I started round 3 of my chemo last Friday and seem to be reacting as before. Not bad, just tired. Second treatment of this round will be this Friday.
We’ve rescheduled our trip till the end of Round 4 (late March). That was when my doctor was certain I could swim. We are coming St. John – yes we are!
Nathan is back at school and doing very well. His mood and energy are good. He has returned to fencing and is determined to get back his performance back to where he was before his extended absence and even get better.
Ken continues to support us all, often driving me where I could drive myself. But I’m always grateful when traffic hits and I can close my eyes and rest rather than keep my eyes on the road and my hands on the wheel. Happy Valentines Day honey.
Recently I’ve been thinking about a lecture by a Hindu Guru I attended back in my teen years. He was talking about the human need to label sensations. To label them immediately and immovably and then hold onto that definition. His context was how you might label the sensation of a spiritual practice such as breath exercises (pranayama) or a deep meditative moment. He saw people label sensations as painful or in some way negative when they were just sensations and experiences. This comes to mind because there are times when I can name a sensation as pain or ‘pulling”, pain or “pressure”. A cramp or a tightness? I can label the sensation of hairlessness as cold or “fresh”, a shower hairless as inadequate or “weirdly honest, just me and my skin doing this shower thing”. How far can I go with pausing in my labeling of sensations, to come to a more refined characterization that allows for nuance and pause? I’m not sure. But I can do better than I do.
I just finished “A Man Called Ove: A Novel” by Fredrik Backman. I recommend it wholeheartedly. The book is about a man who on a happy day is a curmudgeon, and most of the time is a lot less pleasant than that. He makes a friend and one of her insights about him is “that Ove didn’t know how to bear his nameless anger. He needed labels to put on it. Ways of categorizing.” In short Ove often fights the wrong fight – the one that is a sidebar to his real anger and sadness and loss. He fights what is in front of him, not the truth behind what is in front of him. So he fights the men in white shirts who want him to put his wife in a nursing home, but perhaps doesn’t so much feel the direct sadness and anger at her disability and how it happened.
How much of that do I do? How much of the time when I’m mad at the person on the phone denying an insurance benefit, or wasting my time through endless time on hold is it really my disease I’m angry at? How much am I labeling a sensation just for the reassurance of having a name to give that experience, even if a slower more nuanced approach might yield a different more profound and insightful label?
Graceful dancer – Let Alexa pause before labeling, let her perhaps not even need to label at all that sensation, that demand on her time and energy. Give her more energy for being, and less for labeling. Let her feel that gift for herself. Let me feel it for me if it fits. Blessed be.