Monday, November 23, 2009

it's a ritual sacrifice, with pie

last week was one of the darkest and most painful in memory. I am glad that I made such a serious effort to make more friends this summer or I am not sure I would have made it through. I'm still having a hard time being around people for too long with the amount of pain I am in, but it helps not to be alone, too.

this week we are having an orphan Thanksgiving and I'm so excited I can barely sit still. I was playing D&D for the first time last Friday with my neighbors and we were talking about how Thanksgiving and Christmas make the first part of winter bearable. then it's January, and the Super Bowl just doesn't do it for us, and we are miserable. so sometime next year, when it's dark and minus 3 out, I'll go over to the gaymers' and make pie and roast a beast and we'll offer up a libation to the Winter gods and hope that spring comes early.

here's hoping.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Heart 9, the terminal point on the Heart meridian is located just off the inside bottom corner of the pinky fingernail. it is classified as a jing-well point, and so clears heat, which can manifest as anxiety, racing thoughts, heart palpitations, or mania. because it is a Wood point, it nourishes the Fire of the Heart- when the Heart is low on fire, it can become deficient in qi. since the Heart stores the spirit, if it is deficient in qi, the spirit will grow restless because it's uncomfortable- like being too tired to sleep.

sticking a needle into Heart 9 is pretty painful, but it's a pretty fast way to clear the heart-pounding, breath-taking anxiety of a dark-too-early-wolves-are-coming-out November evening. it sure beats heating a knife on the stove til it glows and taking off a few layers of skin with it.

a friend from Back Home came in town a few days ago and we met up at the coffee shop for awhile. he's the exec chef at a lodge out in Big Sky, Montana and he's spending his off-season vacation cooking at a couple different places here. I'm a little jealous, honestly. I miss cooking, the bustle, the "stillness that underlay the din," the feeling of for once in my life being graceful as I pirouetted and sidestepped from salamander to deep-fryer to grill to my station and then over to the reach-in and around to plate a dessert a salad a special app ready to go on table 12 ok let's fire fire fire... still, my life is quieter now and I'm trying to be content with what I have.

comparing notes on friends from our high school, I realize that I am one of the only kids I know who went through Second Chance and is actually over being crazy. I was caught on that hook for years. it's hard to shake that label when you get it over and over from doctors and parents and friends. it's hard not to become what people expect you to be. I know I moved here to start over, 4 years ago, but it took me until last fall to really let go of that part of my identity. I mean, I'm plenty weird. I'm eccentric as hell, but I'm not afraid of myself anymore.

when the pain gets intense at the end of the day and I am alone I still look forward to this life being over, but I have so much more I want to do. I want to fix people with needles and herbs. I want to move someplace warm and raise goats. I want to learn to make love stay. I want to believe that the joy will outweigh the pain.

Today I listened to the new Lady Gaga song about 50 times. it seems to help.

so does remembering summer.

red dirt

Monday, November 09, 2009

but am I?

I had a lovely summer. I learned to be happy, I pushed my limits, I made new friends. I was more than just my sickness; I was someone you'd want to be around. People started asking me for advice: how do I quit smoking, what vitamins should I take, how should I change my diet, can you cure my cold.

we're well into autumn, with just over a month left before the shortest day of the year. as the light begins to decline the respites from pain grow few and far between. I'm trying to come up with better coping mechanisms for Incipient Winter Doom. I got a light therapy box, a shit-ton of vitamin D, and I've been ingesting a ridiculous amount of anti-anxiety/depression/pain herbs, both Chinese and European.

I have a tendency to let myself slip too far down into the Black Dog hole. I have a tendency to let the physical anxiety from consistent high pain levels create mental obsessions over things that are out of my control. I confuse a desire to hurt less with a death wish. I forget how much better things are when it's warm outside.

Pain is a time warp. It's long-term memory damage. It's being forever stuck in the present. If I were more than just a lazy Buddhist, I'd be ok with it. instead I think maybe there's such a thing as too much mindfulness. sometimes I hurt so much that it gets hard to breathe.

Pain is an endless rick-rolling and I can't Force Quit.

Until April or May, then, the best I can do is turn on my light-box, take my vitamins, drink my potions, hope that Corydalis yanhusuo doesn't tolerate too rapidly, and try to fill my life with as many distractions as possible.

Until April or May, I'll dig my toes into the clay and keep pushing this heavy, heavy rock uphill.

(and keep watching House.)

It is during that return, that pause, that Sisyphus interests me. A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself! I see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock.