Fighting Parkinson’s, and hope

I have been trying to keep a positive message of faith and hope, but some recent offline comments have stated that I am doing a disservice because I am providing false hope. I might as well address it right here.

I went to Google and typed in false hope. The number 1 listing was Wikipedia, and here is what it had to say.

“Hope is the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.”
“The term false hope refers to a hope based entirely around a fantasy or an extremely unlikely outcome.”

Recovery from Parkinson’s is not “hope based entirely around a fantasy or an extremely unlikely outcome.” Recovery from Parkinson’s is not false hope! I recovered, and I do not see why you should not be able to recover, too.

It should be pretty clear by now that I do not advocate hope and faith without action. On the flip side, if you are suffering from Parkinson’s and you believe that recovery from Parkinson’s is “a fantasy or extremely unlikely outcome,” you probably will have a difficult, if not impossible time, with recovery. For those naysayers who do not have Parkinson’s, you cannot fully understand Parkinson’s unless you have lived in a Parkinson’s body and thought with a Parkinson’s mind and had hope or lost hope with a Parkinson’s spirit. Okay, finished with that.

Let’s get back on the path to recovery. Some of you are emailing me that you have “hit the wall.” I say to hit it back or go around it or climb over it or knock it down. The “wall” is Parkinson’s, and it does not want you to prevail.

There is a passage I put in my blog last year from the book Not Always So by Shunryu Suzuki, and I think it needs to be repeated here:

“Forget this moment and grow into the next. That is the only way. For instance, when breakfast is ready, my wife hits some wooden clappers. If I don’t answer, she may continue to hit them until I feel rather angry. This problem is quite simple — it is because I don’t answer. If I say ‘Hai!’ [‘Yes!’], there is no problem. Because I don’t say ‘Yes!’ she continues to call me because she doesn’t know whether or not I heard her.

Sometimes she may think, ‘He knows, but he doesn’t answer.’ When I don’t answer, I am on top of the pole (attached to the idea that reaching the top of pole you are climbing is enlightenment). I don’t jump off. I believe I have something important to do at the top of the pole: ‘You shouldn’t call me. You should wait.’ Or I may think, ‘This is very important! I am here, on the top of the pole! Don’t you know that?’ Then she will keep hitting the clappers. That is how we create problems.
So the secret is just to say ‘Yes!’ and jump off from here. Then there is no problem. It means to be yourself in the present moment, always yourself, without sticking to an old self. You forget all about yourself and are refreshed. You are a new self, and before that self becomes an old self, you say ‘Yes!’ and you walk to the kitchen for breakfast.” Pages 18-19.

Each time you “hit the wall,” leave your old self there at the wall and walk into your new self in each moment. When you say to yourself, “I cannot do this anymore,” after a moment, that is your “old self” that cannot do this anymore…and step into your “new self” filled with renewed hope and renewed faith, and say “I can do this!” “I have the power to heal myself.”

This is not fantasy…no, this is reality. Parkinson’s reality is hitting the wall again and again and again, and having to tell yourself, “I have the power to heal myself” again and again and again. And then you have to walk into your new self and do something in furtherance of your path to recovery. Remember, when you hit the wall, Parkinson’s is the wall…chip away at it a piece at a time and you destroy the wall.

On March 9, 2011 at 6:00PM EST (GMT -5) on Parkinson’s Blog Talk Radio, I will be interviewed for 90 minutes regarding my Parkinson’s philosophy and Parkinson’s recovery, I hope you will tune in.

All my best,



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