TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “Eye contact

Eye-Contact and Animal Healers


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As someone with Asperger’s who spent much of my life avoiding eye contact until I was properly medicated, I still feel uncomfortable with eye contact in human interaction.  Yet I actively seek out eye contact with animals.  I am not alone in this.  For people with Asperger’s and Autism, eye-contact with humans is fearsome and yet with animals, sublime.

People say eye contact with animals is less threatening, yet I believe there is more to it than that.  Gazing into the eyes of an animal, I feel love, depth of consciousness, and connection– all qualities quite impossible to feel with humans, except in fleeting moments with my beloved Aspie husband who, too, has problems with eye contact.  Perhaps because Aspies and Auties are so starved for affection, so hungry for a form of love that they CAN handle, animals offer pure and simple love, and unconditional acceptance. The truth is animals are excellent therapists and natural healers!!  P.S.  Animals are good for depressives, too.

(For more information on eye contact and Asperger’s and Bipolar Disorder, see the memoir I wrote of my experiences with love, called “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things” http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html)

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Eyes to Eternity


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At age 35 I found someone who was more afraid of closeness than I was.  I understood him almost from day one.  This understanding came out of years of therapy that followed my breakdown at age 28.  Before the breakdown, I didn’t know that I was depressed.  Before the breakdown, I didn’t know that my failed relationships were due to my fear of closeness.  Before the breakdown, I didn’t know I was Bipolar.  I learned a lot of things in therapy that helped to change the direction of my life.

And then one day Thomas walked into the library where I had been working for 10 years.  He got a job as a library assistant.  He was a graduate student and wanted to work part-time.  I took the first steps towards asking him out because it was obvious he never would.  I had learned a thing or two after a stint at being gay.  We bumbled our way into a relationship and, after 4 years, into marriage.  We didn’t know that either one of us had Asperger’s Syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder on the Autism Spectrum, until much, much later.  We just thought we were very, very shy.

After some 23 years of marriage we are still shy with each other.  Our instincts are still to run away from closeness, but now we are able to override the first gut feeling.  We have grown together, becoming very, very close.  So close that now my biggest fear is of losing Thomas.  So close that sometimes we communicate without talking, as if we are on the same radio frequency.  In fact talking often confuses things.

We have pushed each other along life’s path.  Tom became a clinical social worker and I became a writer and artist.  The road has been bumpy in spots.  My being Bipolar has been hard for Tom at times.  Many times.  But there have been many more moments of joy that make it all worthwhile.  We both feel the other is the best thing that happened to us, and the journey continues.  New lessons are learned.   There are still new magical moments and new epiphanies.

It is 3A.M.   I lay beside Thomas in bed listening to his breathing as I watch a silent light show outside our bedroom windows.  This is not a 3A.M. awakening born of despair as some are.  At the moment I feel the Presence and that Presence fills me with love.

The moonlight beckons to me, and I respond by getting up and gazing at the twinkling stars and the hushed light of flickering fireflies. In the quiet stillness of a country night I am stirred by the music of the silence.  My ears hum, the sound of the nervous system according to my husband.

The cool air is intoxicating.  I go to the den to write and sit in a moonlit cathedral, watching the seemingly random flashing flames of fireflies flying in a frenzy of love.  The madness of desire.  Well do I know how love possesses one’s spirit and makes one fly through life, manic with emotion.

Yet sometimes, beneath the energy that stirs one’s blood, lies a silent union—a momentary glimpse of eternity in a loved-locked gaze into the eyes of one’s beloved.  It is fleeting, at least for me.  Gone in a flash, and yet it leaves me wondering just whom I am seeing.   The inner voice says that God has touched my soul through Thomas, for the best of  human love is merely a sampling of the Divine.  Eye contact, so problematic for both my husband and me, is wondrous in this context.  For a second, eternity beckons like the moonlight, whispering of another life, another world, something beyond the here and now.

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)


Stars in the Eyes


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When I was a little girl of seven, I swallowed the “Prince Charming” myth whole.  I cried watching the movie Sleeping Beauty, because I wanted my own prince to come.  Then adolescence happened and I found myself a wallflower– not only at socials but in everyday life as well.  Few friends and no dates.  I had one good friend who was best friends with someone else which somehow negated our relationship.   I was painfully shy and full of anxieties.  College was a little better.  I had my first boyfriend, a run of relationships that mostly went nowhere fast and, again, few friends.  High school peers were marrying off.   My brief brush with marriage to a Sri Lankan ended when he went back home, promising to return.  He never did.

And then it happened, totally out of the blue and beyond my control, I fell in love with an older, West Indian woman at work.  I became obsessed with a relationship that was never to be and nearly lost my job in the process.  Unable to handle such feelings on so many levels, I went free fall into a downward spiral of depression and psychosis, commonly called a nervous breakdown.  It lasted for years.  But I still believed in love and Prince Charming (in this case, “Queen” Charming).  For years I lived in the netherworld of mental illness, locked in isolation.  I explored being gay but like my college relationships, all failed. I will never know the truth of all that happened between the West Indian woman and me.  After testing many medications before arriving at the right cocktail, years of therapy taught me about my own fears of love and how to love.  I was diagnosed Bipolar but treated as if I had Asperger’s as well, since I could not decipher what in hell’s name was going on in social relationships.  I was not officially diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder until some 30 years later.

One day I grew strong enough to stand up to life.  For the first time, I could think of what I wanted in a person and look for it.  After all I had been through, I still believed in the “Prince Charming” myth.  But he never found me.  I found him.  He didn’t sweep off my feet.  I swept him into my arms.  I understood him because he was Aspie like me.  I knew if I did not make a move he never would.  So, with heart-pounding fear, I asked him out and then he asked me out, and we bumbled along and married 4 years later, after I basically said “now or never.”

We remain happily married almost 24 years later.  And so came “happily ever after.”  But not exactly as I expected.  For one thing there were fights which I hated.  I had to learn that this was normal.  Then, when my best friend died a few months after my father died, both of cancer, it hit me for the first time.  There was no “happily ever after.”  I realized that marriage either ended in divorce or death.  Both dire.  And that one of us was going to lose the other except in the unlikely event we both died together.  How could I have been so stupid and not have seen this before??

Today my love for my husband runs deep and I realize I am closer to him than to any other human I have ever loved.  I live in terror of something happening to him.  As we both approach old age every good moment becomes a treasure I try to engrave on my memory.  My husband has blossomed into an empathic, caring clinical social worker.  He now expresses his deep affection towards me.  Even I, who had a hard time recognizing love, can see this.   He still teases me relentlessly.  This is his way of showing love.   I understand that because my father was the same way.  But my husband delights in getting away with teasing me.  “What joy!” he said one morning, as he played some mischief on me.  “I love this “love thing’!” he said.  I never thought he would say that or turn out to be so affectionate and loving.  Just as I never thought I would find love.  And when I looked at him with love in my heart that morning after the teasing stopped, he said, “What?”  We still have trouble interpreting expressions and are still shy of eye contact even with each other.  I said what I had read long ago that a child had written.  When two people in love look at each other, stars come out of their eyes.  A wonderful image that comes as close to “happily ever after” as one can get.