Fighting Parkinson’s, and meeting with an old friend

An old friend came to town, and we spent yesterday afternoon and evening just hanging out. Sometimes I forget how refreshing it is to do nothing except sip a little coffee, eat a little dinner, and mostly just enjoy the company of a friend. Also, admittedly, it is great when the other person has an inspiring zest for life that brought a smile to my face and a warmness to my heart.

Parkinson’s has a way of making us lose who we are. We don’t walk like we used to. We don’t move like we used to. We don’t talk like we used to. We don’t laugh like we used to. We don’t eat like we used to. Our total body functions don’t function like they used to. And, when we look in the mirror, we see a stranger…if we are lucky, we still see a little bit of who used to look back at us. Where did we go?

We used to be afraid of death. Now we are afraid of life.

We are afraid of life with a walker. We are afraid of life in a wheelchair. We are afraid of life…that is, life as we project it will be in the future. Mary Burmeister, Jin Shin Jyutsu, calls this fear, FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real). Sally’s uncle has another effective way of addressing this point, “We don’t need to rehearse tragedy.”

Back to my earlier question, “Where did we go?” We went to Parkinson’sville, that place filled with fear and worry and FEAR! Parkinson’s wants us to get cozy in Parkinson’sville because the more we worry and the more we have fear and the more we have FEAR, the more Parkinson’s gets to be who we are. We get absolutely lost in Parkinson’sville and cannot seem to find our way out, so we walk and talk and act and look like we belong there.

What if we choose a different path so we can find ourselves again? What if we decide to live in the moment? What if we choose the path of acceptance? Acceptance? Yes, ACCEPTANCE!

Parkinson’s: “I may make you have to walk with a walker.”
Us: “Okay.”
Parkinson’s: “I may put you in a wheelchair.”
Us: “Okay.”
Parkinson’s: “What do you mean, ‘Okay.’ Aren’t you worried?”
Us: “No, we have exchanged worry for acceptance.”
Parkinson’s: “What do you mean, ‘Okay.’ Aren’t you afraid?”
Us: “No, we have exchanged fear for acceptance.”

Acceptance let’s us live in the moment and enjoy life as it is. Acceptance removes negative emotions and defeats FEAR. If we can accept things as they are, then we have no reason to worry about the future and we have no fear of the future, which snowballs into defeating FEAR.

And then we find ourselves. Our new selves. Our new selves who find the strength and faith and perseverance to get on the path and find the way out of Parkinson’sville…those new selves. How refreshing is that!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, my old friend with the overwhelming zest for life is on his path toward recovery, having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

All my best,

Howard

 

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