As a pianist, I was not very talented. Nevertheless, I enjoyed plucking away at the keys and using absolutely no skill from all the years of lessons I and my teacher had to endure. Around 2002, I began to paint with oils. I was clearly more comfortable with the visual arts. My work looked like I had been painting for a while.  As the illness progressed,  I had trouble controlling the brushes, so I began making jewelry. I made over one hundred pieces and my work was in two galleries. Many of the necklaces I made came apart because I had trouble squeezing the pliers hard enough to secure the clasps. I learned to have somebody else tightened the connections.

After I could no longer make jewelry, I began to write with my computer. When I could no longer type, I got dictation software.  With a degenerative illness, you do what you have to do within the limitations of what you can do. With each new endeavor, there was a major teaching of letting go. This was clearly an area I struggled with in the past. I tended to cling to material objects and people. I am learning to integrate the teaching of letting go, and allow myself to feel and release the grief and move forward. Ram Dass, a profound spiritual teacher, once described his feelings about His own aging. He expressed a curiosity at how his body and facial structure changed. There was a detached appreciation for a life being lived. I can bring that level of curiosity to watching the body process through degeneration. Not many people get to have this experience (fortunately). I consider it a post doc course in life.

I will say, however, that as the body weakens, something else in me is becoming stronger. It can be called light, essence, Self… I really don’t know what to call it. I can just see it reflected on other people. There is an aliveness that gets energized in other people in reaction to me. This blog is an example. The level of authenticity of the communications I’ve been getting, the courage people express, the level of intimacy has grown exponentially. It does help quell the grief.

However, sometimes I just freaking want to go skiing.