I intend to take each part of the Recipe, physical, mental, and spiritual, and explain why it is in the Recipe and what it is doing for you in your recovery, deeply drilling down to the how and why it is helping you recover from Parkinson’s. Today is the eleventh part: calming the mind.
For those of you new to the blog, when I say “the Recipe,” I am talking about the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery®. Click here to review the full version of the Recipe.
The Recipe is a soul, mind, and body recovery methodology. The previous 10 parts dealt with the physical healing of your organs so you will clean toxins better and have more energy. Today and tomorrow will focus on the mind…calming the mind to heal negative emotions, slow down adrenaline, get rid of fear, and reduce symptoms.
Calming the mind and opening the heart are listed in the Recipe under sitting zazen, and meditations, affirmations, and prayers.
There are some things we need to explore to understand the mind’s function in getting Parkinson’s and in getting recovered: 1. What are the mental/emotional attitudes that negatively impact your health; 2. How does Adrenaline-mind-mode-over-thinking negatively impact your health; 3. How do you free your mind from these habitual negative mental/emotional trappings, such as anger, stress and anxiety, as well as Adrenaline-mind-mode-over-thinking, to liberate your mind in our recoveries; 4. How do you calm your mind to live a fearless life.
Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery® approach: There are underlying factors (genetics, heavy metals, environmental toxins, etc.) that make a person susceptible to getting Parkinson’s. However, the three main causes that bring Parkinson’s to the surface as diagnosable symptoms are:
1. Qi and Blood Deficiency, which is caused by emotional stress, anger, frustration, and resentment.
2. Phlegm-Fire Agitating Wind, which is caused by dietary considerations such as consumption of too much greasy, fried or sweet foods.
3. Kidney and Liver Wind Deficiency, which is caused by overwork and insufficient rest which unbalances the body’s natural rhythm.
If you look at numbers 1 and 3, you realize that at some level, the way you lived your life, emotionally, has helped your symptoms rise to the surface of your body into diagnosable symptoms. Think about it. When you were young and you had a big test at school and were unprepared, did your emotional stress caused by fear of your unpreparedness and your not wanting to get a bad grade cause you to have an upset stomach? a headache? a fever? nausea? Most of you can answer this with a “Yes, it did.” I know it was true for me. And, those maladies were not in your mind, but instead, they were a physical manifestation of stress and fear. The physical symptoms were real, and they were measurable, and you were not faking…and you stayed home from school because you were ill that day.
Shifting to Parkinson’s, there are underlying factors making you susceptible to getting the disease. However, the constant negative emotional manner in which you were living your life, responding to life’s events with anger and frustration and stress and anxiety, are the things that caused the underlying factors to raise themselves to the surface as diagnosable symptoms. Simply put, you wore down your own immunities so much with toxic emotions that your body lost its ability to cleanse at an efficient rate. When you add in cause number 3, the thinking and over-thinking, constantly striving to have every answer and be the best at everything…the fear driven Adrenaline-mode mind that never rests, you wore down your mind, and your electricity, and you can no longer get the messages to your limbs and organs with the strength and vitality it takes to function correctly…it causes the dopamine faucet to close down to a trickle.
Some things to consider about physical reactions pre-Parkinson’s:
When you were under pressure, and you felt stress and anxiety and fear, did your body ever feel a little shaky? kind of like tremors?
When you had been faced with difficult choices in life and you analyzed them and analyzed them and analyzed them until you were paralyzed in your thinking, were you able to act upon your issues with fluidity? or did your decisions seem rigid?
When your mind had been completed cluttered with toxic junk so you felt you could not think clearly, did your constipated mind lead to a constipated body?
I will be the first one to step up and answer: yes, yes, yes. As a result, I knew I had to change my dis-eased way of thinking and responding to life’s events so I could feel ease. More on this later.
Here is a very important point. I am not saying that Parkinson’s is a disease of the mind. It absolutely is a disease of the body. However, you must acknowledge that “dis-ease” of your mind assisted you in having your symptoms rise to the surface. Once acknowledged, then you can better understand how “ease” of your mind helps remove the “dis” from this “dis-ease” of your mind, which can have an enormous impact on your physical symptoms. Simply put, what happens to your physical symptoms when you are sleeping? They subside.
And, no, it is not just because you are not experiencing them that you think they are subsiding. It is because when you are sleeping, your mind is calm and your physical body is not making any demands on your brain except for breathing and heart beating. I have had quite a few people with external shaking tremors tell me that their spouses have told them that the tremors are non-existent when they are sleeping.
Today, I will cover Cause 1, Qi and Blood Deficiency, which is caused by emotional stress, anger, frustration, and resentment. In simple terms, your liver is not functioning well, so your blood is overrun with toxins. This makes the blood deficient in delivering oxygen and other essentials to your body…blood deficiency. As a result of this, the kidneys are overworked and cannot deliver enough energy to the brain, which leads to lack of energy or fatigue…Qi (life energy) deficiency.
