the in-between

Sometimes I have so much to write about, that I can’t get any one thing to the top of my priority list and I shut down. I studied this when I learned the backstory on how we learn. In scientific terms it is referred to as cognitive load. It is the rate at which you are able to take-in and process information- its your measured cognitive load. So, with that in mind, (so to say) I have cognitive overload! A a time when it would be in my best interest to function at the highest level- the opposite occurs. My hard drive crashes and all systems falter.

So where do i come up after I’ve hit CMND-CNTRL-ESC on my mac. Is there something I can do to keep my mind on task, without going in to the same overload? (This is that opening for Tetris and Word Challenge.)

If only I would allow myself the one paragraph entries. This way my thoughts won’t get deserted in the drafts file, even if they are abbreviated. So what if it isn’t a complete essay or an epic entry that all comments illustrate as my “best ever”. Even the in-between will have significance worthy of a read.

Deafening Clamor!

This past Saturday I had an incredible experience at BootCamp. Yes, BootCamp. Craigslist Foundation held a Non-Profit Boot Camp at NYU… and what a learning opportunity it was. I got home and immediately began an entry on my blog. Then on Sunday my daughter Madeline had a party for her upcoming 7th birthday. It was at a local bowling alley. For the first time we are taking the birthday party outside of our back yard and what a relief we expected that to be. It didn’t quite work out that way… but a good time was had by most. Then Monday my bowling professional, wii practiced not quite 7 year old was pulled out of horseback riding camp with a fever of 103.5. Cut to Monday night with no sleep holding compresses to my daughter’s head and other less favorable images and sounds that I won’t go in to here. Then Wednesday happened. I was a presenter at Eisai Pharmaceuticals “Lunch and Learn” who really want to know what it is like to live, learn and cope with MS. I did a presentation there and rushed back home to meet with a woman at the MS Society NYC chapter to consult on the curriculum for their annual learning symposium. Three hours later, I came up for air. My train ride in this morning was with my laptop propped on my knees working that instructional design. I miss the silent clammor!

Silent Clamor

Today is Wednesday, August 13th. As per usual I commuted in to NYC via the train across the street from my house. Every weekday that I’m feeling well plays out roughly the same way. I walk across the street with stick at my side and my far too heavy backpack keeping me grounded. Exchange pleasantries with the co-commuters while we wait. Depending on the train I find my place- today it is a long car behind the engine, 2nd seat on the left. Prop stick against the wall, assume commuter position.

From the outside looking in, that position is a static one, assumed by the quiet masses. For me it is where the action starts. Depending on that day’s distraction -be it the Science Times, the New Yorker, and lately any book by Haruku Murakami- there is an ebb and flow between the read, the thoughts of the moment and the cacophony of the commutation orchestra. All this input is punctuated with the pull of sleep- a not-too-distant memory from a few hours earlier.

The code of silence may surprise the spectator who has never experienced the mass transit commute into a big city. It is a satisfying start to the work day. A collective moment honored by all, and interrupted only by the call for tickets and the staccato of the hole-puncher making its way through the car.

This is the time-in between the quiet clamor of the daily migration, that I, along side hundreds with whom I share the experience, start my monologue for Wednesday, August 13th. Today I feel different. I woke up feeling the dizziness I have felt since December, but as soon as I transitioned from front lawn to platform, I knew this commute wouldn’t be the same. While the details on the outside were identical to yesterday’s, what was happening on a neuronic level was new. Something barely interpretable, but present none-the-less. Just to be sure I put it to the test. I added flourishes to the action walk up, walk down, walk across repeat. I try increasing my speed slightly and adding a rhythmic jump that I haven’t known for some time.

So many take a stairway trip for granted. I’ve watched how effortless it is for most – not a second thought, never even grabbing the handrail. I haven’t had that luxury since I was 20. But today, I added a little skip to may downward trend. Taking a moment to experience that minor change, and relish it later as I write- it’s a nuance that excited me for what I might notice on the way home. Wish me luck.

Time Suck

Time is an abstract concept on so many levels; while precious it is so often wasted in my life. How does that happen? I read in the Science Times this past week that the brain uses times of boredom to file information.

Some experts say that people tune things out for good reasons, and that over time boredom becomes a tool for sorting information — an increasingly sensitive spam filter. In various fields including neuroscience and education, research suggests that falling into a numbed trance allows the brain to recast the outside world in ways that can be productive and creative at least as often as they are disruptive.

Maybe that explains why as I was completing my Master’s degree I had a compulsive need to search craigslist for a dining room table. Or when I need to create a budget for my non-profit I fritter time away playing word-challenge on facebook. But does that count as boredom? Isn’t that just a welcome distraction from what must be done? I’d like to think that my brain is doing something productive during those interludes of mindless fun.

I wonder how that factors in to most people’s existence. I’ve just spent the last hour or so at a local farmers market getting spelt bread, tasty white corn and new pickles. The leisurely walking so often reserved for museums or garage sales kills me. I come home too exhausted to make the juice I planned or lunch for the three of us. So how does my scar riddled brain factor in to my need for slightly stimulated down time?

Maybe I shouldn’t question so much and just let it be. After my budget is complete and my letters of outreach are written… and I do 3 (5 at the most) rounds of word challenge . I gotta get my score up!