Saturday, October 17, 2009

Issha zetsumei

Three thoughts, today.

Acceptance. I've talked about this before. It occurred to me that true acceptance of something renders it... unnoticeable. "Drop things and they fall," we've accepted. It's part of the fabric of the way things are. Sure, we try not to drop things when we don't want them to fall, but the whole "falling" thing is just part of the world and we don't really think about it, we just work with it. When I'm working with my legs, and not noticing the act of working with them, that's acceptance. When I'm fighting with them and noticing how different they are now and all I'm experiencing is conflict... that's not acceptance. I visit acceptance, with my legs, but I don't live there yet.

Change. Driving has been getting a little odd and uncomfortable. My right foot, especially, is starting to have some significant problems finding the pedals, and (worse) staying on the pedals. I've reached for the brake and sort of hit the accelerator. Or I've reached for the clutch and sort of hit the brake. Fortunately, we're still at the "sort of hit things" stage. I leave huge distances between me and the car in front of me just in case this sort of thing happens at the wrong time, and fortunately it hasn't. Yet.

But that's what I'm worried about. It's a little better in our auto-transmission car, because the brake pedal is wider, and I certainly don't have to deal with a clutch. But I'm starting to get worried about maybe I can't drive any more--and I'm starting to really worry about taking a little too long to decide that I can't drive any more and maybe taking one too many drives. Now, I could get myself a scooter and that'd get me to work easily enough--the route I'd need to take, I've ridden my bicycle along, so it's perfectly safe as far as that goes, and grocery stores are reasonably close. But I'm not getting on a freeway on any kind of cycle for love nor money and especially not in LA, and not being able to take freeways anywhere pretty much imprisons me. It's an uncomfortable place, being simultaneously at "I really don't want to think about this" and "I'm a fool if I don't think about this."

Archery. I've been playing hooky from my kyudo for far too long. I've been really disinterested in walking and standing (see "acceptance," above) and although kyudo has only eight steps, the zeroth step that has to happen before anything else is "walk up to, and then stand at, the shooting line," and that's where I've been hung up. This morning I did some "air kyudo" (go through the motions without the physical bow and arrow) for the first time in a long time, and it was just wonderful. Wonderful. I practice a very "internal" style of archery, of course there is a form you're supposed to execute as best you can; but the important part is the spiritual part, and it's all about offering yourself and accepting what you are given, and doing both things with absolute freedom and absolutely without restriction. One of the great sayings of kyudo is "issha zetsumei," usually translated "one arrow, one life" but what it actually means is "one shot, then your last breath." Give of yourself totally to the shot, completely invest it with your whole self, the sort of total and complete commitment that you would give to the last thing you did on earth.

We ask the bow and arrow to show us how to live. The bow and the arrow always tell us the truth about ourselves.

Acceptance. Change. Issha zetsumei.

MS certainly didn't create those three, they're the human condition. But it certainly forces me to face them. All three of them. At once. Right now.

One of the gifts of MS.


Muffie said...

I had the same problem with driving; then I taught myself to drive with 2 feet. Just leave your right foot comfortably positioned over the gas pedal. You can simply apply pressure or ease up as needed. Place your left foot, heel down, by the brake pedal. As you need it, simply press on the brake. I don't know anything about driving a car with a clutch, so that was never an issue.
I'm no expert, but why not try it and see if it works for you. Good luck!

daveyc said...

i know the feeling..I have similar if less potentially fatal problems with the piano's all sustained or dampened...I have to stick to Debussy.

Denver Refashionista said...

You will continue to adjust. Give it time :)