Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Responding Creatively and Compassionately to changes in the Body

Seeing as the G-ds I worship are creativity and balance (and probably the two are one, with creativity being the dynamic expression of the movement towards balance, and balance being the still field from which movement emerges) it behooves me to articulate how people may respond to changes in their body, and how they human creativity expresses itself in the abilty to adjust to diminished physical ability.

I have been struggling to walk the way I used to - I was always a big walker - and now walking requires more effort and concentration - since I sprained my ankle over a year ago. I first noticed that my walking had become more tentative about two years ago when emerging from a swimming pool and walking on the wet tiles. This may have been because there was already slight proprioceptive loss, and being in the water without orientating surfaces can apparently exacerbate this.

But it was when I was in Israel in Haifa walking on the tayelet (promenade) and found it very difficult even just to walk on a level pavement (these things often seem to happen when elsewhere, as it did with my mom on holiday at a place called at Duiwelskloof, when she got the first indications of cancer) that I became scared, because it was so strange and new - not being able to easily do something as elementary and taken for granted by myself as walking. That was an episodic attack, and it receded, but now that these bouts have become a more or less ongoing issue I have responded creatively to it, and put in place tens of little strategies to deal with what may or may not be a new emerging norm. These include the way I move my feet, using a shoppong trolley if feeling particularly shaky, choosing my footware carefully and so forth.

A vital part of all this is the languaging of the situation - what words are used to describe whatever is happening. "Changes" is a much more neutral term than "ageing" which again has a different feel to it than "degeneration". And tis would be true of everything...the story we tell paints what we see and how we interact with what is arising in our field of vision.

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