Fighting Parkinson’s, and the Tucson Workshop was educational

As you know, on Saturday, June 1, 2013, I was scheduled to have my sixth workshop in taking my Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery™ on the road. This fifth venue of 2013 was Tucson, Arizona and the day was educational! Imagine: 2 of us. That’s right, 2 of us, a woman I am coaching named Gita, and me. It was educational.


First, I digress, then back to educational. On October 3, 2012, I announced taking the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery™ on the road with workshops. I felt the need to come to your communities and meet with you personally for a day of recovery where you could meet each other as well. Financially for me, it was going to be a matter of enough people coming to cover my expenses or I would be unable to do the workshops.

I would imagine that this fits under the category of vulnerability. I am not financially independent. My wife works and has health benefits for the family, and my income is from coaching and Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery™ manual sales. I knew if I could cover my costs of doing the workshops, then all would be okay financially. That occurred with the first four workshops, but not with numbers 5 or 6.

Back to educational. Gita had been out of the country for a number of months and returned about two months ago. I advertised the workshop in the same manner I have advertised the other workshops and Gita belongs to a large Parkinson’s support group in Tucson. She provided my press release and workshop flyer to the head of the support group to send out to the members, and that’s when the first part of the education took place. After hearing nothing back and trying to contact the person, Gita finally heard back — my recovery was “too controversial” and the person was concerned about providing my workshop information to the group.

Here was my response in an email:
“Hi Gita,

Thank you for letting me know that your local contact to a larger Parkinson’s group is so skeptical that she does not want to share with the group that I am doing a workshop on June 1st. I would ask that you please hit the forward button and send this to her, and leave this note to you in it so she will understand why you are forwarding it. Do not copy me on the forwarded email as you should keep her email address private between the two of you.

Thank you.

Good Day,

My name is Howard Shifke, and I understand your skepticism about my Parkinson’s recovery. Many people are skeptical because the doctors say we cannot recover. My neurologist is Juan Sanchez-Ramos,, and he was my mother’s Parkinson’s neurologist for 24 years before she died with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia in 2007. He diagnosed me, and he found me to be symptom free when I went back for my later follow up visits. I bring my medical records to all of my workshops for people to review. In summary, they reflect:
November 5, 2009 — diagnosis of Parkinson’s. “The patient has the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s.”
February 4, 2010 — diagnosis confirmed. “The patient has at least stage I Parkinson’s disease.”
August 5, 2010 — symptom free, but diagnosis confirmed again. “My assessment was that his symptoms have resolved. I suspect that his clinical features fluctuate and when he is in a good state of mind he has no symptoms, as in today I could detect no signs or symptoms.”
December 22, 2011 — full recovery, no more Parkinson’s Disease. Here is what my exam results were prior to my neurologist determining I did not have Parkinson’s Disease anymore: “On his exam today he is completely normal. Cranial nerves II through XII are normal. He has excellent facial expression. Normal voice volume. Face is symmetrical. Motor exam reveals supple tone throughout, even with reinforcement I can detect no rigidity. There is no rest tremor or postural tremor. Deep tendon reflexes are normal and symmetrical. Sensory exam is intact to all modalities. Gait and balance are normal. He walks with a normal stride and arm swing.”

I am not asking you to endorse my workshop. You do not know me, and you do not believe my recovery has taken place. However, two other people have fully recovered using my methodology of recovery, and many more around the world are reversing their Parkinson’s.

What I am asking you to do is just share the information and allow those with Parkinson’s to decide for themselves what they wish to do. I do not care if you put a big disclaimer out to the group that expresses your skepticism and that clearly points out that you do not endorse my workshop. That is fine. At least you will be providing people the opportunity to decide for themselves. This is my sixth workshop. Here is how the other 5 went:

I am hopeful that after you click those links and look at the over-100 faces of people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones, you will see that they are filled with hope and faith, and that they feel empowered to do something positive in their lives and their Parkinson’s. I watched my mother decline from a beautiful, loving, caring person, to a mindless, crippled person in a wheelchair. Nobody should have to go that way. I am passionate about getting the message out that it doesn’t have to be that way.

