Happy Navratri: To All the Wonderful Fathers of Children With Special Needs
‘ Well done! You stayed in this asana for 3 minutes,’ declared Leena ji (my yoga teacher). I had lost track of time and was immersed in thoughts of an article. It was the first day of Navratri (Festival of the Mother Goddess) and an idea for a blog post for mothers with children with special needs literally downloaded in my mind.
NAVRATRI flashed before my eyes. An acronym crystallized in my mind in those 3 minutes.
N- never bemoan your fate A- appreciate your life V- be vibrant R- be respectful A-accept yourself fully T- transform your outer reality R- be resilient I- infinite possibilities will open up
I was thrilled I had held the asana for 3 minutes, for the first time ever. After my yoga class, I quickly went and penned the outline of the article. What an auspicious time to dedicate it to mothers of children with special needs.
I was certain I would be able to churn out the article in an hour. But when I actually sat down to write it, the words just would not flow. A stressful situation sat like a heavy, grey cloud on top of my head. I felt overwhelmed.
I looked at the acronym again. Each sentence came alive as it dawned on me.
Never bemoan your fate. You are exactly where you’re meant to be. It may be difficult, but you’ll connect the dots later.
Appreciate your life. Count your blessings. Even if you’re stressed at present, the situation will change. Find a reason to be grateful and focus on it.
Be Vibrant. It’s alright to feel low for a while. But don’t stay there too long. Keep moving. Get busy in an activity.
Be Respectful. To yourself and others around you. It’s important to stand up for yourself. If you don’t, who will?
Accept yourself fully. You are special. Recognize yourself for who you are. Embrace yourself- all of you. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Transform your outer reality. You may look at what you’re going through as a dead end. But it may just be the resistance needed for you to take off. Just like an airplane that can only take off against resistance. Transform the way you look at things.
Be Resilient. Stay. The most important thing to do is to face the situation and stay there. Don’t run from it. Stay there, then walk towards it and tackle it.
Infinite possibilities will open up. The sky is the limit. Every moment contains infinite possibilities.
The acronym for NAVRATRI gave me solace. I could apply it to the painful situation I was experiencing. It’s strange how the words you write for others come alive to guide you on your own path too.
I continued to think deeply about this. I realized this acronym could help all mothers, not just mothers of children with special needs. Wait a minute! Why just mothers- why not women of all ages? Deeper still- why the gender limitation? This could help men too.
Just then, I opened up my email to check the thought for the day.
Beloved, it matters not that you are a man or a woman- the Goddess resides within all. Know yourself. Integrate Mind Body Spirit. Experience life as a spiritual experience and not as a series of chores, duties and responsibilities. Expand to your infinite capacity. Be and do anything that you set your heart- mind- soul to.
-Ellaeenah, Jade Fire
Being a mother of a young man with autism, it’s easy for me to identify with other mothers with children/adults with autism and other special needs.
For once, I’d like to dedicate this article to all the wonderful dads I work with. And to every father who supports his child with special needs.
You work tirelessly behind the scenes. I watch the wonderful work you do with your child. I see your humility and dedication as you interact with him/her. I observe the pain in your eyes and the deep concern in your body language. You worry about your child’s future and put in every effort to secure his/her. future.
Your child has taken you deeper and has shown you a different perspective of life. Trust me, it will be fine. Your efforts will fructify. Thank you for everything you do- silently.
Happy Navratri, dear friend.
May our lives be blessed with strength, courage and joy.
May we be blessed by Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.