It's part of my cycle these days it seems, and it's mainly triggered by thoughts and feelings of loss; more particularly the stress I experience within myself about these feelings.
Now we all know it's not unusual to die - in fact as has been demonstrated it is a virtual certainty for all of us - nor is it unusual to have some frame of time reference to work with as a supposition. What I'm saying is that I realise I'm not by any means in a unique position. What is slightly rare however is to have seemingly so much time to so slowly observe parts of my self - my physical abilities and the self-identities invested therein - slip away, and to see others waiting in line to go too. This is indeed a precious gift that I share with other autoimmune-type disease participants, and folks with other degenerative conditions. Mine is a little different from many in that its progress is quite variable and only really semi-predictable over the short term, unlike something with a more studied and reliably known action; motor neurone disease for example.
No, really, it is a gift. I can't recall if I've spoken of this here as yet, but even if that is the case it's an anecdote that bears repeating. Michael J Fox, the Canadian actor, when he 'outed' his Parkinson's Disease after largely concealing it for 6 or 7 years referred to it as a 'gift'. This caused some upset from some fellow Parkinsonians and he was moved to clarify, saying "it is a gift....it's the gift that keeps on taking." I can really relate on this one.
So the trigger for me this time has been mainly the speech thing - it's getting steadily worse and 'good talking days' are fewer and less gooder. I found myself contemplating life minus speech, as will probably happen some time soonish. Whatever that means.
OK, no problem, having a down day while processing and going through some loss is normal and fine, yes? Ultimately acceptance comes and I find myself just that little bit cleaner, just that tiny bit closer to my divine manufacturer's specifications - a bit more closely restored to the original, if you will. Only as soon as I see that this is what's happening I start to ramp up the pressure to get on with it, and this is the real problem for me. I have ridiculously exacting standards.
To be fair on myself, those standards have in the main served me extremely well. But anything one feels compelled by is a controlling and/or limiting force. Well, why all the pressure?
Good question, and I'm not sure I fully know, but I'll explore this as we go along; I hope to learn something I guess.
The first and biggest thing in my face about it is Meeta. Not that she is pressuring me, in fact quite the opposite, her support and grace in the face of this astonish me every day. We earthlings are indeed fortunate to have folks like Meeta around. So how lucky does that make me? But I digress. The pressure is that I feel like an impediment to her happiness, an unpleasant lump of discomfortable emotion in the home we share and like someone who just isn't great to be around. And this stuff is all true to some degree, but I would be false in taking responsibility for her happiness. That's just impossible. But we are a couple, a unit, one of those mysterious bringings-together of people that creat something far greater than the sum of their individualities. And sometimes she needs me and I can't be there for her because of this stuff.
There's a selfish urge in there too. Is it selfish? I guess so. Anyway, it's really hard for me to watch my wife slowly lose her husband, regardless of how graciously she mostly deals with that. It hurts me to feel her pain, and I suppose the selfish part is that sometimes as well as genuine care for her I just want to avoid that pain I have through witnessing hers. Does that make sense?
Moving right along, there's ego. "I should be able to handle/heal/clean this better than I am." Simple, ancient, persistent bullshit. I admit this factor is now but a shadow of its former self (he boasts ironically) but it's still there enough to catch me by surprise sometimes.
Of course, there's simple longing. Desire to be closer to the divine. And right down deep in this surely laudable aim, this morally high-grounded wish, is a nasty barb for me. Because it must be said, that with most every step I do take in that direction, with every bit of my accreted faux-'self' I fling off, I become a little bit less of the man Meeta married, and for a time at least, this pushes us further apart. It is really, really sad.
Meeta does not begrudge my needs at all in this. I understand (and whilst not deigning to speak for her I would posit that she accepts) that in the long run all of the pain and grief stuff makes me a 'better person' for want of a less loaded term. That means I become actually a more open, loving, easy to love man than before - in the main - but the time lag, and the learning of the new me/us/she can be sometimes difficult and distant. Born alone, die alone, I suppose.
Enlightenment pressure. It's something that can happen to anyone who is actively engaged with their own spirituality I suppose. It's where having discovered one's own ability to actually influence (if not control, certainly not control) one's growth and wellbeing, the urge to judge oneself on one's efforts or effectiveness can creep in. That's messy mind stuff, that is - but there nonetheless.
Really, I do need to just get over it. I am better at not overthinking than I used to be, so there's hope, and a trend in a useful direction.
And it is a gift. I am grateful in the deepest way.