My name is Heather, and I’m the Office Manager of Asperger Experts. I work, I am married to a person who has Asperger’s tendencies (no diagnosis, but we’re pretty sure…), I am a Mom to a wonderful 10 year old who was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s and I am renovating a house we bought recently – a fixer upper. Lots of potential, lots of sweat equity. We moved the weekend after Christmas. No stress, right?
Enter Asperger Experts, A Most Awesome Company To Work For.
Last week I was feeling the stress. I was trying to nurture my son back into a routine after being sick on and off for several weeks, trying to help my husband get used to his new situation, and trying to settle into a new position myself. Tuesday Danny called me to check on my Thursday availability for something, so I got my stuff together and went in to the office. I knew the all-too-familiar refrain of “we need to have you invested, we have to have you here, you have to be here to do the work”, etc. etc.
I walked into the office. Danny turned around and gestured to the computer screen. It was a lovely picture. Eleia spa, at Olive 8. I waited. He said something to the effect of “Here. Pick a package. What do you like? I’ll pay for it, but you have to book it.” I could have been more shocked, but it would have been difficult. I usually feel much safer taking care of others; it was difficult to let someone take care of me. It was especially difficult since I felt I had been dropping the ball, juggling all the responsibilities.
Thursday came. As I walked in, the dim lights and soft music made me set my stress down like heavy suitcases I didn’t even know I’d been carrying. Bernadette checked me in. My poor brain couldn’t absorb most of it. “We…lounge…pick your lunch order…pool, dry sauna, massage, facial.” There could have been more words but I could not take them in. I was in overwhelm. Good reasons, but same state. I don’t know how to let myself be nurtured.
She showed me to the locker room, opened my locker. I saw there were things in the locker and immediately said “Oh, if someone is using that one I can take another one.” I didn’t want to be in the way. I didn’t realize that they had stashed sandals and a big soft robe in there for me. For me! Who does that?!?
After a luxurious shower, what was next? My lunch! No rushing, no serving anyone else. They wouldn’t even let me bring up my tray. That felt weird. After eating I sat in the lounge drinking water that had fruit soaking in (!), and writing a short story. At that point, May came up, introduced herself, and told me that it was time for my facial. I gave her the usual schpiel about C-PTSD and limbic disorders and how much I hate surprises and need information.
No. Really. I hate them. All of them.
First there was steam, and then she smeared stuff on my face that smelled like you could eat it, blueberry, pomegranate, mint, after a while I had no idea and it all blended together.
Let’s be clear. I ride the rough edge of “girly”. Don’t let the hair dye fool you. I own an 18 inch chainsaw and I know how to use it. And I enjoy it. And my compound miter saw and my 1/2’’ drill. I like building things, fixing things and growing things and playing in the dirt. I don’t wear nice things much because I *will* mess them up. I don’t see the need to wear other than a uniform of some sort unless it’s a special occasion. I wear jeans and a t-shirt, and that’s good enough for me.
But laying in this lady’s chair, getting blueberry cleanser smeared all over my skin, I reveled in being girly for just a minute, being nurtured and connected. Then, the minute passed and I was just wondering what had happened.
The facial, however, lasted an hour. It was magical. She rubbed wonderful things on my face, and we chatted and laughed. When it was over, she led me back to the lounge. I was only there a few minutes when Tiffany came to get me for my massage. Because I had had such an enjoyable time talking with May, I started chatting with Tiffany, but it was harder. She had me take several deep breaths, and the cypress was wonderful.
It was harder and harder to maintain a conversation. Then, it hit me. I was trying to distract myself. I was trying to not be in my body. I was trying to entertain this lady who was trying to nurture me. I was sabotaging the whole dang thing!
I took another deep breath. “Tiffany, I have enjoyed chatting with you very much, but I think I am trying too hard to fight letting go. If it’s okay with you, I am going to shut my face and enjoy this lovely massage.”
She assured me that whatever I needed to do was all right with her. What a lovely thing to say! I took a deep breath and focused. My mind seemed to have been waiting for me to just allow myself to be, because the change was immediate and profound. I entered a meditative state, and stayed there the entire massage. I barely remember turning over. I was afraid I was asleep, but I was not. I was deep inside, deep and grounded. Deep and renewed, nurtured and restored. I allowed her to give to me. I allowed Danny and Hayden’s gift to restore me and give me strength, and I was grateful.
The moment Tiffany softly informed me to drink some water and get my robe, and that she would be close if I needed anything, it hit me. Allowing myself to be in my body allowed me greater freedom than disassociating, greater control and renewal than trying to metaphorically sing and dance so that people would be entertained, would be pleasant, and I would be safe.
I was safe all along, right here.
The gift they gave me of renewal and restoration was also the gift of having a profound mind-body connection that day, and the power of it stays with me even now, days later. Our seminar this weekend will go into being present, physically present in your body and open to its messages and gifts. I look forward to more. I like this very much.
Thank you, Elaia spa, Tiffany and May and Bernadette. Thank you Mr. Valet who was so nice. Thank you Danny and Hayden, for the opportunity to learn this, and for the amazing day. Thank you Travis, for helping with my work. If I breathe only one prayer, let it be thank you, thank you, thank you. I cherish this gift of many gifts, and I am so happy to be working with you.