All I am asking you to do is share the information with anybody who has Parkinson’s so that at least they will have the opportunity to decide for themselves. Here is the link with more details about my workshop,

Thank you.


The person declined. That was educational.

About two weeks prior to the workshop, when I still could get a reasonably-priced airline ticket, I discussed with Sally that I felt the need to go to Tucson. I booked my flight, already had paid for my workshop venue, and planned my trip. At best, some people would attend. At worst, I would have 2 days to work one-on-one with Gita. Also, I knew if nobody attended (or even a few), I would have to put some rules on future workshops. On Saturday morning, I went to the venue, and nobody was there…educational.

Educational. Gita and I already had spent most of Friday afternoon together working on her recovery, and we decided to take our two-person workshop to Mount Lemmon, Elevation at the top exceeding 9,000 feet. For a flatlander like me, this was a real education.

We took a break to get out of the car and stretch our legs at about 6,000 feet. Here is Gita, my Tucson workshop attendee at 6,000 feet on Mount Lemmon:

We had lunch at the top of the mountain and spent the day working on her recovery. In the end, it was very educational. My impression is that Gita, much like those who have attended actual workshops, felt a renewed vigor in her fight against Parkinson’s. In the end, she knew she was worth it!

A bit on “Okay” and acceptance. Prior to leaving for Tucson, I had to say “Okay” and accept that nobody might attend the workshop. It does not say anything about my recovery or the validity of my workshops or the validity of your recoveries. It does say a lot about getting people to workshops and it does say a lot about fear. One person, the gatekeeper to a large group of people, was so filled with fear of what the others’ might think for sending out a flyer about a Parkinson’s workshop about recovery, that the one person’s fear stopped all of the other people from getting an opportunity to exercise their own free will in whether to attend or not. One person’s fear blocking everybody’s knowledge. Educational.

My trip ended with “Okay” and acceptance when I arrived in Tampa last night but my luggage did not. My luggage was delivered to my home about 30 minutes ago. Okay!

Educational. What I have learned. My future workshops are a mix of vulnerability and “Okay” acceptance. From this point forward, unless I have a reasonable amount of people pre-registered for my workshops within 2 weeks prior to the workshop that will be upcoming, I will cancel that upcoming workshop and refund the registration cost of those who already had pre-registered. I will do this workshop-by-workshop. This is not to be mean or as a punishment. It is simple economics, mine. I cannot afford to do all of this traveling and pay all of these upfront costs if people will not be attending the workshops.

So, I put it out there to you. If you planning on attending a workshop or cannot attend but think the workshops are a good idea, then I need your assistance in helping me get out the word and letting people know I cannot wait until the last minute for them to register.

I open my heart to all of you, and I am “Okay,” and fully accept however this turns out. I am optimistic that the future workshops will fall into place the way the first five did, and I fully accept that maybe number six turned out this way because I needed to express my vulnerability to all of you.

Thank you for listening. Looking forward to meeting many of you at my next workshop on June 29, 2013 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Click here for details.

You are worth it!!!

All my best,



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24 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and the Tucson Workshop was educational

  1. Marilyn Murray says:

    first , I would like to say how fortunate Gita was to have you as her private tutor for the day. I always thought you showed your vulnerability; did you have 40 registered in Victoria??? Just a few thoughts;1) are smaller locations better as word travels faster than in the big centres and 2) there was just a week long workshop put on by Becky Fairley in Pheonix (exercises , body, mind work for PD and caregivers ) which drew a large crowd 3) what about Canada again!!!! I am so glad you are OKAY , there are so many of us who need, love and respect you to assist with our recovery. Blessings, Marilyn

  2. Dear Howard….

    With your message, I witness and celebrate integrity, openness to possibility, deep learning, compassion, care and contribution…. all are values important to me in life and all are represented in your choices around the Tucson workshop and in those you are making around future workshops.

    Lovely to see Gita and to imagine you both at the top of Mount Lemmon celebrating life and being absolutely okay together….

