Tuesday, June 20th, 7:30pmÂ
OM Center, 5501 N Lamar, ATXÂ
Facebook live streamed at facebook.com/aspiepowernow
Difficulty with communication subtleties, impulse control, and extreme physical sensetivity make sexuality an especially challenging area for autistic people. However our connection to intuition, energetic sensetivity, and ability to hyper-focus can also make us incredible lovers.
OneTaste Austin is excited to host a panel of members of the Austin Autism Community who have been exploring theirÂ sexuality. We will tell our stories, and share practices, tips, and tricks we’ve used to turn ourÂ autism into a sexual super power.
Joe Carr – founded 2024569190 to unite fellow Aspies to access their unique gifts. He is also a certified sex and relationship coach, and has a rich sexual life with this beautiful fiance.
Casey Holt – is a senior at UT, and an Introduction Leader and coach for Landmark Worldwide. She has been actively exploring her relationship with her autism and with her sexuality.
Magda Wolk – is the mother of a son with autism. Her practice of Orgasmic Meditation has made her more aware of the way people communicate their desires, including her son.
Mario Alvarez – is a father of three, and is actively exploring how his autism challenges and enhances his sex and relationship with his partner.
Manoj Aggarwal will moderate the panel. Manoj is a certified coach and the head of OneTaste Austin, which teaches the practice of Orgasmic Meditation and courses on relationship, desire, healing, and personal power.
This event is open to all adults 18 years or older. All OneTaste Austin events are drug/alcohol free.
For more information checkout www.onetasteaustin.com, or contact us at 844-682-8784.
Thursday Jan 12th, 7:30pm
Austin Center for Recovery
4110 Guadalupe St #635, Austin, TX
Open to all
The Austin Center for Recovery is located on the Austin State Hospital campus off Guadalupe just north of 38th 1/2. Enter off Guadalupe and take your first right, and building #635 is the third building on your left.
Will be streamed live at www.facebook.com/lovinart
Thursday, December 8th, 7pm
The Om Center, 5501 N Lamar, 78705
Open to all!
In this lecture, I dispelÂ the myth that Aspies are in anyway bad at intimacy and connection. Indeed it is one of our super powers. I give practical tips for Aspies on how to use this power to build their relationships, and also teach non-Aspies how to better relate with us and go deeper in their own connections. The Q&A also touches on diagnosis’s, the role of toxicity, mindfulness, and astroprojection.
By Joe Carr
It has been said that Aspies (people with autism) are âbad at connectionâ. Because we often donât understand social cues, facial expressions, or nuanced language, we come off as cold or disconnected. We frequently experience high anxiety in social situations, leading us to avoid them all together and appear to be âlonersâ. We speak without filters, bluntly saying what we think, and then weâre viewed as uncaring about othersâ feelings. And sometimes weâll talk endlessly about a certain topic without noticing that others arenât interested, and then weâre judged as boring or obnoxious.
I have found that each one of these behavior traits is actually evidence that we are extremely gifted at connection.
One of the strongest attributes of autism is our heightened sensitivity. This sensitivity does not merely extend to sight, sound, smell and touch, but itâs also energetic. We feel other peopleâs emotions, energies, and intentions. Weâre anxious in social situations because we become overwhelmed with the sensation of feeling everyone. Not only do we receive energy, but we also transmit it. So if weâre in a good mood, everyone around us may feel their spirits lifted. And if weâre in a bad mood, the whole room may feel agitated. This can create a feedback loop, where an Aspie is feeling him or herself as well as others with increasing intensity, leading to a melt down.
Aspies have the powerful innate ability to feel another person deeply, and to have them feel us. Is this not the very definition of connection? The problem is, our society teaches people to relate using words, insinuation, unspoken social cues, and body language. However, these methods of communication arenât always consistent with a personâs true meaning. In short, people donât always speak the whole truth. Like when someone says, âIâm fineâ, when they are not actually fine. The person may actually believe they are fine, but when a personâs words donât match what weâre feeling from them, we Aspies can get confused and think weâre crazy. Because we havenât been taught to trust our feelings, we believe peopleâs words and then become gullible or naÃ¯ve. We spend immense energy trying to use our heads to interpret words and facial expressions, when it would be more effective to use our bodies to feel the other person and relate from that place.
When I learned to trust my feelings and use mindfulness practices to be more aware of the energy I am sending and receiving, my social and dating life exploded. I found people that wanted real, honest connection, who appreciated my unfiltered honesty. An Aspieâs willingness to speak the real truth makes vulnerability come more naturally to us than it does to most allistic (non-autistic) people. In relationship, vulnerability is the only pathway to real intimacy, and our ability to honestly say whatâs going on for us can create deep connection quickly.
