Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Creativity —my nature and healing

For many years I believed that my ability to express creativity through hand work was to be expanded into an occupation that could bring some income. What I’ve learned in the last months is that it truly is a vehicle for personal healing, grounding, and presence. A mighty powerful vehicle, may I say!

Teaching me now, the tailored slipcover.

I’m finding myself taking deep breaths as a little voice inside guides me to be patient with the process and focus on enjoyment through every “annoying” yet necessary step. I thought I was a patient seamstress but it’s becoming very clear that I have never approached life with patience. I can’t wait for “endings” and successful outcomes, especially when I get very close to summit.

making a fitted slipcover for my couch

Another recent one: The memory quilt. I started the project in the winter of 2014 with great motivation to repurpose my favorite of Joaquin’s old clothes (many of which I made myself) giving them a second useful life and retaining the memories. I completed all the cutting and stitching of the top layer, but when it was time to quilt motivation faded. It became clear that I would have to quilt around each square by hand and I was just not ready for that. So the project sat on my dining table reminding me of its unfinishedness by cluttering my space for a year, until last winter’s contraction suggested that finishing unfinished projects would be the perfect thing for my state. I cried and stitched to the sound of cassette taped songs from a very long time ago, and one month later I was done with the quilt, as well as with my contraction.

finished memory quilt from my child's clothes

Last fall I explored several beliefs and mental patterns I’ve carried for a long time. That old theme that tortured me by saying I haven’t done anything of much worth with my life and my “talents”. The old theme that thinks being me and doing what’s in front of me is just not enough. “No! I must be more! Do more! Reach wider!… That exhausting theme that I’ve thought I’ve defeated so many times.

A beloved teacher had just died and the emotions brought by his death and the outpouring of love that came with it stirred me to reshuffle inside. As I helped myself with self-inquiry, tears, and beingness, I felt like pieces of me were dying. I didn’t feel attached to the stories of “creator”, “alchemist”, “son-rise mom”, “special-needs mother”, “awakened by autism”, and all other identities I’ve built over the years. I couldn’t tell what my future was, where to go?… what to do?… what’s my goal and purpose now?… There was nothing. Not a clue. Not a peek. Not a tiny itty bitty desire. No idea of who I am. Maria, and —what?

And so I got a very important insight about these “talents”.

dill seeds about to replant themelves

I discovered that everything I’m great at, everything I love doing and do very well, is not a talent. It simply is my nature. We all have our own nature. My teacher’s nature was to teach they way he did. My nature is to make, create, and engineer the way I do. A cat’s nature is to jump the way she does. A mouse’s nature is to sneak the way he does. A plant’s nature is to make seeds the way it does. Not special talents. Not gifts to be used for a mighty purpose or else we’ve failed. We just can’t be different. It just happens by being us. We don’t have to think or try to be it; it’s simply our nature. The nature of our soul, our essence, who we are. God expressing itself in infinite unique ways through us.

And who I am is someone who creates constantly. Photos, recipes, stories, web sites, games, videos, toys, home furnishings, clothes, templates, logs, crafts, drawings, paintings, repurposed products, gardens, forts, dolls, personal items, lego buildings, packages, memories…

It just had not occurred to me that all this creation that pours out of me is not only the expression of my soul, and God, but also the medicine that heals me when my mind —or the swing of the energetic wave— pulls me off-center.

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Intentional parenting, development, and education for our children is my passion. My purpose is to empower you with the emotional and practical support you need to thrive as you reach for every outcome you dream of for you and your child’s life.

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