Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Back to the "block and blammo" treatment plan. Fortunately, only mildly "blammo;" got a powerful point, but a gentle effect.

Had a long conversation with my doctor about my relationship to the malfunction in my right leg and its effect on my organ playing. I have a couple of alternatives to try, one of which is simply "go ahead and suck, but keep practicing" (or, as the kyudo folks would say, "shoot again"), before I cross the Rubicon and declare my organ playing days over.

Complicating this is... when I think about "my organ playing days are over," I honestly don't know how I feel about that. The only thing that is clear to me is that I really, really, want to still be able to play the organ at my school's graduation ceremonies; in a few years I will have performed at more than fifty percent of the commencements that the school has held, and dammit, I want to at least make it at least that long before I call it quits.

But we talked a lot about my non-confrontation of this problem. Because I don't really feel like I am positively, intentionally engaging it: either engaging it, and deciding that no, I am not giving up, or engaging it, and deciding that yes, it's OK to move on to another phase of my life, it's OK to say goodbye to the organ. I'm just kind of... looking at it. Like dog poop you discovered on the kitchen floor. You don't clean it up, you don't shout and curse, you just ... look at it.

And that's pretty much it. Dog poop. Just sitting there. And I just look at it.

Didn't get an answer about whether what I'm doing is right --right for me to be doing, specifically, not just nebulously "doing the 'right' thing." Didn't get an answer about what I'm "supposed" to do. My attachment to "doing" (in the Zen sense) is a problem I need to, if you'll pardon the expression, do something about; but then again, "doing" something about it is just shifting, not solving, the problem.

My doctor said that his own spiritual teacher is famous for saying, as an answer to any question about spiritual difficulties, "Do the Work." I've heard this before: "Shoot again." Don't obsess over questions. Don't fuss and fume. Don't "do" anything. Shoot again. Do the Work.

But I'll be honest with you, dear reader: I say that I want to do the work, but I stop myself from doing the Work. From shooting. Sometimes, yes, clearly it's something MS-related that keeps me in the chair or in the bed. And when that's the case, recovery is important. But there's something else, some sort of energetic/emotional/psychic anchor that I'm attached to, that let's me oh-so-easily just... not... go do the Work right now. Or today. Or, as it always seems to work out... ever.

And "doing" isn't going to get it done, or lead me to the answer to the question. Separation from the problem will reveal its solution, yes... But not denial, not avoidance, not unwillingness to fully participate in experiencing the experience. Not just staring at it.

Long ago, I realized that kyudo would show me the path through the MS wilderness. Kyudo is about being open. Offering fully to receive fully. Listening. Staying out of the way of the shooting, yet participating completely in the experience of the experience of the shooting. To fully live within the MS experience requires all of those practices.

Obsessing over finding the answer is not the answer. Do the Work. Shoot again.

Well... I guess that was the answer. Not the comfortable, clear, now-that-you-have-it-everything-is-just-ducky answer I was looking for. But, that's MS (and life) for you.

So, I've told you that I need to Do the Work. I've admitted to myself, and to you, that it needs doing.

Wonder if I'll be able to bring myself to do it?

Or to pay full attention to the experience of pushing back at it?

Or will I just stare at it?

Honestly, I don't know.

1 comment:

Muffie said...

I understand what you're saying. When I was nearing the point of my school closing, a small part of me was cheering. Knowing that I wouldn't have to keep pushing myself as I had been doing, gave me a sense of relief. On the other hand, I was devastated about the situation -- I was losing so much. Now, with two years passage of "Did I do the right thing in going on disability?" I still find myself teetering between the two emotions. Good luck with your decision.