The problem with not living mindfully in the moment is that there are no limits to where your imagination can take you. If you are truly mindful, accepting each moment as the only reality, there is structure; the only things or people or forces or problems that you have to deal with are what is right there in the moment with you. The issues are concrete, in a way -- they are what is present and only what is present.
Take away the time boundary and all hell breaks loose. You can worry about what might happen. You can worry about what happened last time you were in a similar situation. You can worry about the things that you don't even know enough to worry about specifically. There is no end.
I've always occupied a funny sort of middle ground. I almost never worry or get nervous about things that I understand and have experienced before. When I first joined the Wholesale Klezmer Band, my first public performance was a free dance workshop at a local folk festival, and I was so nervous I nearly threw up, because while I had played many a classical concert, I had never played a klezmer gig before. A year later, when we had the privilege of playing at the 100th birthday of Carnegie Hall with all the famous folk performers I had grown up with, everyone else in the group was throwing up, but I was calm as a cucumber; I knew how to do klezmer concerts.
Similarly, most of the time when I'm facing a difficult situation, I have been able to defer worrying until I knew there was actually something to worry about. Carol, on the other hand, practices what has been called "defensive pessimism" -- going to the worst possible eventuality beforehand so as to work through all the possibilities and get comfortable with them before actually having to face them. Though that isn't my way, I have, to an extent, learned to appreciate it as a valid coping mechanism.
But right now, in the limbo between my apnea diagnosis and the appointment that will give me access to treatment, I am inhabiting the vast vortex of uncertainty and it is driving me crazy.
What if the mask hurts my nose? What if breathing through nasal tubes every night exacerbates the dryness and swelling of my mucus membranes that always plague me in the New England winter? What if they don't offer me a really quiet machine? And the kicker: what if the CPAP doesn't help and I'm still tired all the time?
About once a day, when I am on my computer doing something actually useful, I find myself drifting over to Google to look up something else about CPAP use. Engaging with information seems to calm me down, if only for the minutes I spend reading. I've learned that there are lots of potential solutions to most of the problems CPAP newbies seem to experience, and I do trust my health care providers, who have a good track record of staying on top of issues until they get resolved. There really isn't anything objective to be worried about.
So what's the problem?
I think it's more about the waiting than about the specifics. I feel as though I am simply marking time, that my "real" life and routine cannot start until I can wake up in the morning with some energy and focus. And that feeling of being in limbo is driving me crazy. Before I knew about the apnea, I figured the fatigue was simply one of the factors I have to deal with right now, like ankle pain or asthma. Knowing that there is a good chance that it will disappear in a couple of weeks makes dealing with it now almost intolerable.
And so I sit back, take a deep breath, and try to center myself in the current moment. And the next one. And the next one. October 8th can't come soon enough.
A hui hou.