Last weekend I went to the optician, the blood shot and sleep-deprived eyes needed a check up. In their fiftieth year they’re not doing too bad, so the optician said, ‘they’re holding up pretty well- considering your age’. But then that’s me all over ‘holding up pretty well – considering my age’. I’m not blind without my glasses, more slightly fuzzy around the edges, but they do help with reading. Since my teenage years it is my left eye which has been the weaker, ‘lazy eye’. Which is just shorthand for - you’ve got one eye that bloody well can’t keep up in the short race of life. I was quite shocked during the test how poor it actually was. There was one test where the optician alternated from one lens to another, whilst I’m looking at a circle composed of dots. She wanted to know which looked clearer, this one ,or this one. With my right eye the differences were distinct, ‘first one clearer’, ‘the second’. With my left eye it was ‘the same’ ‘hardly any difference’, ‘the same’, ‘the same’, ‘the same’…..
There has been some small incremental improvement in my shoulder pain, but then that hasn’t helped the sleeping. I’m still switching from the left side, to on my back, to the left side and barely staying a minute on my right side before twinging resumes and I’m awake. Lack of good quality sleep is finally made physically manifest in my tired old left eye, which has started weeping and flickering in my peripheral vision. It’s become a trifle annoying. Wearing my glasses helps, but otherwise there are no drops or ointment to ease its weary winking. So it joins the ever-growing ranks of minor irritants that I begrudgingly accommodate. I wont list them all, lest you think me a stereotypical gay man, completely self-obsessed with his own bodily frailty, and the special sensitivity of his physical aches and pains. How much is just the on going bodily deterioration of a human body, and how much I can do something about, is the subject of great internal debate at the moment. Though it seems to me most of these physical discomforts arise out of mental stress, which you would assume I could do something to alleviate. It’s just a question of what?
Work, with the lack of good sleep on top of the back, shoulder, arm pain, has been just about endurable. I’ve noticed that I’m not really springing out of bed, ready to meet the day in quite the way I used to. It feels like I’m dragging myself along behind me like a dead weight. There have been days, when if I heard yet another half hearted eulogy, encompassed within a misguided (though well meant) theology, spilling from the mouth of a Christian minister, I would gladly have screamed out ‘don’t believe a word of it, he doesn’t, he’s just mindlessly reciting it out of a book’, right in the middle of a service. There has got to be some change in the approach to my work soon, or I really must change my work. I can feel it, bit by bit, dragging my spirits down. But that always brings me back to what to do about it. At the moment I’m a bit at a loss what to do about it. Twas ever the same. I’m finding myself wondering whether leaving Buddhist Right Livelihood a year ago, was really the right decision.