What Patterns Keep You Awake At Night?


My 11-year-old son Ian doesn’t speak and with my husband and younger son out for the evening, a quiet peaceful state spread through the house. I settled in to read a book I’ve wanted to read for oh, about a year! The fireplace radiated delicious warmth on a freezing cold December night.

Ian sat down on the couch next to me and his sweet little hand pushed my book away several times until I put it down and gave him my full attention.

“What do you want Love?” I asked.

He looked at me and said (not with actual words) "Thanks, that's all I want, for you to be here with me." 

We sat together for a few minutes. My hand rested on his chest over his heart and he gazed at me with his big green eyes, open and present saying, “There you are, I see you.”

He relaxed and sank lower into the couch with his head resting on one of end and I started to feel sleepy. I decided to lay down too with my head on the opposite side facing him. He’s now over five feet tall and it’s not a huge couch so it took a few minutes with our legs stretched out to find a comfortable position. Once comfortable we dropped into a deep, peaceful state.

I listened and became more aware of all my senses. His breathing slowed down. I observed his angelic face, with his almond shaped eyes closed, resting peacefully; his little turned up nose that he uses to express his affection by touching his nose to yours. I heard high-pitched hum in my ears (that wasn't the refrigerator) and noticed where my body ended and his began.

Then at some point I lost the sensation of my body, the couch, his legs and it felt as if everything melted and dissolved. It was a sensation of oneness and several times I felt an electrical buzzing sensation that’s hard to describe. It felt like a surge of energy and when the sensation would pass, Ian would take a big breath and let out a sigh then return to slow, rhythmic breathing. The stillness expanded out everywhere. Nowhere else existed in that moment of peace.

I had no idea how much time passed in this deep meditative state when Ian shifted into an awake state and sat up, then stood up and I felt he wanted something. He looked at me and in my head I heard, “I need to use the toilet.”

I walked with him and helped him sit down and for the first time, when he began to pee he looked down at the water as if to make the connection that his body was making that sound in the water. He stopped and looked at me. Then started again and looked down to check it out again. I’d never seen him look down to see what was happening.

For the past year, I have asked Ian to show me the way he experiences the world around him. For many years, I’ve also been inviting him to join me in this world of physical density, people and movement and have promised to support his journey to feel comfortable and safe in his body.

When I chose to put my book down and connect with the present moment, he was right there with me ready to show me his experience. It felt like connecting with Ian in his world (the unseen) created a connection for him in this world (the seen) and we were creating new energetic patterns of connection together. Wise teacher, he is. My little Yoda.

What is an energetic pattern?

Energetic patterns form the foundation of our relationships with the world. We live and express ourselves in patterns. You will find patterns in your thought, feelings, beliefs, behaviors and actions. A pattern is the energetic expression that informs the way you show up and communicate with the world around you on a non-verbal level.

From the moment you entered this world, you are conditioned through what you repeatedly observe and experience. As you experience different events and conditions in your life, you make choices and take action based on your perceptions and interpretations and what you make an event or circumstance mean.

Why might this be interesting?

When you’re suffering and hurting, of course make appropriate efforts to improve the situation and consider this may be a sign you’re cycling in a pattern. A common response when in pain is to point fingers at the external world to find someone or something else to blame, which creates issues in relationships and makes it hard to identify the pattern and take action.

You may spend many cycles in a pattern before you notice and it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. You likely haven’t discovered the pattern yet. Without labels of good or bad, right or wrong, fixed or broken, perfect or not, there is no judgment, only observation, exploration, connection, honesty, integration and peace.

What I’ve learned about patterns is they will hang out playing their role waiting for you to notice them. And once you identify a pattern that creates disharmony and discomfort, the nice thing is if you choose to, you have the ability to actively create new patterns.

Example of one of my old patterns

The condition: Ian does not use verbal language. Thought pattern, what I made it mean: We didn’t have a meaningful way to communicate because my patterning included a heavy emphasis on verbal language for communication. Emotional pattern, my feeling state: sad, frustrated, confused Behavior pattern:  Exhaustive, focused search for answers and solutions to fix him. Not being present with him and missing what was right in front of me; my beautiful son wanting to connect and communicate.

Then in 2009, I began working with horses and explored the world of non-verbal communication. I learned that only 10% of what we communicate is through verbal language with the other 90%, non-verbal.I focused so much attention on him talking that I missed the other channels he used all the time. Not anymore.

What I’ve discovered is he’s always communicating and when I tune in to listen with all of my senses, I “hear” what he’s expressing. Would it be great if one day he started talking? You bet! I would celebrate in a big way. And if he never speaks, I’m grateful for the expanded awareness of what’s available for all of us.

New thought pattern: There are so many ways to explore with communication and listening beyond words. New emotional pattern: Curious, playful, joyful New behavior pattern: Relaxed, slower pace, present, engaged, kinder and patient with myself.

