27 of 40
I see endless homage for YOGA.
To the uniformed yoga is the synthesis of the mind and body. But to the grossly uninformed, yoga IS the body. Poses. Planking. Hot. Ennui seems undesirable here.
I think we all yoga. We fully live in our bodies. When I just about broke a wrist, froze a hand and messed up a leg 12 years ago, I truly knew my body, because parts of it were completely off line. Like every baby. No walking. No speaking. No holding. Just being in the body.
My wife reminded me childbirth does that to the adult: you can do only one, often exquisitely painful and threatening, thing – with your body.
But we try. Yoga has entire treatises. Rehab specialists spend years learning and applying. Birth Counselors, books, centers take the physical act mental, extend it to the mind. We have to.
As a completely silent, vaguely understood part or parts of me work to undo the damage done, I remain frustrated because I control nothing except getting out of the way – of the body.
When in youth there is precious little to distract from the instant read that causes a fill or a scrap that puts the body in a place to seal the gap and make a tackle. When a long dead composer compels one finger, lip, pneumatic sequence there is no understanding of why, just fulfillment of the choreography with the body.
Now the mind does most – too much. The body is maintained (I am biking in silent darkness every day) but the Greek Ideal of the Mind-Body-Sprit Balance is, for me, a luxury of focus beyond getting it done.
There are limits, and the body remains the most time-defined one: maybe in Lent, in rebuilding, in writing this the possibility lives larger.
26 of 40
It’s not easy “getting”.
The act of receiving is so passive it almost makes the received inconsequential. Anything can be given to anyone anytime for no good reason. There is no threshold or reward or achievement defined by the giver: you just gets.
I have no sense of being owed, anything. Like many from a sad beginning, nothing was learned that enabled a sense of deserving: staying on it and surviving was hoped for, not expected.
I remember walking to the bus in fifth grade in deep anger and no small rage that I had had a good dream: I had awoken with expectations – “promises” made by hope to the alone that now seemed cruel and gratuitous.
Having been declared “perfect” in the Medical technology sense, after a seminal week that removed, for a while, part of what was on the “given” side, I understand, again, the simple truth: I have asked for nothing, but have been given everything.
It’s not easy to be in permanent deficit: ask any politician.
When the rest of everything is the essence of transactual the base, reptile, unthinking, wholly natural reality is that you have earned nothing, that all you are is simply offloaded without achievement. That makes for some hard bargaining.
If you start with nothing, everything you do do brings balance into question. If everything that allows you to do anything is based on the unmerited, unearned, unrequested fact of being alive in the moment: breathing, feeling doing – are you “lucky”?
Or are you convicted and dealing with your sentence?
Many feel the latter – and drug and sex and job description themselves into parallel expression, denying accounts receivable, but rocking on the cash off the gift.
I seem to feel the former: I cannot return what has been given: I really do not understand motives: I do know I have capacity. I was given that too. My choice is to use it or binge watch everything. I have lived by doing, for good or ill – even in Lent the effort is off the unanswered expectation of “earning” anything ever.
Grace should be as easy as cotton candy. It’s a hard road.
25 of 40
Every new parent knows the terror: “It’s not Normal!”
Having been hairy eyeballed with a deeply paternal focus for 4 days, 24/7 – at first every hour, then every 2 then every 4, I can say my body temp, blood pressure, heart condition, brain function, every blessed thing except balance is “Normal”.
Given that was a hefty abnormality enuf, my guess is the 4 days attached by no fewer than 9 wires, cords and tubes made sense. Those connections between the organic and inorganic were pretty stark and their info dead clear: on average “Normal”.
Of course my body temp ranged from 97.4F to 99.6F everyday. My pressure went from lunacy at over 200 to “manageable” at under 150. I was, or soon became “Normal”. My guess is a fetal ball in a cave would have survived: but I could not know that I was “Normal” – fear would be a silent companion.
I now know I need to encourage repair: I am back on the Exercycle, typing away in silence: monitored, but doing it. I know now, like every parent whose baby beats a 104F temp that I am “Normal”.
