Karen Simmons

An Autistic Attitude of Gratitude

By Karen Simmons

Being grateful during times when there are behavioral meltdowns, sensory overloads, nonverbal communication issues, routines all over the map and parents in turmoil not knowing what to do, can be the hardest thing to do.

­­I’m not going to be one of those “holier than thou” moms that sounds like a goody two shoes and that nothing ever goes wrong because that is simply not reality.  I do know this, however, when people connect, laugh, share and have fun with the good things that are going on, it makes us all feel better inside and after all, that’s really all we are feelings. 

The late Dr. Jerry Jampolsky who was the founder of the Center for Attitudinal Healing helped me to understand the meaning of true forgiveness, correcting my own misperception that someone else ever caused harm I felt when I was judged.  It didn’t mean I was tolerating the behavior in others or that I assumed I was better or superior to someone else or even tolerating their behavior.  It meant correcting my own misperception that they were the cause of the harm I was feeling.  I learned the only function I could continually practice was to choose to constantly forgive others repeatedly releasing my grievances no matter what.  This is not easy to do but worth the effort.

The more we see that we are all one and not separate.  When we see the simplicity in life and humanity and live in complete love, we are living to forgive

We were moving out of my house after exactly 30 years and my son with autism, Jonny, unplugged the internet by mistake so we had to stop the entire moving process at midnight, evaluate the entire situation, research how to reset it right and literally all he really had to do was to plug it in again!  We all laughed, and he had his moment in the sun 😊

Here are some very special words shared with me by my dear late friend Dr. Jerry Jampolsky, who was the founder of The Centre of Attitudinal Healing and specialized in catastrophic illness when I told him about the coincidental occurrences in my life. 

At the age of 95, Gerald Jampolsky, MD said the following!

“Fear can be the most virulent and damaging virus known to humankind”

“Karen, Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous”

This has certainly pointed me along a pathway towards many magical moments over the past 25 years especially around Autism Today, “Little Rainman” “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children with Special Needs” the book I co-authored, and the work that I’ve done when I became an Attitudinal Healing Training Facilitator in 1997.

You see, The Attitudinal Healing Centers work is around traumatic situations, prisoners, children’s death and dying and what people have very difficult times going through.  With COVID-19 in the world right now it is the perfect storm for his work.  

I don’t want to ramble on with a wall of text as my son would say, rather, invite you to read through these twelve principles of Attitudinal Healing and if you choose to, embrace any or all the concepts you want as they may help you during this difficult time.  If not, that’s fine too. 

Attitudinal Healing is based of the belief that it is possible to choose peace rather than conflict and love rather than fear. It is love that is the most important healing force in the world and man do we need this now like never before!

The Twelve Principles of Attitudinal Healing with my explanations are:

  1. The Essence of Our Being Is Love (at the core, everyone is good, the spark that started in the beginning of life)
  2. Health Is Inner Peace, Healing Is Letting Go of Fear (fear stifles our creativity and choosing to embrace our internal peace distracts any perceived fear outside which is merely an illusion of what is going on)
  3. Giving and Receiving Are the Same (as we inhale, we also exhale and if we learn to accept from others and give from our hearts without expectation, we will feel the same reciprocal energy flow through ourselves)
  4. We Can Let Go of The Past and Of the Future (living in the now is all there ever really. The past is gone, and the future hasn’t happened nor does it in the way as we project)
  5. Now Is the Only Time There Is and Each Instant Is for Giving (always releasing into the universe continually letting go helps to help us recognize the synchronicity in the universe)
  6. We Can Learn to Love Ourselves and Others by Forgiving Rather Than Judging (when we love and forgive everyone in our hearts, so we don’t hold grudges this frees our own hearts and energy. Judgement of others or us assumes a power position rather than one of love)
  7. We Can Become Love Finders Rather Than Faultfinders (what we focus on expands, so by seeking love we find more love and if we are looking for faults and negativity, we find more of that)
  8. We Can Choose and Direct Ourselves to Be Peaceful Inside Regardless of What Is Happening Outside (we are in control of our feelings and our thoughts regardless of if there is an emotional hurricane around us. What we focus on fills our hearts)
  9. We Are Students and Teachers To Each Other (The more we know the more we realize there is to know, and we are always learning and teaching in the process of teaching we also continue to learn)
  10. We Can Focus on The Whole of Life Rather Than the Fragments (Keep in mind the big picture in the scheme of things. “This too shall pass” helps in the process.  Little things are small, let them go.)
  11. Since Love Is Eternal, Death Need Not Be Viewed as Fearful (We are forever who we are. Our bodies are carriers of our entities.  What makes us….us, our thoughts, feelings, emotions, heart, soul, joy, happiness are not physical, they are our essence of our being)
  12. We Can Always Perceive Others as Either Loving Or Fearful And Extending A Call Of Help For Love (At the end of the day, everyone ultimately wants to be loved and accepted for who they are, regardless of abilities, race, sex, age, religion or any other perceived difference. It may not look like it at the time just know this to be true)



Karen Simmons

Founder, Autism Today

CEO, & Founder Autism Today Foundation

PS….Come by www.autismtoday.com and Share your stories with us!