Saturday, May 16, 2009


The MS road so far has been significantly more of a spiritual journey than a physical struggle. The physical stuff tends to start out weird, but I settle down reasonably quickly to a state of "oh well," for most of it. I don't tend to drag around emotional baggage (about the physical stuff, at least).

Yes things don't work the way they used to, but I'm not really taking any emotional/psychic "hit" from it--at least, that I can tell. Maybe I'm just better than ever at denial, but since none of my malfunctions have irrevocably shut a door on a chapter in my life--I can still drive, I can still walk, I can still play the organ well enough for the things that I play or work around the difficulties to "sell" the music anyway--I don't really walk around in either "Oh woe is me" or "Oh dear, when will [fill in the blank] finally [fill in the blank] and my life as I know it will be over? Is this my last time to [fill in the blank]?"

Except one. I've always been a "I can do a lot of all sorts of things" person, and I really can do a lot of all sorts of things. As one of my graduate school teachers said once, my breadth is really, really broad. Even now I've got at least oh...six major projects on my "to do" list that I'd really like to launch and pursue with gusto. And before the MS, I could probably have done at least three or four of them with no problem, and if I had really dug in, I could have done at least five of them.

Now I accomplish three small things in a day, usually things that only take a small amount of creativity or none whatsoever--for example, today it was "mop part of the kitchen floor"-- and that was a good day. I'm used to being able to summon a huge head of steam, and now I get a few little puffs and then it's time to sit down. Really. Really, best you should sit down. Or lie down. Now.

I mean, Friday at school I had lunch, I was watching some video or other at my computer, and about ten minutes after I finished my sandwich, I fell asleep in my chair. I don't remember what it was I did Friday morning, but I know it wasn't much more than walk across campus a couple of times, talk to some kids, and sit at the machine and type. Hardly what you'd call "exertion." I had even had a decent night's sleep, for once. And yet, here it was 12:15 and I was completely zonked out.

Part of this is a "level of consciousness" thing, I'm sure, one of those easier-said-than-done "change your mind and you change the world" inner liberations/transformations. Part of it, though, is physical, and I'm having a hard time figuring out which limitation is getting to me at any moment. Spiritual evolution is damned tricky to catalyze on your own terms; of course, in the words of one of my spiritual advisors, "You don't need to go looking for your attachment: when it's time for you to deal with it, it'll bite you in the ass." Physical fatigue is another matter. Is it a blood sugar thing? (Probably, in part.) Would some gentle stimulants to help you over the rough parts help? (Maybe and occasionally, although given that I need Inderal to help buffer my nervous system against the world, twitchiness-inducing stimulants plus beta blockers seems to be a losing combination on both ends.) And there's the whole "Weekly acupuncture does wonders for two or three days and then poof! Whatever fire he lit under you is gone. Nice while it lasted. (Well, at least a little...)"

And it doesn't help that I have days like today: got up this morning, and WHOO something's wrong here, it's not exactly "dizziness" or "light-headedness" but I'm not exactly hooked well into gravity or locomotion... A little blood-sugar-boosting watermelon and things quickly got a little better; and I even managed to get out to lunch at our favorite vegetarian Indian bistro (nonstop Bollywood on the big screen!) but I was ready to go home long before it was time to go home. I definitely have been living in "out of steam" all day. Got some music written, but I was hoping to shoot my bow today and I just could not get over the "can't get started" energy hump to go outside, stand there, shoot, and walk to the target and yank out the arrow--and really, physically, I didn't want to have anything to do with locomotion, or standing, or even just sitting up.

There is a path through this. My creative life is not over. I am not doomed to have all sorts of ideas and not be able to realize them. I know this. I am not mired in despair over those possibilities. My creative life, however, is mired at a standstill because I have all sorts of ideas and I just don't have the gumption to start the work it takes to realize them. I'm willing to do the work it takes, I'm used to doing work, once it's going it's not hard, it's fun (even when it is hard)... but I'm missing the catalyst that starts the alchemical reaction that turns thought into action.

Remember cheerleaders at football games? Their cheers always start with "Ready? ... o-KAY!" and off they go.

For me, it always goes "REA... oh dear. Not good. Something's wrong. I'd better sit down a few minutes... nope, better lie on the floor with my feet on the chair, sitting's not so comfortable..."

When it's a mental problem, it's better to suck up the pain and just push through it (usually, once you get rolling, you're fine). When it's a physical problem, sometimes it might be better to listen and take the rest the body wants.

I think... I think... a good portion of it is physical. But it's probably both. And so, that means I should push through... or ... not?

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