Every now and again, an issue re-surfaces in coaching sessions, and I feel the need to write about the issue again. Recently, the power of a compassionate smile has been a topic of conversation. I found a post I did nearly a year ago, and I am not changing a word. Here it is again, “Fighting Parkinson’s, and your compassionate smile.”
Many people with Parkinson’s get extremely self-conscious when going out in public. There is the whole concern of people staring and wondering what is wrong with you. You already are not happy about the way you look or move or feel, and this exacerbates the problem. Oftentimes, the sense that people are staring causes symptoms to rage out of control…more tremors, more stiffness, more slowness, more sadness. Instead of staring at the ground as you shuffle passed people in public, what if you stood as straight as possible, looked them in the eye, and gave them a great big smile. That’s right, a smile.
I explained to a person recently that the difference between people having pity for you and them having compassion for you is all in how you view yourself and present yourself in public. If you are self-conscious and stare at the ground making no eye contact, people will pity you. If you hold yourself up, look them in the eye and smile, people will have compassion for you. You control how you will be viewed. Why not make it healing for you and the other people.
Your smile will help with your recovery. One of the things about Parkinson’s is that we lose our ability to feel joy. Mostly, we are consumed with how badly we feel physically, mentally and spiritually. The feeling of joy opens our hearts and helps the dopamine flow.
First, we need to know that if we hide Parkinson’s, then Parkinson’s wins. Second, if people are staring at us it probably is because we are moving slowly and walking poorly. They are not thinking bad thoughts about us; they probably are confused. There is an easy fix to this. Look the person in the eye and smile. It is the compassionate thing to do for the other person.
And when you smile, make it a big, ear-to-ear smile, the kind of smile that sends a message to the other person that says, “Thank you for your compassion. I am okay.” This act all by itself will help open your dopamine faucet. But wait, it does not stop there — generally, smiles are infectious. Most of the time when you share a smile, you get one back.
This compounds the joy. The other person smiles back and their heart opens and feels joy.
Look at the power of your smile:
1. The way it is now. You are shuffling through the parking lot at the grocery store and sense somebody staring at you. Your tremors rage, you are stiff and slow, you look at the ground and you wish there was a hole you could go into. The other person remains confused by your situation and reaction. They feel pity for you.
2. Same scenario, big smile. You are shuffling through the parking lot at the grocery store and sense somebody staring at you. You look them in the eye and smile, your heart opens and you feel joy. They see your smile and smile back, and they feel joy. They have compassion for you as expressed in their smile. You see them smile back, and you feel even more joy than before…and here’s the proof that your joy opens your dopamine faucet a bit — your tremors do not rage, you do not slow down, you do not stiffen up, and you do not look at the ground — instead, you are looking for the next person to smile at because it feels so good.
That is the power of your smile. Oh, yes, I almost forgot. Your smile sends a message to your Parkinson’s, loud and clear, “Parkinson’s, I am not afraid of you, I will not hide you, and I will not hide from you. When you try to shake me up in public, I will fight you with a smile, feel the joy in my heart and let my dopamine flow. I have the power to heal myself, and I am!” And then give your Parkinson’s a smile…it won’t know what to do.
I know this works. I will go first. Here is a big smile for each and every one of you.
You can do this. I know you can.
You are worth it!!!
All my best,
Note: Don’t forget, I am providing a special offer of a discounted cost for Parkinson’s Coaching if you sign up by the end of June. Click here to learn more about Parkinson’s Coaching, including how to sign up for the One-Month Parkinson’s Coaching Package with the special offer.
Also: On July 19, 2014, I will be presenting my workshop in Tampa, Florida. For details and registration, click here.
thanx, Howard….I needed that reminder….
great smile, btw!
Oh, how I needed your smile this morning and the reminder of its power. It was the first thing I saw at your workshop march 2013 and it convinced me to follow the recipe. I have gained so many insights in the past 14 months and continue to do so daily with slow but steady progress. Blessings, Marilyn
Thank you, Howard…. and I’m guessing that smile will elevate my spirit and sense of empowerment as much as it does the person I’m smiling to….
A smile, especially from my wife, is one of the loveliest things that happens to me during the day. If you want to see some wonderful smiles, go to Google Images and type the phrase “smiling women” or “smiling men” – depending on your persuasion. The results are guaranteed to raise your dopamine level. 🙂
And to Howard, my biggest and best smile. You’re the best!
Thanks! Smiles to you.
Thanks for your lovely smile Howard
I starting right away.