A way to create a new pattern

  • Set the intention to be a pattern explorer.
  • Get curious. Life is a big, giant relationship and once you start exploring you will discover patterns everywhere.
  • Identify any pattern that creates discomfort or where you feel stuck.
  • Explore the origin of the pattern. See if you can identify a thought pattern.
  • Use The Work on the thought and if you don't find the thought, move to emotion.
  • Observe and be with whatever emotion comes up without trying to stop it, change it or fix it.
  • Allow the emotion to move through you. Imagine the sensation moving through your body and out valves at your fingertips and toes.
  • Explore what new pattern wants to be created and integrated. Ask yourself “What do I want.”
  • Define a practice to integrate the new pattern.

Some resources for you

Neuroscience shows that you can consciously use the mind to re-pattern the brain. Dr. Rick Hanson wrote the book “Hardwiring Happiness” that goes into great detail about this and he makes it very easy to understand. He shows how to use your mind to rewire your brain and create new neural pathways. You create new neural pathways, you feel differently, your energetic pattern shifts and you express yourself differently. Very cool material!

For the areas where you feel stuck in your thought patterns, The Work of Byron Katie is my favorite tool to get unstuck and her book, “Loving What Is” goes into great detail how to use her method.

For stuck emotional patterns, I recommend exploring "The Presence Process" by Michael Brown. It’s a 10-week process that supports emotional and energetic re-patterning. I also like Karla McLaren’s book, “Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You” as a reference guide to understanding the messages from your emotions.

If you have a child with autism, I highly recommend exploring the work of neuro-psychologist, Dr. Svetlana Masgutova. Fundamental to the MNRI (Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration) Method is the understanding that automatic primary motor reflex patterns do not disappear, they integrate. Her method focuses on re-patterning primary motor reflex patterns which serve as the foundation for motor and cognitive development.

What I share with you comes from my own personal journey exploring and integrating new patterns. At times when my journey gets challenging, I reach out and ask for support. If you're struggling and feel stuck, I encourage you reach out and ask for support. And if you're willing, please share your perspective and experience with patterns in the comments below.

With love, Your fellow pattern explorer

Shattering Beliefs and Finding Freedom

Vaccine manufacturers injured my son.  Can you relate to this thought? Do you believe this thought or something similar?  What are your thoughts about vaccine manufacturers or pharmaceutical companies? IMG_4462My son Ian, has autism and does not use verbal language to communicate.  He received vaccinations through six months of age.  I stopped because I believed vaccines caused injury to his nervous system, digestive system and immune system.  Within his first four months of life, I noticed delays in his development.  He developed reflux within the first six months and I witnessed his first seizure at eleven months.  Though I suspect they were happening before that time.  (If you’re curious to read more about Ian’s story, visit my About Ian page.)

Believing the thought “Vaccine manufacturers injured my son”, created many years of suffering in my world.  It affected the way I treated the people in my life.  I was full of anger and quick to point the finger with blame and judgment. This single belief created great tension and stress that radiated outward to everyone around me.

I questioned thoughts that created stress in my life for several years using a method developed by a woman who I consider a master teacher of our time, Byron Katie.  Katie has given our world the gift of The Work.

My first experience with The Work blew the doors off the hinges of my mind and showed me it was my thoughts that created the prison I “thought” was my life. I walked away from that experience with a new awareness and understanding that I was not the victim of my circumstances.  I went from feeling trapped, to realizing I had all the power to be free of suffering.  I’ve been using The Work ever since.  I wrote about my experience in the post, The Day I Discovered My Freedom.

IMG_4384Last December, as my husband and I drove to Katie’s New Year’s Mental Cleanse event, I filled out a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and set the intention to do some deep work.  When I stood up and read my Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet to Katie, my entire body shook and I could barely make it through to the end.  She invited me to join her and do The Work.

Belief after belief shattered into pieces.  I discovered in the process that I did not know whether vaccines injured my son.  I couldn’t absolutely know for sure.  Wow, that was an eye opener.

It turns out, the event was video taped and Katie recently released a DVD titled The Work on Autism.  It includes my experience of dissolving one painful belief after another.  This video shows a brief two-minute segment from the DVD.

I left the room that evening feeling a thousand pounds lighter and with a newfound compassion and understanding.  For me, Katie is pure love.  I’m deeply grateful for her wide open heart and that she made this experience available to share with you.

To this day, the anger and blame I felt is gone and replaced with gratitude.  If it ever returns, I now have The Work to find my way back to love.

Hopeful Parents and Potty Training

A few times a year, I write a guest post on Hopeful Parents, a blog space where parents of special needs children share their stories.  This month's post I write about birthdays, toilets and celebration!  In the Hunter home, we celebrate the basic functions in life.  ;)  Below is an excerpt.  To read the entire post, click here:  Birthdays, Toilets and Celebration.

