Thursday, February 7, 2013

Alchemy; appointed tasks

People are changing.

I see it in colleagues, friends, and family. Sometimes, I'm sorry to report, for the worse; but those are the exceptions. The amazing bit is, that some--many--most, even--are changing for the better.

And not just "better;" they're changing substantially. Conventional turns of phrase would call it a "quantum change," but my physicist friends would probably grouse at that term. Rather, I would say, they are changing alchemically. Like changing lead into gold.

I see people becoming themselves. Yes, of course it has something to do with "what they're doing," but  it's more of a cooperative becoming/doing thing. These people have started doing what they need to do. What they were meant to do. What they were born to do.  What they're here on this Earth, in this reality, to do, with/for/among us. And in this transformation, they're becoming so... amazingly... radiantly... beautiful.

Now, what is one of the first things we M.S.ers learn, once we "join the neurological club"? You only have so much control, so much energy, so much... everything. Do what's most important, because you've only got so much to do it with. Choose carefully, because how you spent your fortune of time/energy/life matters very much... because you have less of it to spend than you think.

I know I'm starting to sound like a Victorian sundial (the era in which sundials that used to read "I count none but sunny hours" started reading "It's later than you think"), but we M.S.ers learn very quickly and sometimes very painfully, that every moment matters. My kyudo teacher, who is becoming a Zen monk (if he wasn't there already), teaches that there are no "unimportant" moments; walking up to the shooting line is as important as shooting, and cleaning the dojo before and after practice is as important as, if not more important than, the practice itself.

And I see more and more that we have a "thing" that we must do; because that's why we're here. To live in the moments that we live in, and do the things that we must do. That's why we're here, and that's what we're here to do.

And I see very beloved friends who have through other means come to that very same realization by traveling non-neurological roads, and they look great. Leading lives that many people would think would be tough and debilitating, they just keep looking better. More beautiful. More radiant. They are, as a friend of mine says, "spreading the shiny." Which to her thinking, and to mine too, is also what we're all here to do... to spread the shiny.

And blessed indeed are those who have found the road they are meant to travel. (What/who decided what they're "meant" to do? Not my problem; way above my pay grade. But when you see their faces, you can tell... they are indeed doing the things they're meant to be doing.)

As Galadriel told Frodo, "This task was appointed for you. If you cannot accomplish it... no one else can."

So here I am, neurologically "enhanced." I've been separated from the life I thought I was "supposed" to lead, that I very much enjoyed leading. I can't play the organ, timpani, drum set, or stand behind instruments in a percussion section; I've said farewell to the job as a high-school teacher at a place where I always imagined I'd die, Mr. Chips-style; indeed, I've said farewell to the entire "working world." I enjoyed that life, and that road, as filled with potholes as it may have been; but that road, clearly, was not my road.

And yet, I feel like this is the road that was appointed for me. I've been separated from the things, comfortable as they might have been, that kept me from this road, the road I've been appointed to travel. And now, being freed to travel it, it's time for me to travel it. With a wheelchair or whatever other assistance may be required, if that's what it'll take.

So this is indeed a gift of M.S. This is the road that was appointed for me. My doctor/acupuncturist/spiritual advisor/friend told me years ago, "You were supposed to get M.S." Well then, what am I supposed to do, now that I'm on it?

That, of course, is precisely within my pay grade. That is my task. And that...

I'm still working on. At least I know that I need to be looking for it, and that's the first step (if you'll forgive the locomotive metaphor) But, and this bit is very, very important...

I need to keep working on finding it. And then, finding it, really discovering what I'm meant to do... to actually do it.

A worthy challenge. For all of us.


Judy said...

MS has a way of engaging us in a perennial cycle of birth and rebirth. That cycle is simply different than I ever understood it in the various spiritual traditions but, still, with spiritual consequences and lessons. And, to use your nomenclature -- gifts.

Robert Parker said...

A very interesting point, Judy... I wonder, though, whether "our" (everyone's) daily cycle of rebirth is always there, but we M.S.ers just notice it differently than many others do.

I know that I see all sorts of things completely differently, now that I've been "accessorized" (as it were). Most notably, and most revealingly, what I notice most differently is...