Friday, January 29, 2016

Art imitates life

A fantastic acupuncture treatment this week, it was indeed. Effective and, as always in the Five Element Classical Acupuncture world, quite poetic.

But my acupuncturist also spoke with me about my relationship to ever-so-many "can'ts," and she suggested that attention and energy should be put into the "cans" There are indeed things that I still can do, even though said things may not be in the list of things I was used to or things that I liked or even the way I was accustomed, even practiced, doing.

For example, the truth is that yes, thing X is a thing I can do. Not in the same way that I used to, perhaps not in a manner that I'm happy with, but that doesn't change the "can-ness" of simply being able to do it. Things may come with it that I don't particularly enjoy, certainly not things that I would choose, but none of those change the essential "can-ness" of simply being able to just plain accomplish it.

She echoed something that I've been pondering for a while... There's a lot about the MS Experience that is at least at the moment unalterable or completely unknown in its alterability, but consciousness-- that, I can change.

First change: Stop fixating on the way I do things, and look to the result, which on the bottom line, may still be quite reachable. Just via a different road. May be bumpy and have lots of gnarly stuff on said road, but the destination may still be very reachable.

So, do something. It'll get me closer to the goal. Don't dwell on the changes that have happened to the manner in which I have always reached the goal.

Or in the words of the beloved civil-rights-era song, "Keep you eyes on the prize... Hold on!"

Life imitates art... sometimes, it needs to.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Oh well

Yesterday was Big. Very Big.

A friend took me off-campus yesterday. I wanted to Get Some Stuff, but I knew I only had so much energy, so we prioritized. We went to the place where I get my best and most favorite oolongs, and I figured I'd take my friend to lunch as well; the tea shop abuts a nice and also favorite restaurant, and I figured my friend would never have gone to somewhere like this. "Chinese restaurants" are different from "Taiwanese restaurants," as a chef I figured he'd spot the difference in flavor quite quickly. I prefer the Taiwanese, even for things like ma po tofu, they're better, by my account.

I had also maybe hoped to get a new iPhone, but neither of us was into an Apple Store excursion. My friend hates the place, he says it's like dealing with the Borg.

As it turns out, there's an AT&T store two doors down from the tea place, so we popped in there and got what I needed. They even did the "stuff transfer" from the old to the new, which my friend told me they wouldn't do at the Apple Store he went to when he was looking for his. 

Well, I had to hang out there to supply passwords and such during the phone-activation process, and that took way longer than I had hoped, but I got the new phone! And then we went to the tea shop and got the tea and fed my friend.

As for me, I was toast. I had maybe a dozen bites of my yummy lunch, and that was all I could take. That was all I could take for dinner, too. Energetically, yesterday was terrifyingly expensive... I'm not driven to say "never again," but it's gonna be a while before I ask to go out again, I don't know if I'll ever want to go out for eating because being that low on energy destroys what little ability I have to eat things. Which is pretty damned low already.

I'm thinking, at least wait until it gets closer to or actually into spring; maybe the warmth of the season will warm me up energetically enough to just go to one place, do one thing. We'll see...

I'm getting acupuncture today... it'll be interesting to see what yesterday cost me from her point of view.

"Normal life" is clearly not the "normal" I'm used to.

Not a surprise, but not even air-quotes "fun."

Oh well.

Monday, January 25, 2016


Well, to follow up on the last post and the hopes for another off-campus adventure...

Didn't happen, alas. I knew by the middle of the morning that it was a "sounds nice, but ain't happening" kind of idea. My wife did make it to the film, and apparently it was really quite wonderful.

I might have asked to be taken home by the time I got there. Leaving the house, the bed even, was not a good idea.

Oh well.

I do still have something to do today at home; a life coach will be making a house call. I look forward to our conversation... She always has great ideas to offer me, even if what I have to offer is in getting-things-accomplished terms a non-starter. In football terms, it's hard to coach a guy to throw a ball if he ain't got the strength to come to the field and just hold the ball.

And staying in that metaphorical world... again, I'm called to a consciousness change. I can condemn my own condition, and not even try to hold the ball, or I can recognize that just wrapping my fingers around the ball is a victory, even a small one. Can that become a throw? Again, gotta change consciousness... To take the victory in the simple "just do what you can" world, because even the best QB in the world can only do what they can.

It's not a deferred "just give up," it's the simple truth of the moment. Doing something is different from doing nothing. What comes of it? Doesn't matter, and doesn't effect the victory-in-itself of the moment.

I spend a lot of time in "don't even try because nothing can come of it" mode, and Lord knows I've brought "denial" to the level of a national pastime.

On the MS Highway, there's not much to be done in the "being afflicted by MS" world, we do what we can but does it do any good? Who knows, but we keep trying anyway.

