Sunday, March 27, 2011

Seeking distraction, and no wonder

I wonder why this has been such a bad week for me - one in which I often sought distraction in the form of games on my PC or my new Droid, damn that thing.  It is a seductive toy.  Angry Birds, Bubble Shooter, Tetris, as far as I can see, all these games reach a level you simply can't solve.  Some people can, especially kids, their quick reflexes, their plastic little minds, plastic in the sense of fluid, growing, changing.  I can't.  They just get too fast for me, so I plug away at it in frustration, one damn level over and over.  I am a little ashamed to confess it in writing.

This bad week - on Wednesday I was positively ADD, or do they call it ADHD now?  I wasn't really hyperactive physically, my mind was.  Attention deficit hardly describes it, falls laughably short.  Couldn't walk across a room without forgetting why I was doing that.  Had to focus hard on my goal.  And never felt I was doing the right thing, what I should be doing.  Always getting distracted.

ADD was never a problem for me.  Moodswings, yes.  I know what hypermania is, and this wasn't it.  This was like a certain beloved woman I once knew - always distracted by some other thing, flitting about.  I sometimes thought it was a response to her basic dissatisfaction.  Maybe anxiety.  Was that it with me?

Well, I am anxious about a pending cystoscopy which in theory hurts so little they don't even bother with a local anaesthetic, let alone put you out.  If I want my mind numbed before they put a scope in my urethea, I'll have to do it myself.  In theory, in Zen you experience everything, and pain is just a sensation, and it passes. In practice, I have been deeply troubled by any invasive test, from pelvic exam to colonoscopy.  A camera in your bladder?  A tube at least the width of a pencil?  I did have something like that (a Foley catheter) in for four days after the transplant.  It wasn't exactly painful, more profoundly annoying all the time, bearing in mind that I was being helped by anesthetic hangover and periodic morphine for the post-surgical pain.  At that time I constantly sought distraction by reading mystery novels.

Another anxiety about this:  if the freight train of recent urinary tract infections (seven now) is not caused by something in the bladder, then we're talking nephrectomy, removal of the "native" kidneys.  More fun. More being down and losing physical conditioning, which is a huge problem right now, leading to inflammation in the sacroiliac and the rotator cuff.  Constant pain and limitation from these things.  Just started PT for these problems, and how I'd like to be able to continue and build some fitness.  When you're fit you don't know how lucky you are.

Well, all this fooling around thinking about it suggests to me that waiting for this [obscenity deleted] procedure is a problem for me.  Believe me, I have worked hard on the anxiety related to abuse over the years since my father died and I began to remember what he did to me.  But you know, you are what you are, you are the sum of your experiences.  You cannot fix yourself, that's not what therapy achieves, and that's not what being a buddha means, it doesn't mean you transcend your self, your form, and rest on a fluffy pink cloud.  As I get it, a buddha is one who is aware, not only of the present moment, but of all it contains, at times aware of the megapixels of karma, the long trail leading up to where and who you are right now.  Aware of how you feel.  Distractions, games, stories, novels, movies, busy busy talking and so on, these things take you away momentarily, dis-tract.  There it is in the online dictionary:  distraction:  an obstacle to attention.

There is some help in Buddhism.  In fact, it is right upfront in the Noble Truths.  Number one:
Life is suffering.
Zen, like every other religion I know, has The Answer.  As far as I know.  And it is:  Sit with it. When I'm like this, I don't want to sit.  Don't want, like my grandson used to cry out when he was a baby, just about his first words.  Am not going to sit right now, it's time to get dressed for church, where I will sit and sing and listen to the choir and the sermon, and sometimes cry.  An older woman I know once said to me, "I always cry in church."  Maybe that's what it's for.

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