Memorial Day

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Memorial Day:
While in Jamaica, my wife and I had a talk with a navy seal instructor. He was drunk as a skunk, but he could still swim across the 1/2 length Olympic length pool before coming up for breath. While we were talking to him, I told him I was happy he and his men were out there fighting so we could live the life we do with all options open for us and our kids. I was very touched when he said he was going to bring back the story of our family when he goes back to the U.S. Of course he was drunk enough for me to doubt if he remembered us the next day, but one of the interesting parts of our discussion was his telling us how all of his successful recruits have come from people who have experienced some of life’s worst. He said all his men had lost something or some one near and dear to them, and from this loss came strength to deal with future hardships. Many had lost their parents or siblings. Coming from somebody else, it would have seemed trite or like something on a greeting card. From him, it rang true. On this Memorial day, I give thanks for all those who have in the past and are today giving up so much for us. Stay healthy and strong.
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In the past week, I’ve gotten to see what I think are common reactions at opposite ends of a spectrum. When my son was scared of the thunder and lightning, I explained to him how to tell how far away the lightning was. When he realized he could count to answer questions about the lightning, it ceased to be scary. Some knowledge combined with some answerable curiosity proved to be a stronger emotional event than the fear of the storm.
.On the other end of the spectrum, I was listening to a radio interview with Brad Pit, and he was talking about how the unknowable and incomprehensible aspects of God are some of the parts which comfort him most. As I think about this approach from an agnostic point of view, I completely understand on an emotional level. The very lack of comprehension as to the exact nature of God allows for hope as to the purpose of our lives and major events. As somebody who has come to the point where I no longer claim any certainty as to what God is or whether Gods is more accurate than God, I do find some comfort in hoping for purpose beyond just what I see. I wouldn’t change what I do if there isn’t more, but I still hope.

On the comfort from the lack of knowledge front, I had my first experience with hypnotherapy this weekend. I explained to the doctor my reluctance to rely overly much on drugs for pain management because most of the drugs don’t work for me. As it stands now, I am on what for most is the final line of defense before using drugs with side effects making a work condition mind an impossibility. So I was happy she took an hour out of our pig roast Memorial day celebration to help me. Even as it was working, I found my mind trying to understand the mechanism, as if the knowing would make the feelings more “real.” Having MS for almost 5 years, I should know better. There doesn’t have to be a biological “cure” any more than there needing to be a physical nail in my head for me to feel it.

My mind needs more discipline to learn to let go trying to understand. The doc asked if I had a controlling personality, and I said only when it comes to my own body. I expect it to do what I tell it. Oddly, the trance technique she taught was all about the listening to everything your body says from texture of the sandals on my feet to the weight of my wedding ring. Once paying attention, the memory of previous feelings can influence current physical sensations. I will definitely have to practice entering into a trance for something other than going to sleep. As it gets hotter this summer, I’m happy to have another non-pharmaceutical tool for dealing with pain and the exhaustion it sometimes brings.  She says the trance state is easier to enter with practice.

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