Sunday, June 7, 2009

Reset, Restart, Focus or Saved by Cheese Curls

Lately, I have caught myself being jealous of my computer software. "Microsoft Word has encountered a problem and needs to close." I wish I could close every time I encountered a problem. Instead, I slog onward,trying to soldier past all of my problems. I have felt myself stretch thin and thinner. The problems seem to weigh more and more, pressing me down until I am a smear. Finally, something gave.

I have been trying for weeks to figure out how to get some home health help. Advertising for a PCA through the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living hasn't worked, possibly because I don't live on an easy bus route and/or because I don't need enough hours of help. Market rate is about $20 an hour for a minimum of four hours. If I paid that, I would be spending my entire income on the help. I make too much for any of the programs to which I have been referred. Should I move? Should I quit my job? Would it "help" to get divorced? Investigating all of this has been time-consuming and maddening.

Two things helped. First,a friend of mine suggested that reviewing my "core values" would make any decisions easier. Second, in a totally immature response to my towering anger over the way "the system" works, I decided to stop eating. If "the system" wasn't going to help me, I would literally take my marbles and go home. My family (after a certain amount of grief) would be better off. No more living their lives around my limitations. No more sacrificing their financial health on my behalf. (A recent study found that multiple sclerosis is one of the most expensive diseases one can have.) My determination to starve myself to death lasted about two hours and then Ralph opened a package of cheese curls. "I will just have one or two," I thought. Of course I ate a handful. In no time, I had decided that any resolution so easily undone by cheese curls was not destined for success.

A quick trip through the history of this blog and it's obvious my life has become focused around playing defense against the medical and financial repercussions of my illness. This is not my core value! This is not what I want to be about!

I decided to use my computer software as a role model: I shut down. I kept up appearances. I kept going to work. I did church tasks. I provided transportation to my daughter. Underneath, though, I was waiting.

After time spent in Overwhelm, I purposely moved into Incubation. Now I am out.

I have chosen for my life to be about the creative process. I will not give that up, not for the disease, not for the system. That is my core value. My life and this blog will focus on understanding every part of my life as creative process.

A new beginning.

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