Knock on the Door

So many ideas gather at the Water Cooler I call my brain that the chatter and gossip bump into each other and my observer role can’t keep up. Which way to go, which bread crumb of a conversation will lead me to where I want to go? Want to go? Need to go? Which one will take me to the door I am looking for, the Ali Baba treasure cave of understanding and wisdom?

The theme of my life, as best as I can make out, introduced itself to me when I discovered that one day I would die. It had to introduce itself, there is no way my five or six year old mind could have constructed it. Of course some of the fundamental elements had been put in place by my experiences. I knew about stories. Everyone in my home told me stories. In the stories my grandfather told me, I was always the good boy, the one who did the right thing, the honest, if uncomfortable thing.

So when my atheistic mother had no way to comfort me, no way to wade through the flooding tears that overwhelmed me, I was left to figure it out for myself. And I did. It seemed the only answer that made any sense.

“It’s like this,” I told my twelve year old sister who had been running my bath, ” we are in a book of stories, and God is reading us. When we die, that means He has finished reading our story. But He can always pick up the book and read about us again.”

She didn’t argue.

I have kept that explanation with me, and dressed it, addressed it, and re-dressed it in a variety of religious and philosophic clothes my entire life. When I interviewed for a trainee position in the Psychodrama Department at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington DC, a psychodramaticly conducted interview on stage, I knew that a very important door was opening for me.

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Back to Basics

I am writing this blog, on this site, after a very long time. Two other blogs, and family life (happily), and a natural inclination to mistake having an idea for actually doing something, have conspired to make it so. Ah, well….
A day or so ago, they seem more frequently to cluster indifferently, my wife and I were taking turns pretending to play tennis with our five year old grandson. I go to the gym regularly, my 77 year old body is in pretty good shape, so I was surprised to find myself stumbling, missing the ball right in front of my racket, and feeling the racket itself seem to be gaining weight with each swing at empty air.
I remembered a conversation with my doctor seven years ago. I was explaining that I wasn’t quite sure what kind of bodily symptoms were worth visiting her about. Maybe they were just related (kissing cousins?) to my age. I didn’t know how to tell the difference.
“that’s because you haven’t been 70 before,” she said.
Of course, that was the heart of the matter. None of us is ever really prepared for the next stage of life. Going from Elementary school to Junior High (or Middle school, the current designation); nor from that experience, once mastered, on to High School, let alone the leap into the stratosphere of college or work. But each of those stages was readied for with some sense of eager anticipation. Its not quite the same this time.
When I began this blog site some years ago it was with more ego centric ambition than common sense. I have returned to it without ambition, but with interest, an interest to discover and uncover myself during this phase of my life. And I hope that any casual visitor will find the moment or two they take to be here with me, worth their time.

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Return

It’s been to long since I posted on this blog and finally I am at it again. Three other sites have taken my attention, and may be worth a few minutes of your time. I do an occasional piece for Boarderzine.org an internet magazine out of the University of Texas in El Paso, and my own site at todaysdrama.me and a new self education web site called kquickstart.com
I will try to make the work here more personal and family centered, the work on rodaysdrama.me will continue with a variety of social psychological philosophic meanderings, and kquickstart.com just what it sounds like, a boost towards internal change.

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One of the truths about aging is that there is only one way out, and unless we are in constant pain of one kind or another the door marked exit is unappealing. So the daily question for us is “can I make the time I have, this day, this evening, this moment better? And by better I do not mean another helping of ice cream. Within the reality of my fragility, can I be more alive?
The research on brain plasticity offers the opportunity to get involved in learning new ways to understand ourselves and the people in our lives who mean so much to us. We can learn how to re-route the synapse roads that take us to destinations we should avoid.
At this moment I am writing on an I pad; the first time I’ve tried to post a note to one of my blogs using this wonderful instrument. By the time I’ve learned to do this moderately well I will have constructed a number of new pathways in my brain, new neural connections, new eye and hand coordinations, new ways of being alive.

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Plasticity

Current research on the ability of the brain to “learn new tricks” is known as neuroplasticity.neuroplasticity. It tells us that flexibility of the brain is as important and as possible to achieve as is flexibility of the body. What that may mean for the families of aging parents will be the subject to the next post.

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Plasticity

Current research on the ability of the brain to “learn new tricks” is known as neuroplasticity.neuroplasticity. It tells us that flexibility of the brain is as important and as possible to achieve as is flexibility of the body. What that may mean for the families of aging parents will be the subject to the next post.

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The Separation

The Separation, winner of the foreign films Academy Awards for Foreign films is without a doubt the best movie I’ve seen in years. And in terms of speaking to aging and what that process can do to a family it probably the most realistic, touching and suspenseful piece of work I’ve ever seen.

Interestingly while the Descendants presents the problems faced my a family man when he discovers that his comatose wife has been having an affair, The Separation presents the problems encountered in caring for an aging parent captured by dementia.

In both cases the children do what they can to help the adults make sense of the situation, and to function in it. But we are always stuck in our own DNA and habits and triggers and when they don’t align with each other the Drama ensues.

I found both films worth seeing; but The Separation is more layered with the complexity of life, the complexity that we often wish could be simplified into “love conquers all”. ¬†Closer to the truth is that love does not conquer; it may shine light; it may bring warmth; but it cannot live alone.

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