In a mental painting, I view my thoughts as little streams, teeming with colourful microcosmic organisms – alive and wriggling in the bubbling flow, bouncing and bobbing, diving and floating within the watery bowels – as the fluid yet concretely cogent entity meanders along, charting a dynamic, inexorable and sometimes unpredictable course.
Thinking, musing, contemplating are not confined to the mind alone. Our mental states are also intricately connected with the sensory concrete dimension. My ‘little streams’ need propitious landscapes, spatial compositions and clement geographies to flow in elegant and cogent design and direction. In turn, their ease of movement influences physical well being.
Crafting congenial mental and physical / sensory spaces is imperative to well-being, as it is to creativity. This is true across neurological states of being, and ever more so markedly crucial for people with hypersensory systems, whether or not autistic. It is the critical element that is largely overlooked and brushed aside by the majority, those who do not live with hypersenses.
I stumbled upon this article today, about a mother in Minnesota who, in her quest to better understand her son, began to look into how site, space and situation can powerfully affect people with hypersenses. It makes me glad to know that there are mothers who are trying to create sensorially conducive physical environments for their autistic children. On a wider dimension, it is heartening to see that sensory space is slowly being looked at in a more empathic way.
It has been a lifelong crusade, searching and reaching for clement space. I have yet to find that Holy Grail of spatial tranquility, but this new home we have right now is the most sensorially merciful, almost gracious even, that I have ever lived in, in Sydney, and perhaps even in my entire lifetime. Of course, it isn’t only just the physical environment alone, as I have lived in much lovelier physical spaces before, but the convergence of circumstances matter a great deal too. I grew up in a large house with plenty of room to run around in and experiment with ideas and adventures, but the home was shared with siblings and parents. I have always longed to live on my own, and my current situation is ideal – I have Lucy with me, she is the best companion I have ever had, and I am in a neighbourhood where people are friendly and kind. There is the right balance of solitude (which I very badly need a lot of) but for the human-connection, I need only step outside my flat, and there will be someone to chat briefly with, someone with a smile for me and Lucy, and someone to have coffee with. This space is near my work space too, and I cannot ask for anything better, where location is concerned. It is also the largest space that Lucy and I have had to ourselves, with the right amount of quiet and a gentle dose of background noise, a blend of birdsong, pigeons cooing, children laughing in the evenings, the occasional vehicle passing by, familiar voices from the street and music playing from a house across the road (a music teacher lives there).
Perfect? Well almost there. I need to tidy this space better and craft a gentler, more harmoniously visually pleasing layout for myself. There are ugly spots on the wall that have not been patched up, and I shall have to deal with that, as the visual irritation is becoming depressing. I also need to get the haptic elements right too – more mopping and vacuuming, since I like to go barefoot, but hate the feel of grime, dust or bits of stuff under my feet. 🙂 Then there is the lighting – it is a lovely, bright space, but the glare can be painful when working at the computer, and the block-out curtains don’t seem to be working. Today, I was walking around with a perpetual shimmering blob in my vision, no doubt caused by glare.
And, in case you may be wondering if this is some diva being dramatic and bratty, no, hypersenses CANNOT be just ‘sucked up’ – people with hypersensitivity live in constant full-on stimulation of the senses, like having the volume dial turned on to maximum but not being able to lower the volume.
It isn’t easy being a Hypersensory Bunny for sure. It can be an extremely challenging existence, but I honestly will not want to exchange this for anything else.