    With gratitude and love

    Penny in Canada

  3. Rick Deno says:

    I’ve been thinking about this actually, for some time. I want you to know your weekly words of wisdom and encouragement means a great deal to me. They always seem to come at the right time…and the right subject….as if you were reading my thoughts and sending me the answers….they are given freely with love and commitment to the thousands of us who have come to depend on your experiences to guide us from a life out of balance to a life full of meaning, and you are the perfect example of that life with a meaning. You have been helping us unconditionally, with true love, asking nothing in return. I think it’s only fair now, that we should have the opportunity, kind of like a voluntary subscription service, to give you something back…kind of like the NPR business model if you if you could set up a PayPal system for us to donate $5 or $10/per month it would make me and I’m sure many others feel better about ourselves and hopefully help you spread your wisdom to many more.
    Thank you Howard!

  4. Lynn McIvor says:

    I have found in life that many people don’t want the responsibility of making a decision. The person who made the decision not to inform others of your workshop is woefully lacking in knowledge as well as manners. What a difference when recalling the Victoria workshop where a medical doctor, his assistant, an energy worker who is a registered massage therapist, a naturopath, a person from the Parkinson’s Centre plus many others (over 40) were in attendance. I have had the following on my ‘frig for years. It is yellowed with age, but its wisdom remains. It is from the book “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. It can all be summed up in the last line. I am sorry to hear of your Tucson experience, you deserve much more.

    “Thinking is man’s only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the wilful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment—-on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it. …………….By refusing to say “it is” you are refusing to say “I am”.
    I would like to say “It IS possible to recover from Parkinson’s”

  5. Beverly Bowers says:

    I “ditto” what Rick’s comment says, and I had the thought the same before. To set up even any amount for donations…….

    Thanks, Rick!

  6. ellie says:

    I am with Rick, you should set up “donate”option. I admire your recovery and desire to help people and providing so much material for free on your site. And there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that one can recover from PD.

  7. judy says:

    thanx, Howard….this helped me greatly in my struggle with faith….
    on the surface your experience seems regrettable…..
    i really love how you processed it all, with love, acceptance,
    and as an education….thanx, again….

  8. Howard–Before canceling, how about letting people in the group know that you are short of covering funds and perhaps by how much. Give them time to raise the funds for you. I know many people who have Parkinson’s are not rich, but perhaps there are some who can give more to help others have the opportunity of meeting you and having your workshop. You are so giving to all of us. My husband, Ron, continues to plug away with the recipe. We are so grateful that it and you exist–for this opportunity to heal drug-free. Blessings, Dukh Niwaran

  9. Pat in FL says:

    This is a great opportunity to testify to the invaluable benefits consistently received from Howard. Even in the face of what could be labeled a “failed” workshop, we have instead a teachable moment. Educational!
    And in this, he has modeled, again, a positive response to what life gives us.
    What I like most about Howard is his transparency. His motives are clearly stated, consistently applied, and he works with no hidden agenda. He really is a man in whom there is no guile.
    We all know we are taking the road less traveled, on this drug-free path to recovery. Large numbers do not make something “right” or better. Large numbers prefer to take a pill or undergo a procedure, and may never put forth the time, effort, and dedication it takes to work on this threefold approach to recovery.
    So I thank you Howard, for who you are and what you do in leading this community. Thank you, my fellow travelers on the road to recovery. It is nice to have some company on the journey!
    By the way, for those interested in financially participating, you can always PayPal funds to a person’s email address. You don’t need to have Howard set up a link on PayPal.

    • Kay Disbrow says:

      Your comment on putting forth the time, effort and dedication tied right in to my struggle to do the exercises regularly and as thoroughly as I can. Even though I take none of the PD meds, there is a part of me too that looks to some outside solution. It’s tough to discipline myself to connect with the healing power within me and within the universe — and to do the exercises that will put me back in balance. I too want an easy solution, when the solution is not so easy because of how out of touch with that connection I am and most of us are.

  10. Bev says:

    I adamantly agree with you, Pat!
    A “failed” workshop?? I hardly think so! APPARENTLY Gita’s solo appearance was supposed to happen!

  11. John says:

    Just a note of abundant appreciation for your timely words that support those that choose to heal. Recently I have taken some yoga therapy classes that strengthens my doing your “recipe.” Especially helpful was the instructor’s emphasis on the breath to surround and energize each exercise which has boosted my endurance in doing your qigong exercises. And, especially your mentioning in your website that you left a pool of sweat to do just four repetition on your starting of your healing. This has helped me to cultivate greater focus and faith. I know that the “recipe,” at the least, will relieve stress, lessen symptoms, and offers a vision and hope for healing for who are open to the quantum possibility offered. I look forward to the Los Angeles workshop and will spread the word. Holding the vision! Thank you. John G.

