All things in this world are impermanent.
They have the nature to rise and pass away.
To be in harmony with this truth brings true happiness.
— Buddhist chant

The path of yoga teaches us to accept both the good and the bad with even-mindedness. We are reminded that life is like the ocean, and we learn to surf the waves as they come — big treacherous ones, tiny smooth ones, and everything in between. Identify with the unchanging ocean, the masters tell us – not with the waves. The waves – life itself, and all that transpires with it – are temporary.

I think about this not only when life is rough, but also when things are good. Like now. Joseph has suddenly shot forward in his development. Things I’d given up on are things he is now doing. Little things that are big things, like untwisting a twist-tie on a bag and then twisting it back up. Or tying his sweatshirt around his waist by himself. Starting a zipper. Calmly maneuvering his way through crowds. Riding a bike. Making a friend. Enjoying a birthday party without panicky nervousness ahead of time. Going to the big Thanksgiving gathering and leaving me to sit and watch the game with the guys.

Early on in this autism journey I learned that, according to child development, a kid cannot jump from A to Z. So if (or shall we optimistically say when) a kiddo achieves some recovery from autism, s/he has to go back to where they left off and build from there.

playing with dollsI wonder if that’s what’s happening as I watch Joseph play with dolls. In the past dolls have figured a teeny tiny bit in his play, like a random person on a train, but the important thing has been the train rather than the person. Now the play centers around dolls and dialog. Oh, they do some interesting things, like go for rides in shoes, but the most important thing is the interactive relationship between the people. With dolls and many other things, Joseph is playing in ways he’s never played before. And trains — the years-long obsession — are way in the background.

All of this is amazing progress. A few important things happened almost at once, and I think they helped to bring the surge about. For one, the family whose two kids stayed in our guest house for a couple of months and played with Joseph a lot. For another, a 23 yo nephew who came to stay for the last three months and took on the big brother role, like getting Joseph on skis for the first time. The social skills group Joseph is in. And his own maturing process.

Now the family is in their own home and our nephew leaves today. The social group continues and I hope and pray that Joseph’s developmental surge does, as well. But will it, without the people stimulation he’s been surrounded with lately? Sigh. The yogi part of me knows that everything is always changing, rising and falling like the waves.

So I breathe in gratitude for what is now. And I breathe out the attachment, the wanting to hold it this way. It is so not in my hands, and trying to make it mine is a sure way to make myself miserable.

After all, the God who brought all these ingredients together at the right time is the same God who is now removing some of them. If I trust in the one, it behooves me to trust in the other.

Here I am again: face to face with trust, and with the lack thereof. I know better (sometimes) than to trust my thoughts — haven’t they let me down over and over again? Even people, as lovable as they are, are subject to whims and wiles and unpredictability. So what, or who, can we trust?

In yoga we have the concept of sankalpa, which means will, purpose, or determination. It’s a way of harnessing a positive purpose, kind of like a New Year’s resolution. My sankalpa right now is that I trust the process to mold Joseph, and me, exactly as we need to be molded. I trust that God’s hand is firmly in it, and I trust God’s timing.

Then I remember. It is worth saying it twice in one little post:

All things in this world are impermanent.
They have the nature to rise and pass away.
To be in harmony with this truth brings true happiness.
— Buddhist chant

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