The problem here, is Aspies are used to being judged for what we think and feel. Growing up, we were frequently given the message that we were âtoo muchâ, âtoo intenseâ, or âover-sensitiveâ implying something is wrong with our feelings. So despite our natural ability to share our experience, we need to know that weâre not going to be judged or abandoned because of what we feel.
Our intensity of attention allows us to focus on one task for many hours-sometimes to an obsessive degree. I found that when I focus this attention on another person, they feel it powerfully. It can be overwhelming for someone who isnât prepared to be seen at that level, but my close friends and intimate partners say my attention feels amazing. Learning to cultivate this attention has led to a rewarding career as a life coach and teacher. Now people hire me to see deeply into them and draw out their own inner truths.
My successful relationship and professional skills are not despite my autism, they are because of it. I am not the exception. After coaching and leading workshops for other Aspies, I am clear that autism is a universally powerful tool for deep intimacy and connection. We just have to find the right approach.
So hereâs the recipe. Aspies need to cultivate our ability to relate through our feelings at the body level, and let go of these attempts to use our heads to interpreting words and facial expressions. By trusting our intuition and connecting with a person from that place, we will quickly identify who is open to having deeper connection and who isnât. We need to steer away from those only interested in superficial relating and accept that they are not willing to go as deep as we need to. By showing people our full intense selves, we we will magnetize those that are starving for real vulnerability, intimacy, and connection, which is so rare in a society dominated by consumerism, insecurity and faÃ§ade.
Plus we need to learn how to calibrate. That is, use our ability to feel another person to intuitively know when weâre sharing too much, gone on a little too long, or when someone needs a different approach. The only thing required for this skill is to trust that you do actually know. and then a lot of practice. When you’re with someone and you get the notion that something doesnât feel right, take a breath, feel into them, and trust whatever instinct arises. You could ask them whatâs happening for them, or offer to change the subject, speed, or nature of the conversation. Or you could just name that youâre feeling something is off and give them space to say what is there. Like anything the more you try it, the better youâll get.
For non-Aspies, there is so much available in connection with us! Youâll find an honesty, loyalty, and depth of feeling that is beautiful and rare. Here are my suggestions for how to make the most of your relationship with an Aspie. Come without judgment, try to stay open to feeling and being felt, and believe what we say. Be prepared to be a little uncomfortable with the depth of our honesty or emotion. Appreciate our willingness to tell the real truth, even if it doesnât come out as calibrated or nice as you might be used to. And whatever you do, accept and validate our experience even if you donât understand or agree with it, and know that we will do the same for you.
I believe that by cultivating autistic intimacy, we can create a society that is more open to the depths of emotion and energetic connectedness, which are a fundamental part of the human experience. Everyone could benefit from being more open, honest, attentive, and sensitive, to absorb the nourishing love available from feeling and letting others feel you.
Deep, intimate connection is one of the many gifts autism brings to the world. So let’s enjoy it.
Last weekend, I had a powerful experience of healing and empowerment through being triggered, and then supported, in one of my most painful spots.
I went to a meditation group Iâve started attending regularly. Thereâs something powerful there I want, even though the structure is very challenging for me. In order to create a sense of focus and power, weâre asked to sit in chairs, upright, legs uncrossed, and sing songs in another language for several hours. Of course weâre welcome to get up and leave the room whenever we need to, but that is what’s expected if youâre going to be in the room.
After much resistance, I found it more bearable if I put all my energy into the singing. Channeling God and spiritual energy like one would in a black church. For the first few hours I felt upbeat and grateful. Then I got triggered when a leader suggested I sing more quietly, and only in my lower register.
I quickly went into my victim. I heard that I am too much. Too loud. Too messy. Only welcome if I conform to narrow standards. My autism makes sitting still for a long period of time a physical impossibility. Unless I move regularly, the anxiety builds up in me to a literal breaking point. Also it actually hurts for me to sing in my lower register, similar to trying to sing too high. And I feared that if I couldnât release the anxiety in my body through intense singing then I just wouldn’t be capable of being there. And so for the bagillionth time in my life I felt cast out, excluded, and judged for my inability (perceived as unwillingness) to conform.
My inner child is sensitive to this dynamic, because I was actively excluded as a child. I faced visceral hatred from kids and adults everywhere I went, and I had no idea why. At the time I had no way to understand or change my behavior, leaving me hopeless that Iâd ever have friends or belong anywhere. And now, I enter most groups expecting to be excluded at some point, and this experience gave ammunition to this constant (even if unreal) fear.