    • Kay Disbrow says:

      John G.,
      Could you elaborate on how we might “emphasize the breath to surround and energize each exercise?”
      And thank you for the concept that “the ‘recipe’, at the least, will relieve stress, lessen symptoms, ” ~ I am new to this and somehow missed that bit of information, heard more that the symptoms might worsen in a healing crisis of sorts.

      • John says:

        The breath contains the “qi” or “prana” or “bio-energy” that is cultivated and utilized to strengthen and balance the energetic field that is the blueprint that sustains the physical. So, from my non-expert point-of-view, the full, steady, rhythmic breath done with mindfulness promotes conscious FELT integration–greater wholeness. These are just pointers…best to embody the teachings from a teacher…I’m looking forward to August workshop with Howard in Los Angeles. Best well-wishes, John.

        • John says:

          And, yes, as we heal our strengthend energy has more vital force to root out more deeply-held toxins, whether chemical blockages or psychological issues…so, there is the “healing crises” mentioned in healing diets and there are the “healing impasses” mentioned in psychological circles…I suppose different facets to the same energetic phenomena. John

  12. Gita says:

    Yes, the Tucson workshop was educational and inspiring. When it became pretty clear that probably no one besides me was coming to the workshop, I really thought Howard would cancel his trip to Tucson and I was “okay” with that, but I was amazed, delighted and astounded when he told me he had booked his flight, despite the lack of any registrations for the workshop. He had given me a 30 day challenge for the month of May to replace all negative thoughts and feelings with positive ones and to replace all fear with faith. He told me he would then see me at the end of the month and do some energy work with me that might help me finish my recovery. So, even when no one was signed up for the workshop, he basically told me told me that he would be coming out of integrity to have given me that challenge and not lived up to his side of the challenge. I have to admit that I did not complete the challenge perfectly during the month of May, but after being with Howard in person and experiencing his commitment, love and compassion, I have recommitted to the 30 day challenge for the month of June. I can say after only three days that it is the most difficult and rewarding thing I have ever done and I am convinced it is a sure fire way to get the dopamine flowing. Thank you again Howard for an incredible two days in Tucson, as well as for all your support and guidance since I began this journey to symptom freedom. May we all obtain full recovery soon!

  13. Bhavna shah says:

    i totally agree with Pat and have learnt a very good lesson too. of being honest and transparent. we all love u and wish you many success.
    like u say good day bad day.(gita was there) good workshop best workshop. you teach us to be positive and we are thankful to you.

  14. Kay Disbrow says:

    So sorry the Tucson workshop had to be such a hard educational ~ the new business decision is a wise one, one I’m sure other workshop givers use. Sure got some great comments from your fans, though. Great fodder for the blog!

  15. Linda says:

    What a wonderfully generous and giving community surrounds you, Howard. So many lovely suggestions and so much love in the comments. Thank you for sharing this post, as always.

  16. Marianne Stall says:

    Dear Howard,
    It is my grear honor to be working with. A person of such inegrity, honesty and leadership surrounded by Love. These are all part of the basic foundation of the “Recipe” you have given us and we must continue to develop these qualities within ourselves and in our practice for “Recovery”. I say this because we all know from history the many women and men who have had to go through so many ups and downs to get their message heard and the successful ones had our Howard’s qualities.

    Since everything happens as it should, there are no errors, we will see what door has been opened for the “Recipe for Recovery.” We are so blessed to have this opportunity to support the “Recipe for Recovery” in its baby stage. All of us have the spark of light and love to help it grow. I so agree wih Rick to have a donation program. We all receive requests for donations all the time. Let’s do it.

    I am so excited that you will be doing a workshop in Los Angeles in August. Can’t wait to meet you.

    Light and Love to this work and all of us,
    Marianne Stall

  17. Pingback: Fighting Parkinson’s, and faith, fear, and vulnerability | Fighting Parkinson's Drug Free

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