Tomorrow, I will cover Cause 3, Kidney and Liver Wind Deficiency, which is caused by overwork and insufficient rest which unbalances the body’s natural rhythm. This is the Adrenaline-mind-mode-over-thinking that assists with unbalancing the body’s natural rhythms.
Calming the mind for getting rid of negative emotions: Acceptance.
Acceptance. I realized in my recovery that my habitual response to things that occurred in life that I did not like was anger. This was followed by the frustration I faced by not being able to un-change what already had occurred, which was followed by anger at myself for not foreseeing the event and not preventing it. It was my habit to go through this cycle again and again and again. I decided that the only way to break a really bad habit was to create a more powerful habit from the other end of the spectrum…acceptance…of everything!
This was EXTREMELY DIFFICULT! I began by exploring why the negative emotions surfaced all the time, and quite frankly, it was hard to pinpoint. They were just there, all the time. There was no reasonable explanation for how I could be in my tomato garden and feel anger or anxiety as an underlying current in my being…this had been going on for as long as I could remember in my adult life. The negative emotions were just there.
I learned that I was not strong enough to just stop the negative emotions. They were relentless. So, I developed a positive habitual response to everything, and I was relentless! It was the only way to battle this internal turmoil. I fought negativity with positivity, or acceptance…OKAY!
My new-habit-habitual-response-to-life became “okay.” I literally forced myself to think and say okay as my response to everything I was asked or had to think about in life.
This does not mean that I was happy about everything. It means that when something happened, I merely said, “Okay, I accept that that happened.” It was a tacit acknowledgement of reality. Quite frankly, whether I accepted what just happened or not, whatever had just happened, actually had happened…how much easier and less stressful could life be than to acknowledge that something that just happened actually had happened. I know, it seems so simple to acknowledge the obvious, but for those of you with Parkinson’s, I can feel your minds already straining and your disbelief that this is possible because you still want to change the things that already occurred because that is what you do…or thought you could do…or beat yourself up about because you could not do….
And…you have every right to be angry and frustrated and exhibit stress and anxiety. I decided to give up those rights to help me get better from Parkinson’s. I recommend that you do the same. Click here for more on giving up your rights to hold onto your negative emotions.
Instead of living in turmoil, trying to be perfect all the time and trying to control everything that is going on, and then being angry and frustrated with yourself because you are not perfect and you realize you control very little, just say “Okay.”
And, know that “okay” really means, “I accept that this just happened, so what am I going to do about it.” And then you create a solution instead of creating anger and frustration and stress. Imagine that! You take the same scenario and instead of spending hours and days trying to stop something from happening that already has happened, you actually spend minutes doing something about it. Life is so much easier and less stressful this way. And, as you become more accepting of life, you shake less and are rigid less…and, you become more accepting of yourself: “Okay. I accept that I have Parkinson’s. What am I going to do to solve this problem? I am going to do the Recipe!”
Click here for more on transforming anger.
Click here for more on controlling emotions.
Click here for more on “okay.”
Okay. Here is the method I used to help me calm my mind at a higher level than the relentless awake-mode-self-talk-acceptance called “okay.” Sitting zazen, a form of breathing and counting. Two things you already know how to do.
Breathing and Counting. In the Recipe, you will find this under sitting zazen, which is a form of meditation with eyes closed or substantially closed. I did it sitting in a chair for 10 minutes. If you can sit on the floor in a lotus or cross-legged position, great; I could not, so I did not. Here it is:
1. Exhale and then inhale. That is 1.
2. Continue exhaling and inhaling counting 1 to 10.
3. When you get to 10, start at 1 again.
4. Continue this exhale-inhale, counting 1-10 and starting again at 1, for the entire time you are sitting zazen.
By concentrating on breathing (in an opposite manner from how you generally view it with the exhale now coming first), and by simultaneously counting those breaths (having to go back to 1 each time you hit 10), your mind is focused on these two things, only. At the beginning, your mind will wander a bit, but if you keep pulling it back to nothing but this stylized breathing and counting, you will reach a point where you close your eyes, start the breathing and counting, and when your timer goes off, you feel like you have been sitting for 10 seconds, not 10 minutes. This ability to take yourself to a place of calmness allows you to better gain control of your emotional reactions to events in life. Many people have reported a complete elimination of symptoms while sitting zazen.
You are worth it!!!
I will be back soon.
All my best,
That explanation really helped.
Hi Howard, oh this one was so written for me.! I have waited patiently for this post. It is still one of my greatest challenges, being OKAY with my Parkinson’s and all its symptoms. Love this post, Thank You. I feel with the last ten posts, I Truly have The Recipe for Recovery. Bless you my dear dear friend.
With Love and Humungrous Gratitude.
I am so excited to wake up every morning and read your new blogs. You have taken the Recipe to a whole new level for me. This new life is just that…a life on a different level…and a “life” just not an existence with Parkinson’s.
I am really behind reading the posts as my mum has been taken into hospital so this one is very timely to read now and accept the situation instead of looking at who to blame etc etc. Thank you for there very helpful posts.
Happy new year fellow warriors!
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