Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Boundaries in the age of COVID: Part 9

I found this piece intriguing, weirdly comforting. So well-written. An artist plunged himself into total darkness for a month, allowing his mind to neuroplasticize around lack of visual input and light stimulus, dump out all the junk that had accumulated. In these COVID times, I have been feeling somewhat discombobulated without any access to normal sensory input through the eyeballs at the ends of my fingers and hands, without familiar smooth grooving through normal mind channels. Anyone else out there feeling deprived of tactile sensory input these days? Tied inextricably to self-expression, livelihood, self-worth?
I must confess to experiencing a bit of grief about having fully retired my practice (although, as I keep reminding myself, it was high time). In some ways, the sensory deprivation described in this article reminds me that I liked, really really liked what I did for a living. Human primate social grooming.
Certainly, coming to terms with a new existence is now required.

It feels like a gut cramp sometimes. Part of my brain is dismayed that I actually burned a bridge. It thinks I self-amputated something, like both hands maybe. Brought home my stuff from work. Now sitting in giant plastic plaid bags all around my living room. Every time that part of my brain notices those bags sitting there it screams, Traitor!!

That would be the part of the brain that spent the last 50 years of existence, especially the last 35, touching people for a living. The part I'm moving toward and want to fully occupy one of these days is the part that knows all about that but needs to learn how to get along in life without it. This is the no man's land I am currently crossing. I keep reminding both these brain parts that we're all old now. We had all been thinking about this for a long time. And I'm sorry that COVID times have precipitated the event a bit earlier than we had planned and all agreed to. But I'm just not up for continuing our familiar existence of running a practice for just another few months when it would have to change so radically into something different, with screen consults and bank e-transfer or in-person with credit card tap technology and shields and PPE and no touching. You wouldn't like that very much either, would you, brain?
C'mon brain, we can do this. Together we can neuroplasticize, find any creativity that may exist within all this new sensory deprivation.

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