us but we spotted a lone evergreen and huddled together, clutching its trunk hoping to stay a bit dry. And not get struck by lightning! After a run through the meadow in the rain, we stepped gingerly down the path that had become a muddy stream, ducking at least once more under the protection of an evergreen. Back in the Subaru, we cranked the heat and vowed to learn about flash storms on the mountain before our next hike.
We spent a few days more tossing words around and inviting friends into the process then landed on three:
explore connect transform
Three keys that unlocked ideas that had held our family captive as we tried harder and harder to fix our kids and ourselves and make our family “normal.” We lived in deep pain, despair and brokenness. But when we began to get curious, to explore what drove our kids’ challenging behaviors and our reactions a pivot happened. Curiosity loosened the judgement and allowed possibilities to emerge. It bred compassion and connection—the next key. We began to choose maintaining connection with our children over being right or doling out endless consequences that had no impact. (The definition of insanity, yes? Doing the same thing expecting a different result.) Over years of learning and support on our path to understanding neurodivergence, we each transformed.
My transformation included getting curious about my own values, my triggers, what mattered most to me and how I could develop resilience on this often brutally challenging journey. I explored through spiritual direction, meditation, art, therapy—connecting with something larger than myself. I even wriggled into a navy blue swim suit and walked through chlorine fumes to dive into the cold water at our aquatic center. I kicked and pulled, grunted and groaned down and back across the olympic-sized pool. Each stroke healed a bit of my own trauma. I created resiliency, drew up compassion and creativity for myself and my girls.
This is my work. To guide others through the forest of neurodiversity in all its beauty and challenge. I’ve walked the trails and know it well. I know a bit about finding footing and how to look for the right tree to tuck under when thunder roars. Want to come explore, connect, and transform?