Friday, December 17, 2010

Numbness; unattachment; Mercury

It's the last day of school of 2010. As I type this, they're having a music assembly, reprising the Big Winter Concert that showcases all the choral/instrumental performing groups.

They're doing it without me. It's the first time in a decade that I haven't been the "tech guy" manning the lights and sound for the show.

I didn't see the Wednesday night performance, I'm not seeing the Friday reprise (partly because I can't get me and the chair into a comfortable and low-chaos seating area—chaos and I, we don't get along so well any more).

And I feel ... nothing.

One might expect to feel nostalgia, for times past. Remorse, even resentment, that "they can do without me, I guess I'm not important any more." But I feel none of those. I feel nothing at all.

It's interesting, what I don't feel and about which things I don't feel. I'm looking at the precipice of "I can't walk any more," and I don't feel anything. I'm living in a state of "I can't play the organ 'right now' and maybe can't play it 'any more,'" and I don't feel anything.

But this summer, I wanted to write music. And I was sidelined by my MS experience. So I wrote nothing.

That made me sad.

It's the specificity of the desire, I think. "Walking" is kinda vague, I get around at home well enough, I have a drive-a-chair at school, my wife pushes me around in a transport chair when I need help in the world away from my drive-a-chair, so "not walking" just... is. Not playing the organ? Well, I was ready to give up weekly organ gigs a while ago, so in some ways saying farewell to that was already happening. But last summer, I wanted something very specific. I was planning on it. I was counting on it. I was looking forward to it. And I couldn't have it.

The Buddha said that attachment (as well as other things) causes suffering. Well, he was right.

I'd still like to write the piece of music that I was hoping to write over the summer—maybe that'll still happen, we'll see. I don't know if giving up wanting to write it is the correct thing to do, or that I should hold on and "tough it out" (always a questionable choice, from my point of view); I don't really own the difference between unattaching and capitulating.

Joan of Arc won by losing, maybe this is something like that.

Mercury is in retrograde, right now; a wise man told me that its lesson is that when external solutions fail, we should seek within.

Well, if anything embodies "external solutions fail," it's my journey with MS. With luck, Mercury will exit its retrograde phase with more alacrity than resolving the MS issues seems to be taking.


Muffie said...

Robert, I recognize the emotions you experience at this time-- I was there a short time ago. I couldn't feel the losses – sort of a mental paralysis. When my right hand took a permanent hiatus, I could no longer play the piano, so I just gave away the instrument – no tears, no regrets. Then I could no longer draw or paint, so I packed up the art supplies and put them away – again, no crying, no pain. Next, I could no longer do my needlework. I ranted and raved over that because I knew I should be able to at least do that. But soon, the emotions dried up and I felt nothing. Finally, I could not sign my name or even hold a pen. Still – the emotional barometer registers nothing. It’s not that I don’t care – I do, deeply – but I just can’t feel it. Maybe my immune system got bored with eating myelin and decided to taste my emotional being.
Good luck…

Peace Be With You said...

I hope this is not a cheeky or disrespectful question to ask, but regarding giving up your music writing, how do you think Beethoven felt? If it seems to you to be more essential than even something as basic as walking, it must be essential to your wellbeing. Now I'll get off my soapbox and wish you all the best, whatever you decide to do.