Physician, heal thyself, as the Good Book says. And the first thing that needs to be changed is the only thing over which I have 100% control.


It all starts there...

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sounds easy

Yesterday was indeed a Big Day. I went off campus, I left the house to GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. I dunno about "flourished," but I did better than just "survive." It was energetically expensive, but it was worth it.

I went for the first time in, oh my, years, to my clubhouse... Hollywood's Magic Castle.
Friends from the Mystery School were there, in part to celebrate the School's 25th year. And to just celebrate together. A mini-reunion!

I am scheduled to go Off Campus again later today, to see a silent movie accompanied by a live theater organ. I hope I'm up to it, when the time to go comes.

But just going off campus is HUGE for me. I used to do it daily. I haven't done it, quite literally, for months. Do I want to do more? Maybe... Maybe not. I suppose that's the relapse-y remit-y thing, the "Some days good, some days bad," sort of thing, but I think it's deeper than just that. I'm on the bottom line pretty wither-y, doing lots of  lying in bed and drowsing while listening to favorite cartoons. No music writing, nothing even vaguely musical... And the Mystery School faculty, who were very pleased with my in-person presentations, are telling me to video-blog what I have to offer. I suppose I can quite easily still think about such things while lying in bed, but the mechanics of actually doing the video-blog thing are currently not in easy reach. "Things being in easy reach" is indeed a thing us wheelchair folks know a lot about...

So, more as it happens. Or doesn't. Or does, but only sort of. Or surprises me.

Just like, y'know, life.

...Which we are all called upon to engage. To fully commit, simply to being alive, however we can, as often as we can.

Sounds easy, don't it?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Just like...

Did something huge yesterday.

Went to an MD to get This Thing looked at. MD told me that things are doing great, I'm doing things great, maybe this antibiotic will be a good idea (I've taken it many times before, it's tolerated quite well), and he answered some questions.

That wasn't Big. What was Big was leaving campus. Getting into the car and going somewhere. Which I haven't been doing a lot of, over the past few months.

I'm looking at leaving campus again in a couple of days. See some friends, whom I miss and I'm very sure have also missed me. And The Event is only a couple of hours long, so my off-campus commitment, time-wise, is gentle. There'll be plenty of processing to do, of course, but that's actually good. It needs doing.

And with luck, all of this will actually happen. And if all goes well, it'll be fun, even.

We on the MS Highway, we take what we can get. Who knows what it'll bring?

And there we go again. It's just like...


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Perceive and ...

A new yet wonderful discovery, here on the MS Highway.

I'm puddling about in the kitchen this morning, making whipped matcha to get my morning started, and as I pull out the drawer holding teaspoons and such, which I need to stir up my ever-so-yummy medicinal herbs which are also part of the daily ritual (ah, the "tasty" world of Chinese medicine), and as I pull out the drawer, I feel like I'm seeing it for the first time.

I've been opening drawers in this house for at least 20 years. I've opened them several times a day for every day of those 20 years.

And yet today, that experience feels new. And wonderful, in its beautiful simplicity.

A side-effect of spending a lot of time in a wheelchair, practicing noticing things "for the first time." REALLY noticing things. Like sitting n the veranda and smelling the changes in the air. Like seeing how the color of the light the sunlight shining on the trees changes with the time of day. Like watching the birds visiting and kvetching with each other. Different every day, every hour. I get a lot of practice just noticing things. And what I notice is always ... quite amazing. Quite wonderful!

So wheelchair or not, confinement to a whatever-it-might-be or not, this is something I can suggest to each of you--also MS or not.

Just notice. Just pay attention.

You may very well find... something wonderful.

Today is different from any other day. People call it "the same as always," but it's  not. It's different.

So then, find something just to perceive. And perceive it. No matter what it is. REALLY perceive it.



Friday, January 15, 2016

Who knew?

Nothing tumultuous to report. Only quiet changes of mind. Self-discovery, even. And shared joys.

My wife and ever-generous caregiver had to take herself to our beloved acupuncturist/MD, so another friend sat with me on "Robert watch." He made us both sandwiches, he made himself coffee (I haven't had it for something like 20 years, but I still enjoy the smell of beverage prepared exquisitely, which my friend always does).

Shared with my friend one of the sweetest Steven Universe episodes... one that always makes me cry with happiness. It is heart-warming and in its warming, it becomes heart-rendingly sweet.
YouTube has a bunch of clips, but if you have the right kind of Cartoon Network access, you can see the entire episode, which I strongly recommend.

Had a few moments since my last e-chat with you, dear readers, that fall into the category of what Ram Dass calls "There I go again." The friend who sat with me the other day and I had similar "employment-exit" experiences, and for both of us they were also life-changing in a good way, particularly in the "getting the toxic out of our lives" way. I remember my mother's stay in the hospital a few years ago; she had spent the day on the operating table, she had just been delivered from the recovery room back to her bedroom, and yet after having gone through surgery for hours, she looked better to have the nasty definitely toxic and no longer needed "whatevers" removed. A day of surgery, and she looked better.

