Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Simple Buddhist in a Parkinsonian World.


“Every sickness has an alien quality, a feeling of invasion and loss of control that is evident in the language we use about it.” ~ Siri Hustvedt, The Shaking Woman, or A History of My Nerves 

You may have noticed I didn't post yesterday - it was the first time in over a year that I have felt the need to stay quietly tucked away.

I love to write, as many of you now well know - but more so, it's so very important to me to 'stay connected.' In an odd sense, I've grown accustomed to your energy here - which has more than once uplifted me on even my most challenging of days.

In many ways, the energy that you share here with me each day - has become the cornerstone of my gratitude. It's that very gratitude that holds my connection so firmly to hope - and hope, is something we all need along our way.

I don't care how tough you think you might or ought to be - hope, is just as necessary as the air that we breathe.

And, I've done a hell of a lot of breathing lately.

Suffice to say, and back to my earlier point - for me not to write, is generally an indication of something awfully very big going on.

And, awfully very big it was. So much so, that I turned my energy inwards - to a space that I felt needed me more. I think we very much need to make these special allowance for ourselves - to offer our spirit the same care we might share with others.

So that in the end, whatever 'it' is - we can brush it off, breathe again...and soldier on. We need these moments, that space...to assess our circumstances...and make adjustments so that we may remain grounded in even the most unsettling of chaos.

This is what I did with my yesterday.

I often view my life as one big, long...endless meditation....applying only those pieces of my practice that most support a softening and settling in.

And, it has nothing to do with walls or barriers or preconceived notions of acceptance and tolerance...it just is.

I was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease - which is a progressive, and incurable, neurodegenerative disorder affecting primarily my interaction with the rest of this world. Because, scientists are not yet quite sure the cause - treatment can prove to be, quite tricky, at best. 

And, as evidenced by this 'travel bag' of medication I now carry with me each day.

Want to know where I was a little more than a year ago? Drinking green smoothies and popping an occasional aspirin. 

Life can certainly come at you fast. That's why, it's so very important to slow down...to breathe...to relax

I mean, how do you expect to soften when you're body is pulled so tightly to tense? 

But, I digress...

My dears, as part of this settling in - I've had to make a few very important decisions. Some, I suppose, were much easier...for example, 'how will I keep up my beautiful garden?'

And others, were a little more difficult...

Who will take care of my kids?

How will I continue to make ends meet?

What happens next?

You see, there's an aspect of 'balance' that never gets taught on that yoga mat...it's learned by way of living our lives...falling hard...and getting back up again. Learning to let move on from even our deepest of wounds.

And, you have to tend to those wounds...

My tending included whittling down my personal Facebook page to only those closest to me, and...so that I might have the means to communicate more freely all of these things that they are asking of me.

In doing so, I inadvertently stepped on a few toes. One set belonging to a writer at elephant journal - who posted this article about the ugliness of my actions.

In this article, she referred to my actions as immature - attaching only her perception to the reality at hand.

She reacted without ever knowing. As a result - I feel obliged to share these details of my life with all of you right here.

To some, my actions may be viewed as 'self-ish'...but I rather like to think of them as 'self-nurturing,' instead.

Self-ish implies an inability to look outside of ourselves to the needs of others - to see that we are all part of one human family...and to lose sight of this most sacred connection.

I promise you dears, no matter how great the challenge - your most beautiful spirits shall never be diminished in meaning. And, I promise you for the rest of my time here on earth - I shall continue to give my love unconditionally.

Likewise, I may sometimes need a little rest - my only hope is that you'll understand.

And, to the person I have most certainly unsettled - my dear, this is my life...my disease...my decision...and, I get to choose the best way to handle it.

That doesn't make us aggressive, hate-filled ogres - it means simply that we are human.


And, in the end, I'd rather be a stumbling, shaking mess than to suffer this disease called 'judgement.'