Fighting Parkinson’s, and cultivating our gardens

As we are preparing for our Fall vegetable garden, it occurred to me that fighting Parkinson’s is a lot like cultivating our gardens. To begin, we plant the seeds in the soil and we water them. We water the soil where we planted the seeds every day with the faith that all of the things happening under the soil are happening the way they are supposed to happen. And we do this watering day after day after day with absolutely no sign of progress on the surface. Sounds a lot like Parkinson’s recovery, doesn’t it? If you have started the Recipe for Recovery, then you know exactly what I mean.

I am going to digress for a moment. Let’s talk about weeds. Weeds are like Parkinson’s disease. They grow under the surface and build strong root systems. We do not need to water them or care for them or fertilize them…in fact, it seems the more we ignore our garden, the happier the weeds are to invade the garden. And, every now and again we see a weed and think, “I really don’t feel like dealing with that weed today.” Then another weed pops up, and another and another and another. And suddenly we think, “Oh, no! Now I have to deal with these weeds taking over my garden.”

Initially, we just want to cut them at surface level because then our garden looks pretty again. However, by cutting the weeds at the surface and thinking, “Oh, I have a pretty garden, and I am happy those weeds are gone,” we are fooling ourselves. We have not solved the weed problem…we actually have enhanced it. While the weeds are “out of sight, out of mind” they are growing more roots under the soil, and when they break the surface, they are bigger and stronger than before.

And what are they doing below the surface? They are overtaking the seeds and root systems of our garden. If we let this go on long enough, our garden is overcome by weeds, and our vegetable plants will not grow because they have been strangled by the weeds. We heal our garden by digging up and pulling out the weeds at their roots from deep under the soil, and we nurture our vegetable seeds into plants into blossoms into vegetables.

We heal ourselves from Parkinson’s in the same manner, with the same determination, the same patience, the same faith, and the same nurturing. Parkinson’s recovery starts from deep within…it is where the disease, like the weeds, festered and grew undetected (and later ignored for a while), and it is deep within us where it has spread and negatively impacted our organs. If we take medications, it is like cutting off the weeds at the surface…we may look better on the outside, but the disease is continuing to grow and spread inside us.

So, where do we go from here? Start pulling the weeds and nurturing the seeds, or, in Parkinson’s terms, get on your path to recovery. The Qigong in the Recipe for Recovery is a thorough process for eradicating the disease from deep inside, like pulling out the weeds from their roots. The Recipe’s Qigong, meditations/affirmations/prayers, and chanting, along with our hope and faith provide the love and patience and nurturing to allow our bodies to heal and recover.

When my children were young, they were disappointed the day after we planted the seeds because they would run outside with the excited expectation of seeing vegetable plants…all they saw was moist soil from the day before. Obviously, as adults, we all know that their expectations were unreasonable because a seed will not grow into a plant and produce vegetables overnight. It is the same for Parkinson’s recovery.

However, what my children did learn is that if we went outside every day with no expectation of seeing plants that day, but instead, with the understanding and faith that if we watered the spots and continued to pull the weeds that occasionally poked their heads out of the soil, that eventually we would see vegetable plants break through the soil. And then, we needed to continue to have love and patience and faith as we nurtured the plants and secured them to stakes and watched them blossom, and ultimately see them provide us with vegetables.

This took weeks and months, not days. This is Parkinson’s recovery. You are the garden. Go and look in the mirror at the garden you are today, and then envision the garden you want to be.

Now, take the Recipe for Recovery and start cultivating your garden…you need to give yourself the same love and patience and hope and faith that you would give the seeds in the garden outside, and you need to nurture yourself on the path to recovery. Aren’t you worth it?

All my best,



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20 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and cultivating our gardens

  1. Elin says:

    this is a wonderful metaphor. I like very much your creative thinking. As I like gardening so much and have a wonderful garden. I hope that my work with the weeds inside me will be effective as well.
    Thanks Howard

    • Howard says:

      Hi Elin,
      You are welcome. From the pictures you have shown me, you do have a wonderful garden and magnificent flowers. Also, from seeing you on Skype and our communications, I know you are doing an excellent job with the weeds inside you as well.
      Warm regards,

  2. Thank you, Howard

    The garden metaphor is a wonderful reminder…it all comes down to trust, I imagine… trusting in our innate ability to heal ourselves as we tend our inner and outer garden. I’ve been catching up with these blog postings after an absence due to my husband’s unexpected heart surgery (he’s doing well). Your insights as always provide inspiration and direction….and I so enjoy the comments from fellow Parkinson’s travelers – it’s heartening for me to have companionship on this journey to recovery.

    Gratitude to all….

    • Howard says:

      You are welcome, Penny.
      And our gratitude goes to you as well for your comments and sharing and insights. I am happy that your husband is doing well.
      Warm regards,

  3. Teri Rye says:

    Wonderful metaphor, Howard! I love the part about the meds. I’m ready to start digging those weeds out by the root! As you and others have stated, it takes faith and gratitude. Those are key components in this journey. Thanks again for the encouragement. I needed it! I’m learning to be more patient and have faith that my garden will one day be beautiful!

