Thoughts and illustrations on living with Asperger's Syndrome.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Simply Be

I’ve just finished reading Donna WilliamsSomebody Somewhere and enjoyed it a lot. I’ve been working my way through the autobiographies of spectrumites – Robison, Grandin, Willey, Shore, Sanders… and just by coincidence, Williams ended up on the bottom of my pile. But it turns out I connected with her style of writing much more than the others. She takes it to whole 'nother level of honesty and intimacy. Her writing is not simply descriptive; it’s as if you, the reader, are there in her head, in real time.

There are so many wonderful ideas in this book I can relate to, but perhaps the most important is what she calls “simply be.” A state of awe and bliss she shares with her companion, a fellow autistic person, as they experience nature, the environment around them. An alert, childlike state, like seeing everyday objects for the first time.
“We were able to ‘simply be’ within company. We picked leaves and gave them to each other, velvety ones to feel and dead ones to hear as they crackled. We snapped twigs near each other’s ears and were tickled by the sound. We picked grass and snowed it over one another and laughed as we let it drift into the wind. We looked at the way light played upon things and sometimes laughed if we noticed the inexplicable strange reactions of people who stood so clearly ‘out there’ in ‘the world.” (p.196)

‘Simply be’ immediately reminded me of what Eckhart Tolle calls “presence,” and I’m convinced the two concepts are intertwined. That elusive state where you feel wholly yourself, that you’re “all there,” in absence of worry. Self-acceptance, and in Donna’s case, acceptance of autism as a part of her self. But perhaps the best thing about “simply be” is that it can be shared with another. A level of communication without words.

I think many of us are looking for that in our lives, and in our relationships. Freedom to be our authentic self without putting on an act. Whether we call it “simply be,” or “presence,” or another name. Have you experienced it?

I think maybe, “simply be” is the Snoopy Dance.


  1. Hi Matt, I just found your blog when doing research on AS- so I can be a better friend to my Aspie friend... and I've been stressed out about meeting his needs and making a connection. This post just totally took the pressure off and made me feel capable as a friend again. I love to "simply be"! Thanks :)

  2. Hi Emilie, thank you so much for sharing this. I think it's wonderful that you relate to this post and that it helps you relate to your friend.