I may be abnormally “stoic” as the Yale goddess noted with not a little disdain, but I listen – I do know – what is “Normal” and what is not, I am old enough to know change is necessary.
It is easier not to change. It is easier to stay in the cave, in a fetal position. Maybe that works out OK, but the basis is battling the unknown.
It seems better to confront and win and crouch and survive,
Honored to be a Fellow in the AIA
(I came late to the party, so this is pretty swift)
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24 of 40
“Could we, perhaps, in 3 months, take a sample of your blood?”
Having been observed by scores of filmings, pokes, tubes, wires, beeps and “draws” at one of the world’s best collections of these things, as well as over a dozen sets of eyes at every hour of the 24, it appears I am “normal”.
This was unexpected.
Enough change had been randomly imposed on the lower back of my brain that far more incapacity was expected – by every eye. All the poking showed there was no “reason” or typical outcome. For a 61 year old, I am relatively flawless. But my improving balance was all that needed attention. Quite enough, thank you – but less “enough” for them to ask my blood to be part of a study of the inexplibably undamaged.
They do not know. The extraordinarily well informed and clearly presenting Doctor was obvious to the central theme: get everything in a place and condition where it “naturally” fixes itself. She understood they only can do enough prep to allow the completely not understood can happen.
That is plenty, given the unending observation and adaptation. I was a completely honest, tho adamant client: I really wanted out. 2,000 years ago I was in a fetal position, recovering in a cave – and that therapy was still accessible to me.
But it was now: they had to know.
What do they know? A lot and growing fast: but only on that small surface of getting me into the cave, where things they only know the measured outcome of, happen. Outcomes and standards are measured better and more closely that ever. We really do begin to grok little atomic bits and the tiny forces that shape and define them – more and more, every minute. And we can extrapolatate that to more interesting and probable outcomes on a cosmic scale more completely than ever.
They know exactly how and why a specific pen falls to the floor: but no one knows the bigger “Why”, or even much about the biggest “How” of gravity: “What” happened, and will happen, is truly understood – but the “How” cannot not be accessed, and the “Why” remains completely untouched.
Scientists operate surfing on the surface of a bottomless sea. They surf better, know more, do more than ever: but the more they know the more they realize they don’t.
The legitimacy of the cave has been revealed, to both of us. I will relearn balance, they will take my blood in three months.
23 of 40
“The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good.”
Is there a bigger understatement?
It’s my guess that the majority of all action, reaction and personal risk boils down to missing the mark. It’s defined for us: “winning”, “good-better-best” or simply “I don’t care.” We latch onto a verdict and are called to confront and overturn it, or are defeated by it.
I am too fat – per a dress size, a BMI number or the reflection in Wal-Mart’s plate glass mirror – and I react.
I did not win the award, I readjust my sights, modify design/application and reapply.
I get dizzy, unstably dizzy, and I go to the hospital.
All the while so many other things are perfect, or functionally so. I am healthy (“Perfectly” so, according experts, armed with pictures, stats and Greco-Roman nomenclature). I am loved, I am doing what I have to do.
But I, and you, are imperfect.
There is no logic to perfection, because the instant the mark that confers it is obtained, there is always a much higher mark, further on. Yet I, and you, want it – perhaps not enough to lose the 10 extra pounds or effort 10 more awards – but we want it enuf that it kinda wrecks the here and now.
The idea of Zen, of balance, of perfectly inner and outer truth or beauty or balance is simply not possible for me. A tiny number of us can dance in seemingly perfect steps or think in ways or move an object with seemingly effortless ease: not so me.
My life, perhaps yours, is submerged in “getting there”. I am pretty much never arrived, finished, or satisfied. I can be exhausted, the physical realities stop progress for a while, even the rest of necessity ends the ability to focus on the things you want to do – nonetheless, it’s about not being done.
Imperfection is not a disease or even shameful. It’s normal, chronic and everlasting for some of us. I guess it’s not healthy, I guess it’s not Zen: so be it.
Old age is learning when close enuf is good enuf, for now – because the lack of satisfaction is not imperfection, it’s just not good enough.