It’s a Numbers Game
The other day I realized I had to seek pain relief that I could not attain on my own. I usually figure out how and why, ergo the physiology of why I might be pained or feeling lousy and such. I surmised that I’d driven near 800 miles in under seventy hours. Which approximately 95% of the driving had been in the rain. And as Dolores, the retired detective I had visited after visiting our youngest daughter at college said, “Driving in the rain is taxing.” She would know. She’d been around the block more than once at age 94. Putting many decades in as a law enforcement official whilst raising two daughters as a single mother.
Dolores still had such incredible energy as she and I had a near three course meal together for four hours that night, shutting down a Greek restaurant after ten in the evening. And still chatting as we left the empty restaurant and walked out to my parked car. Just days later I knew the surgical site I’d battled the most with for over thirty years daily was screaming. I did all I could to remain in training and do non-invasive care from the outside to heal and reduce the pain that felt nearly paralyzing to my right leg. I’d battled this so much. Yeah, it gets exhausting. The allopathic medical field had not given me proper advice on this. That’s a story in itself. But I digress to my original purpose here today in this writing.
So, here I was this morning feeling ambiguous on the training that lie ahead for the day. It’s my hard training day. I’m on the rebuild. And I knew to quash doubts and summon up all the strength for the day to get it done—besides chores and working on editing a screenplay later after I’d finished my first job as an athlete. Yes, at 61 I’m still in pursuit of the gold medal, or at least that standard. I also still follow Thomas Jefferson’s advice to John Carr in a letter dated in 1787—'that getting outside and being vigorously physical for two hours a day was pertinent to a healthy, quality life’.
After my early morning stretches for near fifteen minutes, water, and vegetable consumption. My morning chores, then my mindful meditation proceeded. The second thought as I was emptying my mind staring out my kitchen window were the phrases on the mindfulness audio played, “…not being. Not doing…” The woman on the audio implied we are always vying for attention. “…perhaps as children we were adored for our schoolwork, athletics… It was ‘Look at Me’, ‘Look at Me’…” Right there she got me. I began to realize that neither our daughters nor had I ever said, ‘Look at Me’. Indeed, that was an ‘Ah ha!’ moment in my mindfulness. As usual I put it in a parking lot in my mind to observe as to why for later in the day. Too, I knew who of our daughter’s friends had said ‘Look at me!’. Another ‘Ah ha!’ moment to put in the parking lot for as to why later in the day.
As I sunk into a deeper meditative state, thoughts from the day before, seeing my doctor in alternative medicine for my pain—arrived. I realized she’d reduced my pain by about 80%. And as that moment slowly abated, her comments came to mind. Too as did her physical labor of the work she had done on me. She hadn’t lost her touch, nor her strength and she is a year and five days older than I. I’m reminded of that—as she is like my ‘Other never had before another Jewish mother’, with her comments to me. Along with her headshakes.
So, I asked her, “I’m doing pretty good. Right?”
And she replied, “You’re an old lady.”
I meant to say, ‘Thanks. I love you too.’ Instead, I said, “Hey babe, I’m drinking water, and I got 125 miles in one week, two weeks ago.”
Her response was, “You have no fat on you. I’m sure you don’t even eat sugar.”
I tongue in cheek responded, “I guess cookies don’t count.”
She shook her head as she worked on me, “Not on you. Because of all the other things you ingest and do.”
And I added, “Yo. And I’m not retired. Busy as hell.”
As I came to the present moment, emptiness arrived. I stared into space out the window. Time passed and I realized there were stories in stories because there always is. Second thought was the numbers I present. I started working on my numbers inside my body at age ten. Little did I know back then, it was a form of deep meditation. It was forced upon me by a misogynist. Yeah, a parent that had very little parenting skills. He’d forced the idea upon everyone around him that nearly everything was psychological. Those illnesses, pain and especially allergies were psychological results. Imagine that.
So, my ten-year-old mind wanting to thwart negativity and bullies decided to test out my internal skills. I decided eventually that it was of a divine nature. No one told me that. Neither had that been implied. Even the misogynist had not gathered that thought outwardly to anyone I know. He was not traditionally religious, for he was his own god. And I knew God and I was on my own. I’d realized that before age nine.
By ten I realized I could control my blood pressure and pulse by thinking about it. Why? Because I rarely had a choice to do otherwise. I knew to selectively cry mostly alone if I had to. And doing all this saved the family money that I thought we didn’t have. That’s another story within itself too.
It took me till I was fifteen to truly master my internal numbers. For I also knew to master my memories and my remembering—everything. Dolores and I had discussed growing up, raising children and the like. I told her that night recently, “If I were anyone else, I wouldn’t have made it. But it served who I was and who I am now, as well.”
Was the stress of it all, stealing from me—Absolutely. I told her the phrase of why I may have failed in many areas of my life, “It was because I didn’t go to Villa Nova. I went into the Marines…” I let her know the inside joke I’d shared with another 90 plus year old friend. Dolores seemed to like the inference as well. It was a laughingly painful realization of life. It is in many of our lives. Yet, that is what creates the expansion of a life story. It’s a numbers game. ---Jody-Lynn Reicher