School and church were hell for me. Confining the voice and movement of an autistic person (or really any child) is equivalent to torture, and the more I was punished for not obeying, the more I believed I was broken. Theatre, dance and music were my only solace. On stage, I belonged. So perhaps this is why my perceived limitation on singing was especially triggering.
I just cried. I cried and cried at this feeling of non-belonging. Like Iâll always be too much for anyone to handle. Like itâs only a matter of time before Iâm kicked out, or expected to do something Iâm incapable of. I felt angry at neurotypical (non-autistic) people and institutions that think these standards are so easy to follow without sensitivity to how much harder it is for some of us. âEveryone has a hard time staying in their seatâ they tell me. Which Iâm sure is true, and yet it minimizes the fact that it is excruciatingly harder for people with my brain type.
I went off by myself and laid there curled up in a ball in tears, and asked God why I must go through this. And I felt a deep knowing that I am meant to help others find belonging. That there are many others like me, feeling cast out, like theyâre the only ones who donât fit in. And yet everyone feels this way sometimes. The rules and systems of school and church were designed to create alienation. It impacts some of us worse than others, but it affects us all.
I am determined to change this. I will create accepting communities where people of all neurological styles are welcome. Where thereâs freedom of movement and expression for children and energetic people and anyone else who wants it. Where itâs never assumed that something is easy or normal and everyoneâs contribution is valued.
This was the commitment I left with. I am grateful to the group for giving me a safe space to process some of this pain and reconnect with my purpose. I intend to go back and revisit this tender spot in me and potentially find healing as I discover that I do actually belong there. Perhaps Iâll even help educate them about the autistic experience.
I will continue to hold and love my inner child, and protect him from people who truly donât value his energy and spirit, and surround him with people who do. And I promise to do this for other children, Aspies, and neurodivergents everywhere.
We do belong. We belong, together.
By Joe Carr of aspiepower.com
Like The Accountantâs hero, Christian Wolf, my review of the film is neither wholly good or bad. I immensely enjoyed the movie and consider it a step forward for the autism community becoming more understood by the general public. As an autistic person myself, I want to add my perspective.
First of all, I love the two primary themes: victimhood is a choice and autism brings powerful gifts that our society needs. I appreciate the use of the âsuper heroâ archetype to characterize the unique abilities of autistic people, which is far better than the âretardedâ or âfreakâ archetypes. I recognize that much like the freak perspective, the super hero role still creates a sense of otherness. But I know firsthand that feeling other is nothing new for any autistic person. I prefer this filmâs holistic representation of an Aspie that is superior in certain areas while challenged in others.
Most criticism of this movie centers around the claim that it portrays autistic people as deviant, separate, inhumane and violent. I saw nothing inherently wrong with the Christian Wolf character; I saw a brilliant, well-intentioned man doing his best in a society that was not built for him. His violence is a result of his childhood trauma, not his autism. His non-autistic brother is just as deadly, which stems from their shared childhood experience, not their neurology.
Thereâs also an ongoing meme that (non-autistic people) should never try to tell a story about autism, but I disagree. The bookÂ NeurotribesÂ by neurotypical author Steve Silberman is one of the best books on autism Iâve read, and heâs been harshly judged for discussing a topic that doesnât directly affect him. I applaud any neurotypical person who puts their energy and creativity towards telling our story. I call these people allies, and the last thing we should do is punish an advocate who sticks out their neck in a conscious, well-intentioned way. Obviously, the filmâs director, Gavin OâConnor, did careful research to make his portrayal of autism accurate and respectful.
The victimhood discussion is a tricky one. I believe that the biggest thing holding back the autistic community is the prevailing victim story. As a trainer and coach of fellow Aspies, many of my clients have a deep-seated belief that theyâre broken, disabled, or cursed. I see parents weeping over the diagnosis of their child like itâs a horribly unfair tragedy that is ruining their lives. I will be the first to tell you that there are very real challenges autistic people and their families face, and that there are systems and people in the dominant culture that harm us.
However, it is our choice to see ourselves as victims and spend our energy complaining, blaming, and living life âdespiteâ our condition. I advocate choosing to see ourselves as empowered and recognize that all challenges are opportunities to become stronger. We can take steps to lessen our challenges and change societal barriers while simultaneously accepting that we are perfect just as we are.
I look forward to more powerful portrayals of my fellow Aspies. And much like the evolution of media images of characters from other marginalized groups, I expect to quickly see movement away from stereotypical and deviant, to diverse, nuanced, and brilliant. I welcome The Accountant as a step in the right direction.