Love to all of you
I’ve been doing the Recipe for a little over a month and am working up to full speed. You recommended the Medical Qi Gong for the liver, and Medical Qi Gong for the kidneys once in the morning and once in the evening. It’s a little hard to fit it into my evening schedule, but I could if necessary. My question is whether it would be OK to do them in the morning and in the afternoon instead of the evening?
Also, is the Brain Vibration Chanting best done out loud or is a whisper just as good?
Back Atcha! Your smile first thing this morning made me smile from ear to ear. Thanks for the dopamine fix.
Howard, Your smile is the best ever! I look so forward to it whenever I receive your coaching!!!! And miss it when I’m not! It’s like receiving a shot of pure dopamine! You’re so right about the power of a smile, I took your advice and it really elevates the mood! Thanks for all you do! Much love and gratitude, Melanie
Thank you all for your beautiful comments. You words and smiles have kept my smile going.
In a comment, Barry T wrote:
“I’ve been doing the Recipe for a little over a month and am working up to full speed. You recommended the Medical Qi Gong for the liver, and Medical Qi Gong for the kidneys once in the morning and once in the evening. It’s a little hard to fit it into my evening schedule, but I could if necessary. My question is whether it would be OK to do them in the morning and in the afternoon instead of the evening?
Also, is the Brain Vibration Chanting best done out loud or is a whisper just as good?”
Yes, it is okay to them in the morning and afternoon. The more the Recipe fits into your schedule, the more likely you are to do it on a regular basis. The evening fit my schedule and doing them in the evening gave me energy to stay awake and enjoy my time with my family.
Brain Vibration Chanting is best done out loud. A whisper is not as effective because it is not creating as strong a vibration in the brain. However, if the best you can do at the moment is a whisper, then do it because your best is good enough, and as your voice gets stronger, you will be able to raise it above a whisper.
Wishing all of you a wonderful weekend!
Love and blessings,
A big NW smile to Howard and each and every one of you, my fellow travelers on this road to recovery! 🙂
Thanks for the smiles everyone ! Howard is right. When someone smiles at me, I smile back. I am feeling all of the smiles and am sending back a smile that goes from ear to ear. Hope you all have a smiling wonderful weekend!!
A thought on pity and even sympathy. When they are directed at me my gut tells me that these responses by well intentioned people are not healthy for me. My energy level goes down too. Mr. Pity and Mrs. Sympathy are not helpful to me at least. They have a negative charge to them. Folks do not realize this, so what I do is politely tell them that a heart felt sympathetic resonse to my condition is not helpful. Sometimes they get it and sometimes they don’t.
I have the same problem as Kevin. Today I left my purse in a shoeshop. When I returned to get it, I was treated by the shopkeeper in the most patronising, pity-infused manner (like a doddery sick lady) even though I had a bike tied outside her shop and was clearly fit to ride it. I usually search for a quip but nothing came to me. Also they did retrieve my purse for which I was thankful. The pity of others drags me down more than do the symptoms. I know it’s their stuff but it sticks a bit. Indeed, here I am writing about it to folk in 4 corners of the world!
Hey Howard , Glyn and fellow travellers,
What other people think of me is none of my business – I say this to myself -when I remember!! It helps to point out what is valid about others opinions -they are only valid to those offering them,we don’t have to choose to accept them -but I’m a work in progress.
Am loving all your posts, feel very isolated in Australia as don’t have like minded people around me – just tried a new dr and all I got was try another drug – I have to stop thinking these medical people know anything about parky – most of them know less than us – and to be fair, how can they keep up. But my back has been pretty crook after falling on ice when visiting my daughter in Colorado in January so I kept trying to get it fixed. Your idea of acceptance has hit home thanks Howard and last few days I’ve been less judgemental about all the symptoms,how I look,walk,smile etc etc – the monkey mind is settling into calm and I’m leading with my heart plus a smile on my dial :-))
Love to you all, Julie
Hi All. Thank you for the additional comments. I would like to say a couple of things about the comments of Kevin and Glyn. First, these are the feelings I had when going out into public. Ultimately, I realized that I needed to not try to guess what the others were thinking, and to the extent that they said something, I just responded with a smile and a “thank you for your concern.” The only way you get hurt is if you allow it inside you or you boil over looking “for a quip.” Second, I learned that I was interpreting people’s “looks” based upon conjecture which mostly was just a reflection of how poorly I viewed myself at the time. To follow are some posts to assist with these issues.
Love and blessings,