The "toxic" in me (that I presume afflicts my friend too, since we sounded very similar when we were talking about this) is that I have not been able to come to peace with "Forgive them for they know not what they do." Staying mad doesn't help me get better, certainly; feeling justified in being angry still leaves me poisoned by anger.

So what does my MS Experience have to say about this, for me? Well, first and foremost, my nervous system has enough trouble doing things like "move that foot four inches to the right," I really don't need to use what little nervous system I have on being pissed off. At something that doesn't exist; the Whatever from which I took pretty severe effect was quite literally years ago; it happened, and then the happening of it went away forever. So, I'm taking effect by holding a grudge against something that doesn't exist.
Yeah, that's a good idea.

A phrase I heard a lot when I was the organist for a Science of Mind church, was "I bless you and release you to your good." But that requires two steps: Bless, and release. Neither of which I'm doing with the Whatevers at which I persist in being angry. Especially also because I don't know the reasons behind the reasons, which are the True As True Gets reasons behind the Whatevers that transpired. None of which I'll ever know... and the knowing of which definitely don't belong in the category of Things to Make Me Feel Better. Even knowing said Truths would still leave me in the position of needing to do some serious forgiveness. Which, for some reason, I still have some problems with. Ah, attachment...

So, apparently, that's my homework.

MS as a gateway to forgiveness.

Who knew?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Today's prescription

A very powerful day, yesterday.

My wife and I had a very loving conversation. Very necessary, but very loving. "Tell the truth with love" really, REALLY, works.

I got acupunctured as well. (After, not during, aforesaid conversation.) Five-Element acupuncture is all about telling the truth with love, and listening very carefully. Profound, gentle, and beautiful. And those of you to whom such things are foreign would be surprised to hear that, except for a point or two, it really doesn't hurt.

Plus, we had a great conversation about cartoons her daughter might like, and I loaned her my box of what they call in the English version Moribito. Great for teenage daughter... the central protagonist, Balsa, is a shapely woman, but it's not about her shape. Balsa can be a real bad-ass. Who changes the world.
So, that's the no-side-effects prescription for today. Tell the truth with love, listen, and in changing yourself, change the world.

Not bad for non-animated folks like us.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


The New Year proceeds at its own rate. Astronomical things tend to do that, e.g., rotation of the planet and such. My wife's mother is heading back to Louisiana today, and it has been a fun and miraculous time with her on this glorious visit!

Had a nice coaching session with my life coach. She's not in the Coaching MSoids business, but she's great at "get out of your own way" to see and suggest solutions that are very much worth trying.

It's a good line of thought-changing for all of us MSers, and non-MSers alike. Whatever it is and wherever you hope to go, why not try? Don't limit yourself. And the "try" doesn't have to be HUGE try, it's just... try. And what's to lose? It may be something you already don't have, so there isn't any "losing" even possible.

I've been in an energetic death-spiral for quite a while... I describe myself as not having enough energy to do the things that give me energy... but that's also "old thinking." Coach was very big on "do SOMETHING, doesn't really matter what, and the doing of 'something' is actually BIG doing, not small doing."

What we can't do could fill several football stadiums. Well, I also can't out-think Neil deGrasse Tyson, can't jump to Mars, can't stop the rain. So why put all my attention into the "can'ts?" What I can do, I can do, so why not do it?

Or, at the very least...


Saturday, January 2, 2016

I suppose...

New Year is pretty much the same as the old, so far. Got a couple of interesting e-mails, the B2 flew over our house on its way to the Rose Parade.

And, of course, the usual list of Things I Gotta Ask The Doctor Folks. I'll spare you the details, but there are definitely a few things that would fall into a favorite cartoon character's shout of "What the what?!?"
If something worth sharing comes of said conversations, I will. I expect, though, that it'll come down to "Yeah, that happens sometimes." Give me the actual cause, and it will still boil down to "Yeah, that happens sometimes."

That was pretty much my reaction to receiving The Diagnosis. "You have multiple sclerosis," he said. "Well, it was going to be something, eventually," said I.

I have been working with a life coach... who, I think, may not have as much experience with outliers like myself. One of her worksheets asks what goals you have and, basically, what are you doing to get them. One of the one-word categories was "Health." I haven't quite decided how to answer that... Perhaps "Yep. I'm for it. Don't have it, but I'm for it."

A little web-site poking--now, that's a project that's definitely waiting to be done, a whole web-site re-organize. Well, I'm for it, at least. The first step is thought, and at least I'm still good at doing that.

As for what's really next... Who can say?

I'm for it, I suppose...