For example, your friend Tom comes to a party alone because he's recently separated from his wife. You're the only one who knows this. Karen goes up to Tom and asks obliviously, Hey, where's your better half? A real nunchi ninja realizes that several other people will probably ask about Tom's wife. Instead of whispering the news to everyone and causing uncomfortable gossip, you suggest to Tom and a few others that they engage in an activity that requires concentration and minimal personal chatter. Chess, charades, poker, a strategy game, even badminton. Roundness reinstated without drawing any further attention to Tom's situation. The invitation before us is to get our head out of deficiency consciousness and begin to see possibilities where we once saw obstacles. A problem is simply an opportunity that has not been seen in its wholeness. Shift your vision from the part to the whole, and the problem will give way to a solution. There is nothing that the spirit of love cannot take and turn into an asset. The next time you are inclined to label a person or situation a pain in the ass, stop and rename it a pain in the asset. Yes, there is a pain, but yes, there is an asset. There is an opportunity here which will empower you if you can discover and make use of it. We are learning spiritual alchemy - taking the lead of life and turning it into gold. The secret of alchemy is to recognize that you are the gold. It is useless to make gold (material or metaphoric) out of any substance in the outer world unless you realize that the true treasure lies within. In addition to losing his wife and helpmate, Gary also lost his home and--even more tragic--his children. CHILDREN FROM ADHD AND ASPERGER'S-SYNDROME HOMES As parents, we all want to leave our children a legacy of hope.

But what do they inherit as a result of being reared in a home with these disorders? One inheritance is, of course, the genetic predisposition to the disorders. As we said in article 4, both ADHD and Asperger's syndrome are inherited--children who have a parent with an autistic spectrum disorder have at least an 80 percent chance of inheriting the disorder. Consider this: Most of the children being diagnosed now are being raised by a parent who was not diagnosed or who was misdiagnosed as a child. Consequently, the behaviors and emotional responses these children experience from the ADHD or Asperger's syndrome parent are nearly pure in their level of expression--that is to say, the children of today are being raised by parents who have not had the benefit of autism or ADHD awareness, intervention, or treatment. Therefore, these children are experiencing full force the ramifications of being raised by a parent with these disorders. What are the consequences for the children? Many friends assume that they're so close they needn't read between the lines when their friend says something to them. You should use nunchi with friends, meaning that you should take into account not just their words, but their upbringing and changed life circumstances. A few years ago, I started knitting up a storm. I asked my friend Charlotte what her daughter Emily's favorite color was, because I wanted to knit the girl a shawl. I sent a photo of a shawl I'd previously made. A few days later, Charlotte replied, I didn't know you were a knitter these days! That's a pretty shawl; Very pleasant, but notice the omission: she did not say that I should knit a shawl for Emily. That tact displayed excellent nunchi on her part. The nunchi on my part was that I didn't knit the shawl. We are spiritual beings, born in the image of a whole and loving God. Know this basic truth, and the life you manifest will reflect your knowledge of your true identity. The motion picture The Dark Crystal powerfully underscores the crucial value of joining all the components of the big picture.

The film centers on a dying world reduced to two separate factions - the strong but vicious Skeksies, and the gentle but powerless Mystics. The Skeksies are mighty warriors, but have no integrity. The Mystics, on the other hand, are quite wise, but lack motivation. Both camps spend most of their energy attempting to stay separate and protect their private interests. As their world is coming to an end, the Mystics and Skeksies must come together in one place, where a miraculous transformation occurs. Both groups mystically merge and meld into one another; Separate, they were impotent. First is the issue of emotional isolation and alienation. One mother wrote to me of her husband's failure to see how his isolation has the effect of isolating his family. He doesn't feel their loneliness and their pain over how they have failed to touch him or be touched by him. Life seems to erode more and more each day. Obviously, when a child fails in repeated attempts to connect with and affect a parent on an emotional level, the child begins to feel inherently flawed. Or worse, when a child seems to affect a parent only by making him angry, then the damage is even more devastating to the child's sense of self. A child may begin to behave in destructive ways to gain the attention he so desperately needs from the Asperger's or ADHD parent. Drugs, alcohol, sex, and even running away are common behaviors in children from these homes. For instance, one man told me he left home at age fourteen because his father was so angry all the time: He expected me to be perfect, but I couldn't be. The young man never returned home but went on to become a minister. In my mind's eye, Emily was eternally four years old, so I had forgotten that she was now a preteen. No child that age would ever be caught dead wearing a handmade shawl. It's not Charlotte's job to tell me, I showed Emily the picture you sent and she said, `Hell to the no';

