Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cessation of againstness / don't push and pull

If I remember Gene Scott's sermon on the meaning of the word "shalom" correctly, he translated it as "cessation of againstness."

"Againstness" is pretty much the name of the game, for MS. It's no wonder we're always tired; our immune system (or so current thinking goes) is constantly gnawing away at our neural insulation, and our self-correcting nervous system is constantly occupied with self-correction to work around the damage.

I'm in quite the energetic funk, nowadays. I think I've been there for quite a while, but I'm only getting a real handle/focus/understanding of it now. I've got a lot of cold, fearful energy concentrated in my legs, and I spend a lot of effort working against it, trying to get things done despite what my legs want.

Which brings me to "don't push and pull." My kyudo (ritual Japanese archery, often called "Zen archery" but really it's more Shinto) instructor tells us this all the time. Pushing and pulling is struggling with the bow, an attempt to conquer it without really listening to what it's trying to tell you. Ideally, you "open," as he puts it: you open your arms wide like you were inviting the universe to give you a great big hug, offering your entire self and accepting absolutely everything you are given. Your right arm only bends because your thumb is attached to the bowstring. (I added a photo to my gallery, to illustrate the bow and the draw. Purists will note that the keiko-gi, the "shirt," is supposed to be white, and yes, I know that, but the white shirt completely blew out the photo's exposure, and that's all that needs to be said about that.)

And just saying this to myself today like a mantram, "Don't push and pull—open," I've felt a "cessation of againstness." The energy in my legs is less insistent about its distress, because it can tell that I'm listening, rather than denying it. And in not spending all of my energy in struggle against myself, I've gotten more done today than I have in... well, I can't really remember how long it's been. A long time, WAY too long.

Don't push and pull. Open.

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