Monday, September 26, 2011

Our Treasurest Place

My two autistic sons live in a group home for adults with developmental disabilities. It is a modest home by anyone’s standards, funded primarily by the clients’ government benefits. They do not have lives of privilege or abundance in material things.

I was taking them home once after a family dinner. As I pulled into their driveway, James said wistfully, “This is the treasurest place on earth.” When I asked him what he meant, he paused and nodded thoughtfully, “I have everything I want.”

I have been reflecting on James’s words this month as we focus on Step 9–Develop an attitude of gratitude. One might not expect profound wisdom from the mouth of a young adult with autism, which just proves that we need to be open to truth from any source.

Notice that James didn’t just say he has everything he needs. He went further to say that he has everything he wants. How many of us can say that? How many of us do say it?

Make no mistake, James does want things. A new DVD, a hamburger and fries with root beer, a trip to the library. So what did he mean? I think he meant that he has everything he wants in order to be happy. I think he recognized that his happiness was complete whether he has certain “things” or not. His statement was one of utter contentment and appreciation.

May we all live in our treasurest place and have everything we want.

He who knows enough is enough will always have enough. –Tao Te Ching

(revised from archives)


  1. Gratitude definitely is cultivated and developed. A great kind post, thank you for sharing the story. I am grateful.

  2. Galen,
    These words by your son...they are lovely. And they express so much - what an "attitude of gratitude" is. And that is such a gift - to say and believe these words.

    Such wonderful words of inspiration for my Monday...

  3. Galen,
    This is such a wonderful message of hope...that your son has shared.

    An "attitude of gratitude", when spoken from the is so meaningful.

    What wonderful words of inspiration for my Monday...

  4. Wow, what a profound moment for your son and for you. I love his attitude and outlook on life.

    Why is it that I never aspired to be one of those who wants more and more yet I find myself saying, well maybe just this or maybe just that? Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely grateful for what I have, as well as what I don't have... sometimes I think that the disease of "more" hits too many of us due to external influences and/or pressures of society. That's the making of an essay so I'll just stop there.

    Thank you for waking my consciousness, it's been lost under regurgitating words and turning them into papers.

    Have a fantastic week Galen.

  5. Sonia--I agree. We can cultivate a habit of gratitude. We'll make ourselves and others much happier!

    Lance--I hope you saw my comment on the guest post on your blog. I really like your new format! Thanks for commenting.

    darlin--You must have just been born wise! Good luck with all those papers. That is a gratitude challenge for sure!


  6. Words of wisdom often come from people we least expect. Thanks for sharing. How blessed you are for your wonderful family.

  7. Tess--Thanks. My family is unusual to be sure! But they're mine and I love them!

  8. I love this story...Reminds me to show more gratitude daily.

  9. Wonderful...I wish we'd all find the wisdom of knowing that our 'treasurest place on earth' is where we are. Thank you, Galen.

  10. Galen, such an inspiring post that really puts things in perspective. Thank you so much.

  11. Thank you for sharing this wisdom...lovely story telling - simply beautiful

  12. Thanks for commenting...don't worry..I am sure your home is not filled with dust mites...I know we can't see them..and they are nasty little buggers..have a good week

  13. As usual I always enjoy your posts. This was an inspiring one and I loved the thoughts by your son. I like the thought of our treasurest place on earth.
    Keep on enjoying your moments!

  14. I love this story...what a great lesson for us all.

  15. My niece lives in a group home. She has chores, a 'job' to go to. They have a good life within their little group. They feel at home there, with others like themselves. It is indeed a special place. So glad James knows how lucky he is.

    "May we all live in our treasurest place and have everything we want."

    It is recognizing the fact for the rest of us that is hard. I try... but then I see something and say 'Oh, that is just what I need!" Not really..

  16. May I become as your precious son, James...happy not b/c of things but b/c of the life that God has scoped out and made a way for me...."treasurest place on earth" awesome!

  17. Jessica--You've heard this story before, so I'm glad you still like it! Thanks for commenting.

    Corinne--"Our treasurest place on earth is where we are." That was a beautiful sentence. Thank you.

    Danny--I've learned a lot from James. He has his own wisdom, to be sure. Thanks for commenting.

    Patricia--Thank you for the kind words.

    Kathi--Thanks for the reassurance about the dust mites! Wish I shared your confidence! Thanks for your comment.

    LeAnn--Every now and then one of my kids just pops out with something so profound. Not just my kids, of course. All kids. Autistic or not. Thanks for commenting.


    restoring--James does know, I think. He and his brother Dan share an apartment there. I'm so glad they can live together. And yes, it is hard for us to see this. And yet, I believe it is our choice to see it anytime. Thanks for your comment.

  18. Rhonda--What a lovely comment. Thank you.

  19. A touching story with a beautiful reward, told perfectly, as only truth can be told. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  20. Mikey--Thank you for your kind words.

  21. Here is to HAVING ENOUGH sweet lady!!!



  22. You really have a way of weaving very ordinary moments into life-transforming lessons for us all. Today, I learn about resting in contentment and appreciating what I already have.

    Congratulations about becoming a grandmother! You will make a great one!! You have got so much wisdom to impart. Thanks for your gems of wisdom as always!

  23. Evelyn--Thank you so much for the kind words. I really appreciate it.

  24. Galen,

    Thank you for coming over to my site and now I have found your lovely site that also provides inspiration. I love this HAPPY PLACE!

    Your son has wisdom and so many place their happiness on "things" but truly the happy place is within your heart - it's living in an attitude of gratitude for all that we have!

    In total gratitude,

  25. Hi Galen. I saw your comment over on the blog and had to jump over here and see what you were all about. Children on the autism spectrum seem to have a wisdom most can only wish for. I wish others would stop telling them they are wrong or different. It makes me tired. What a great post. Years ago I stopped yearning and realized everything was here and now. Namaste~ Glad to connect with you.

  26. Nancy--Welcome and thanks for following! "Truly the happy place is within your heart." That was a lovely way to say it and so true.

    Nicole--Welcome and thanks for following! "Everything is here and now." So true and we will be focusing on step 10 next month--Be here now. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts.

  27. Hey Galen,

    Great steps on what you have mentioned here! I take note that so many people don't take in consideration what type of attitude that james have! Even though he has everything that he wants , it's display that being grateful is the key of attacting abundance! An atitude like that can produce a lot in one's lives!

  28. Once again, a beautiful and thought-provoking post.

  29. What a wonderful attitude. I should to follow his example. I have most of what I have ever wanted and I am content but I am sure I could be much more grateful for what I have. Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend.

  30. Tyler--"Being grateful is the key of attracting abundance." That's it. If we are grateful, then we are always experiencing abundance. Thanks for commenting.


    Bonnie--We all sometimes forget to be grateful. James taught me a lesson that day! Thanks for your comment.

  31. I love this post but I am conflicted. I understand the idea of simplicity. Understand the state of bliss. Happiness being a choice. For me its never enough. I always need to challenge myself. I am driven to see and do all that i can, which requires resources.

    Then I read post such as this and I ask myself am I missing it?

  32. Fashionistachic--I don't think you are missing anything. I don't think that challenging ourselves and working towards goals and dreaming big are inconsistent with an inner contentment and appreciation for what we have. Perhaps it's the difference between being happy now regardless of where you are with your goals, and making your happiness dependent on reaching your goals. Making our happiness dependent on external circumstances, especially in the future, blocks our happiness in the present moment, which is really the only time we truly experience happiness. Does that make sense?

  33. This is a wonderful post! I long to be more like James!


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