Chronic

G gently rocked me back and forth. “It’s six o’clock. Here’s your tea…” “Do you want to go back to sleep? I’ll come back at 6:30.”
“I’m awake. I’m getting up now. I want to write.”
The word in my head is “chronic.” I heard it yesterday and it stuck. Words are like that for me. If I hear a word and it’s new to me or used in an unusual way it sticks and waits for the time when I can explore it.
“Chronic” is followed by symptom in my world. A client comes to me and tells me the story of her chronic symptom. “This chronic pain in my back is constant, unceasing and unrelenting.” This is usually a symptom with origins that date to a time in the past.
The chronic symptom’s antonym is “acute.” The client who reports an acute symptom is experiencing intense, heightened, severe symptoms that are sometimes new in origin. They may also be chronic symptoms that have become dire.
When I heard Heidi say “chronic” my ears perked up because she was speaking colloquial slang from a culture I am not familiar with. Curiosity said, “Explore this.”
Chronic are my deep-seated beliefs that came from domestication. These beliefs are persistent and ingrained. They are embedded in my cells. From my chronic beliefs come my habitual patterns…my lingering defaults. These are the addictions I compulsively go to whenever I lose present moment consciousness. They chronically return and persistently claim me. They come to take me to the comfort of familiarity whenever the experience of the present feels overwhelming.
How do I resist their mesmerizing charms? Why do I want to? What do I lose by being “Chronic?” Do I really lose anything? These are questions I’m seeking to answer.
The timeworn way doesn’t work for me anymore. I don’t want to be chronic or acute. I want to be present.
Daniel’s song of questions, If the Race is Over,* is playing in my head. Is my answer hidden in them?
He asks, “What do I do if I’m not chasing anything? What do I do if I’ve got everything that I need? Where do I go if I’m right where I’m s’posed to be? Where do I go if wherever I am, I am home? What if the race is over and we all automatically win? What if the game is ended long before it even begins? What if the test has been taken and we’re all passing again and again? If the race is over, what then?”
“What do I say if it’s all perfect anyway? What do I say if I’m not here to change anyone? What’s mine to give, what’s mine to receive? Who do I pray to? What do I believe? What is the purpose of time here on earth? How do I now define my death and birth? What is my life really worth in the end?”
These are questions I’m seeking an answer to and I know that the answers are not “out there”…they are “in here.” I think they become available when I choose presence over chronic, no matter how overwhelming it can be.
“There is no map for what life has in store.”


*If the Race is Over; Water; Daniel Nahmod, 2006

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