In the past, with each passing of another year, I would suffer a little more imagining what my son, Ian's life would be like if he never got out of diapers.  How will he be treated as an adult?  Will he be treated with compassion and respect?

These were old thought patterns that created tremendous stress and emotional pain.

I began turning those patterns around three years ago through The Work of Byron Katie.  As my experience with The Work continued, I built more and more evidence that if I changed my inner mind, the external world followed.  It may sound crazy and counter intuitive but I promise you it works.  But don’t take my word for it.  I invite you to test it for yourself.

Here’s one example of a big shift that starting in my mind and now shows up in the external world.

Up until about eight months ago I didn’t know if Ian would ever be out of diapers.

Then one day, I made the decision to start believing he would be potty-trained by Christmas.

The original thought “Ian will never be potty trained” created great stress.  The new and improved thought, “Ian will be potty trained by Christmas” felt like freedom.  I couldn’t know for sure if either thought was true so why not believe the more peaceful, freeing thought?  Made sense to me.

It didn’t matter that I had no clue how it would happen.

I just trusted that it would. (to continue reading the entire article, click here.)

Thanks for stopping by.  And I'll be sure to update on the blog after the New Year with news on Ian's progress.  :)

Spring - Time for Planting New Seeds

Planting seedsDisaster struck when my first son, Ian received his diagnosis of autism.  So I thought.  That disaster seven years ago in 2004 turned into a beautiful unfolding of love, compassion, acceptance and renewal.  But when I first heard the news it felt like a fire ripped through my garden and ravaged my soil.  Life within me died.  I felt desolate, empty, broken. In 2005, I read the book, "Expecting Adam" by Martha Beck and felt a tug of hope but the soil in my garden remained dry, undernourished and neglected.  It took nearly three years for the soil to recover and reach a state of acceptance where it was ready for nutrients. Early 2008 I began to listen to Wayne Dyer CDs on my iPod during my runs.  I named these times my “mental health breaks”.  The sun began to peek through and warm the soil. Next came the seeds and much needed water! Early 2009 I attended a one-day workshop in San Jose with Martha Beck, best-selling author, monthly columnists for “O” magazine and life coach.

Half way through the day I experienced an overall body vibration, like I was sitting in a massage chair.  At one point I saw a yellow hue around Martha and thought I may possibly be hallucinating from lack of sleep or perhaps I was going temporarily insane.  None of that mattered though because the openness I felt was unmistakable.  My path lay clearly before me and it felt truer than anything I’d felt in many years.

I promptly purchased her book "Steering by Starlight", signed up to train with her as a life coach and attended a three-day workshop with horses, Martha and Koelle Simpson (another one of my great teachers.)  Time to receive the lessons.  The seeds burrowed themselves in the soil, desiring nutrients, water and sunlight.

At the three-day horse workshop, I went from feeling trapped by my son’s autism to seeing that the only place I was trapped was in my mind! I sat there in Scottsdale, Arizona while my son remained safely back at home in California.

I was free! It was my thoughts about my son’s autism that created my suffering and I was ready to let that go of those painful thoughts.  My garden began to sprout and took in exactly what it needed to produce the most delicious, fulfilling harvest imaginable. I love my garden!

So, now in 2011, here I am, exactly where I'm supposed to be; taking it all in, open to the possibilities and trusting that I will know exactly where to go when I follow my inner compass.  It's all there waiting for me to show up and lead my life.  I'm no longer stuck, my excitement is boundless.  Now I learn about tending my garden and what it takes to keep it filled with love and abundance.

I’m profoundly grateful to my son, Ian for being my greatest teacher and for leading me to this moment.  His body and brain continue to be affected by autism and he shows me every day how incredibly brave and courageous he is.  He still has many challenges and his body works hard to heal itself.  I’m in awe of what he puts up with and I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t handle it with as much grace and patience.

I’m deeply grateful for every small step forward on his healing journey.  He’s taught me to celebrate the small things. And the big things?  I imagine a day when he no longer has seizures and no longer requires diapers.  I believe those huge steps are absolutely possible because he’s shown me in so many other ways how he’s capable of healing.

Ian’s message is powerful.

He’s here to show us the importance of finding our way back to balance, to bring our earth back to balance, to make it a safe environment for him and others like him to live peacefully and safely in their bodies.

The longer we remain out of balance the louder the message will become and more children and families will suffer.  I’m hopeful that the “voices” of our pre-verbal children have become loud enough for our society to hear.  The time for finding our way back as a human race to a state of balance, love and peace has arrived. I believe it’s possible and I will never give up hope.

If you want to create a new perspective in your life I invite you to make one small change to a pattern that creates suffering and pain and see what happens.  What is one thing you can do for yourself today to plant one small seed?

With love and healing.

Click Here if you'd like to share a comment on the blog.