    • Howard says:

      Hi Teri,

      Thank you. From what you have written in your comments on this blog and from our communications, your garden already is coming along magnificently!
      Thanks for sharing your journey with all of us.
      Warm regards,

  4. floramania says:

    Howard! I LOVE thinking of myself as a garden!
    Thanks for sharing this with us all.
    Happy gardening to you and our wonderful community of fellow

  5. meredith says:

    It seems that alot of us are gardeners. (It is actually my profession!). Thanks to all of you and to Howard for reminding me of the wisdom right before our eyes. What a great way to think about healing ourselves and our world. I am inspired to remain patient and faithful.

  6. Howard says:

    Wow Meredith,
    How incredible that gardening is your profession! That is inspiring to all of us as we travel on this healing journey. Thank you for sharing.
    Warm regards,

  7. Leontina says:

    buna dragi prieteni,buna Howard,Timp de 10 zile am fost plecata intr-o statiune balneara la 300 km de unde stau eu pentru un experiment ;am mers in parc ,in bar,pe strada,in magazine, in autobuz ,fara sa iau [inaite de a pleca] nici o pastila.In acea statiune nu ma cunoaste nimeni,doar sotul.In prima zi mergeam pe strada cu genunchi indoiti.imi trageam piciorul stang,cu spatele incovoiat.Ma priveam in vitrinele magazinelor eu o batrana bolnava si gheboasa iar sotul mergea drept ,cu pas vioi parca era fiul meu.Atunci am zis’acea femeie nu sunt eu e parkinsonul’ mi-am indreptat genunchii si spatele si am reusit sa merg bine 20 de pasi,a doua zi 50 de pasi iar in ultimele zile jumatate distanta eram eu si jumatate era parki.Lumea se uita la mine cu mila ,atunci zambeam si=mi corectam mersul.Sa stiti ca se poate invinge boala.Zambiti cu mine Leo

  8. Howard says:

    Leo’s translation:

    Dear good friends, dear Howard, for 10 days I was gone. I went to a resort 300 km from where I live to do my own experiment. I went to the park, the bar, the street, in shops, on the bus without taking [none before leaving, either] any pills. At the resort, nobody knew me, only my husband. The first day we walked the streets with knees bent, felt a small pull in my left leg, and my back bent a little. I looked in shop windows and my hunchbacked ill husband kept walking with me as lively as if it was my son. Then I said “I am not that woman who has Parkinson’s.” I turned back, straightened my knees and I managed to do well for 20 steps, then 50 steps the next day and in the last days I was half and half the total distance to the park. The world is looking at me with pity, but I just smile and keep on going. Know that you can beat the disease. Smile with me. Leo

    • Howard says:

      Dear Leo,

      I was already smiling before you asked us to smile with you. How lovely an experiment you performed, and how inspiring are the results you achieved. Thank you very much for sharing your life and recovery journey with all of us.

      Warm regards,

  9. Leontina says:

    draga Howard,traducerea comentariului meu e gresita.Sotul meu este inalt,drept si merge bine ,eu sunt sunt cocosata,bolnava si batrana parca as fi mama lui,iar el fiu.Am vrut sa fac aceasta precizare din sinceritate si dragoste pentru el,merita.Numai bine Leo.

  10. Howard says:

    Leo’s Translation:

    Dear Howard, translating my comment is wrong. My husband is tall, straight and goes well, I am hunched, like I’m sick and elderly mother and his son. I wanted to make this statement of sincerity and love for him, it’s worth. Only well Leo.

    Dearest Leo,
    My greatest apology to you and your husband. I use a translator so I can help others to understand and read your comments. Apparently, it is not always correct when translating he, she, my, mine, etc. I accept responsibility for this error and hope you and your husband can forgive my incorrect translation of your previous post.
    With gratitude and love,

  11. Teri Rye says:

    Hooray, Leo! I’m excited that you were able to have a vacation without pills! I took my last Mirapex last Saturday and I’m still functioning! Imagine that! Faith and a positive attitude make this battle easier…and a SMILE! I am smiling with you, Leo! We WILL recover!

  12. Leontina says:

    buna voua prieteni dragi,draga Teri razboiul nostru este dur .eu am vrut sa testez daca ma descurc fara pastile in societate si bucuria mea a fost mare m-am descurcat in spatii deschise [strada,parc.terasa] in restaurant am intrat in panica si nu am putut sta ,am castigat o lupta nu razboiul.Acum iau o jumate pastila de isicom dimineata fiindca imi simt corpul greu si tremur ,dar tott castig este ,prieteni de-ai mei iau 6 pastile sa aiba starea pe care o am eu.Teri nu te speria daca vezi ca corpul iti va fi greu. vei avea dureri de picioare,nu te chinui ia o jumate de pastila si pana la urma dopamina va lucra fara stimulent cand va fi corpul pregatit. Aceasta e parerea mea. FITI POZITIVI.Leo

  13. Howard says:

    Leo’s translation:

    Good friend, dear, dear Teri. Our war is hard. I wanted to test if I can manage without pills in society and my joy was great. I did outdoor [street, park, terrace] in the restaurant I panicked and I could not stand, I won a battle not the war. Now I take half of one pill in the morning because my body feels hard and trembling, but I have friends of mine who have taken six pills. Teri do not worry if you see that your body will be difficult. If you have leg pain, do not be upset if you need half a pill and eventually will work without incentive dopamine when the body is ready. This is my opinion. Be positive. Leo

  14. Teri Rye says:

    Thank you for the encouragement, Leo! The pain is tough, but exercise really helps. I’m also moving toward a vegetarian diet. This also helps. I will try these things before pills. I pray that you will also find relief without pills!

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