Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A nice acupuncturing today. I seem to be back on the block-a-week plan, but at least the blocks I've been getting recently aren't as painful to clear as some that have visited me on the block-a-week route.

Some good news: the fit of wacko walking that hit me in Connecticut last week wasn't neurological (and thus not an attack/exacerbation/whatever they call such things--in short, it wasn't the MS going nuts), it was entirely muscular. A little psoas stretching, a little zero balancing, chiropractic tomorrow... things should be better. Or, at least, something that passes for better... I tend to interpret/perceive things as "not as bad" rather than "better," but to be fair, those two conditions are identical.

Had to call for a wheelchair at the airport. Walking down the skyway, that's OK. Walking the length of the terminal, with luggage in hand (which significantly unbalanced me), that wasn't OK. I didn't really take any emotional effect from it, fortunately. It did make things easier, but not so much easier that I thought "Well, this 'chair' thing is definitely for me!" I'm definitely not in a rush to use those things more often. And, I think, let's not say "not yet" because I don't want to commit to its use yet, even theoretically.

One thing that has been plaguing me for months (let's be honest, more like years; basically, around when the MS started) is gumption to get going; or, as some might put it, "motivation;" although I wouldn't describe the problem as not being motivated, but more about having "activation energy." This morning, I read an interesting article on Slate magazine about how to motivate seemingly unmotivated children. It said, among other things, that motivation is "a result of an interaction between environment and an individual's temperament ... and personality."

I spend so much time puzzling over chi, changing my ways of thinking, or biochemistry, I forgot about simple things like "environment." This is a problem I've had since before the MS... the Tibetan Buddhists say, "I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the dharma (teaching), I take refuge in the sangha (community of fellow spiritual journeyers)." I don't really have a sangha, any more. I had one at Yale... and my sangha has always been very small, at most a few people, usually somewhere between one and four. But I had one. Now, I don't. The people who I can take refuge in, and being with whom renews my spirit, aren't accessible. Facebook or e-mail doesn't cut it. I need to be with them, and I can't. They're all (a) on the other side of the country or otherwise at some huge geographic distance; (b) local but unavailable 'cause they're busy raising their children, or imprisoned by their careers; or (c) dead.

First thing that comes to mind is, "Well, then, I guess I'd better get out into the world." Second thing that immediately comes to mind is, "I don't have the energy to do that, so I guess I can't." Third thing that immediately comes to mind is "The people I do want to hang with, I can't. They're not available." So, I stay at home. And thus... I don't change my environment.

That's pretty much a paradigm death spiral, isn't it? And, I'm starting to wonder, how much of that is imposed upon me by circumstance, and how much is limitation that I'm trying consistently, diligently, and earnestly, to impose upon myself. An unthinking, knee-jerk, death spiral. The Buddhists say that attachment causes suffering; and here I am, with attachment to my own suffering... Now, that's a hell of a death spiral. Spiraling straight down into hell.

School's over in a couple of weeks; the big Commencement show is on the 13th. I will have stuff to do for the school over the summer (programming, among other things) but there's no reason I can't do that from my chair, or do that after I do things for myself, like some composition projects that I'm really looking forward to starting. And I can do it on my back porch, where I can get some fresh air.

Now there's an easy environment change. New air. New, fresh air is something that I've been craving for a while... time to pay attention to what my body is asking for.

Let's see if at least that can't be accomplished this week.

1 comment:

Karen Kahler said...

Any chance there's sangha about a block away?