[Editor's Note: Don't miss Rupert Isaacson's reading tonight at the Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
(Read the previous part here.)
About 25 hours after coming down the mountain from Ghoste's camp, Rowan squatted down on a sandbank in the river Orghon, where we had stopped to swim and pitch tents, and did his first intentional poo. And cleaned himself. On camera.
We couldn't believe it.
Three days later, when we reached the nearest town, Rowan, for the first time in his life, pooed in the potty.
We drank the Ger camp out of beer that night.
And as we celebrated, Rowan joined the other kids in the Ger camp in their evening games. One of them. No longer the odd kid out.
From then on — for about the next three weeks — we had perhaps six tantrums of any note. Before Ghoste, that would have been about half a day's worth.
By the time we got back to the U.S., they had gone completely.
Rowan arrived home and immediately started making friends with the kids in the neighbourhood. He started riding Betsy by himself.
That year, he had his first birthday party. All the kids in the neighbourhood came.
Now, 18 months or so on from our return, Rowan is doing a first-grade curriculum, but reads and does math at third and fourth grade.
We have started an equine therapy center near Austin, Texas, where we live.
Every day we have three to seven kids coming through — some are autistic, some are not, but just want to learn to ride. We make sure they mix and spend good, long periods of time in nature, playing together.
Rowan did not come back from Mongolia cured. Rowan is still autistic. But he did get healed of the three terrible dysfunctions that so plagued him and so impaired his quality of life and ours: the incontinence, the tantrumming, and being cut off from his peers. All those are a memory.
Rowan's autism comes across now as more of a charming quirk. It's who he is. I'm starting to realise that you can be an incredibly effective, productive human being and also be autistic. It's another type of person, rather than necessarily a disorder, per se.
Ghoste also told us that we should take Rowan for at least one good healing a year every year until he's nine. What a brilliant excuse for a yearly family adventure! Last year we took him down to the bushmen in Southern Africa's Kalahari. This year, because of the book tour, we'll be in Australia, so i am looking for the right Aboriginal healers.
The adventure continues...
One last thing — whenever I have tried to pin one of the healers down about how it all works, this shamanism thing, they — all of them, whether Mongolian, bushman, or from wherever — give me the same answer. "It's just love," they say. "Pure and simple. Only through training you can learn to direct it. That's what we do."