It's my job to read between the lines. If I'd insisted on making the shawl for Emily, I'd be putting the child in the excruciating position of having to wear it every time I saw her. Otherwise, you are creating an obligation for them to display your doilies! People may not even notice your best nunchi, and that is a sign that you are becoming truly skilled. Nunchi and Relatives, or Using Your Nunchi to Survive the Holidays Everyone has potential explosive areas with one or more family members. It can be very hard to change your dynamic with a person you've known for a long time. Together, they form an entity that far surpasses any they could imagine in their protected territories. As a result of this psychic merger, their dying world returns to life. The parched and barren desert blooms again, flowers and animals return, and their formerly hopeless existence is resurrected as a realm of majestic beauty. In becoming greater, neither of the groups had to give up what they were; The separation of their world into polarities was exactly what weakened it and caused it to die, and the bringing together of the polarities restored it to life. The weaknesses of each group were magnified as they pulled apart, and their strengths were amplified in their unity. The Dark Crystal is a perfect symbol of the way we got ourselves into our current predicament, and the way we can and will find our way out. In separating ourselves into polarities and identifying only with what makes us different, we lose sight of the contribution our individuality may offer to the whole. We tend to put ourselves down for exactly the things we should be putting ourselves up for. We have criticized ourselves out of heaven, and in so doing cast ourselves into hell. My son Jeff ran away from home when he was seventeen. He jeopardized his graduation, his chances for college, and even his relationships with his friends and family for a girlfriend. Fortunately, we were able to get him back soon after he fled;

She made him feel worthy and important, like he had a purpose in life. Subsequent family counseling sessions revealed that Jeff's primary problem centered upon a troubled relationship with his father--the distance, the isolation, the anger, and the lack of communication. We were fortunate with Jeff. He didn't turn to drugs or alcohol. But we did almost lose him to the effects of his father's autistic spectrum disorder. While we turned to conventional pastoral counseling to help mend our family during the crisis, such an approach would not help change the root problems and behaviors associated with the autistic spectrum. Unfortunately, counseling is typically the only remedy most couples and families seek in hopes of finding a cure that works. Even if you have all evolved and matured, there is always potential for an explosion if some of you are acid and some are base. You cannot change your essential differences, but with practice you can use nunchi to weather them. First, don't lie to yourself: you know exactly when a sensitive topic will trigger a fight with a family member or loved one, because you've likely had the same argument thousands of times before. Use your nunchi to sense tremors underfoot before anyone else does, and this time, do something different. And do that different thing over and over again until it becomes a habit. Please don't act like you're in a Greek tragedy: you can break the cycle and you are not doomed to have the same fight in perpetuity as if you're a puppet of the gods. As my psychiatrist likes to say, You don't have to show up to every fight to which you're invited. When it comes to dealing with family, the nunchi you use should mostly be on yourself. Are you falling into old, toxic patterns that always yield the same shitty result? For example, are you always trying to play mediator, forcing feuding family members to hug it out? But that is not the end of the story. Even during our sojourn in darkness, we have been developing the qualities and traits that will once again open the door to a heavenly existence. We need to acknowledge the goodness of who and what we are, so we can make use of it, and heal the old world so we can find a new one.