ALS as a meditation: for sure it forces me to eat consciously, walk consciously, and drink my tea, coffee and especially water consciously. All the activities that were automatic, and done with out thinking; now thrust me into the present moment due to their difficulty. I breathe with awareness as well as it takes something for me to breathe deeply and consistently.
Before ALS, I was a voracious intense consumer. Of everything. Water, wine, sex, work, conversations, words…if I wanted it I wanted alot of it. NOW. My appetites were varied and slow to be satisfied. I would often push the boundries of my experience to get “enough” to feel full. Currently, I have the experience of being satisfied with very little, limited in amounts and variation of all of the above, perhaps with the exception of work.
All that I knew myself to be, is leaving me. As my capacities contract, my IDENTITY morphs. In so far as my identity is related to my talents, proclivities, and preferences, who I have trained myself to be is being stripped away, layer by layer, skill by skill, silenced by the desintegration of muscle and nerve. I am the semollier who cannot taste without flinching as sour tastebuds have intensified. The dancer who has no balance, the power lifter who cannot rise from a squat. The creative cook who can no longer prep on her own, I can’t even cut my own meat on my plate anymore. Most importantly to me, I am the voice who can no longer sing, seduce, or command attention from the front of the room. I can’t tell a joke, or instigate laughter with my funny accents and quick wit- the wit is quicker than the tongue and much is lost in translation. Most often I don’t even try anymore.
So, many of the things that made me “me” are falling away…what I could count on myself for as my identity is shifting. I feel like an abstract of my former self, a minimalist rendering of the woman who went before. It occured to me that I’m half way there, half way to the distilled version of myself who’s sole capacity is to think. All the other functions of life will have to be done for me but I’ll still be here~ brain kicking in hyperdrive, romping through trains of thought without distraction. Thankfully, I have trained myself to think and inquire,so on one hand it sounds kind of peaceful, only being capable of awareness, mindfullness. A thinking woman’s life of comtemplation enshrined and encapsulated in a barely functioning body, an odd sort of luxury.
Of course there is to distinguish thinking from mindfullness. Mindfullness as a way of life I can get into. Thinking is my favorite past time, what else is a high powered brain to do? It looks like I’ll have time enough for both, and as long as it seems relevant I’ll keep communicating what I’m thinking. And let’s have it make a difference.