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 twelfth part: calming the mind, second part.
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.
Yesterday, I explained about acceptance as a way to calm the mind. It assists in ridding yourself of the negative emotions that help bring Parkinson’s symptoms to the surface. Today, in the second part of calming the mind, I will address Cause 3: “Kidney and Liver Wind Deficiency, which is caused by overwork and insufficient rest which unbalances the body’s natural rhythm.” In simple terms, the kidneys and liver are worn down because you have been “burning the candle at both ends and in the middle.” This is the Adrenaline-mode mind, which runs from fear (fight or flight), and wears down the kidneys and liver, making them susceptible to wind, which causes shaking and deficiencies in their functioning.
Okay, maybe that wasn’t so simple an explanation. Here is the solution…stop running from fear, and stop running from FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real)!
Adrenaline — you are walking through the jungle and a lion jumps out and starts chasing you. When your survival mode Adrenaline kicks in and you start running, other things are required of your body. Your stomach gets the message from the brain that says, “eating is of minor importance right now so do not send me hunger pangs.” The bladder and the large intestine get the message from the brain that says, “no time to evacuate, so I need you to shut down temporarily.” The body gets the message from the brain that says, “you are being pushed to your physical limits, but I do not want to hear about your pain — shut it off.” The heart gets the message from the brain that says, “no time for joyful emotions, so do not release Dopamine, just store it for later.”
Adrenaline Mode — your mind keeps running well after the lion has stopped chasing you…and fear is what keeps your mind running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running, and running. I know, just reading this probably increases your tremors. I needed to make my point.
What I am describing here was me. This was the me whose tremors were so severe I could no longer ignore all of the physical changes and limitations that I had been ignoring for the previous year (probably should say “years”). In my Parkinson’s recovery, I learned that my brain was hard-wired to fear. As soon as a situation occurred, my brain’s reflex action was to jump on the fear train and put it in full throttle.
Fear of what? Everything! Fear of: “Maybe I won’t be prepared for ______;” “Maybe I won’t know the answer to ______;” “Maybe I am not good enough for ______;” Maybe _____ (bad thing) will happen.” I think you know what I am talking about, and it is a long list. It is the list of things that could happen that we feel compelled to have all of the possible scenarios to so we will be prepared for everything that could possibly happen for the rest of our lives so that nothing will go wrong or bad and everything can happen according to plan. Fear of what? Life!
Think about it: If you are afraid of roller coasters, you don’t go on them. If you are afraid of scary movies, you don’t go to them. If you are afraid of the dark, you sleep with the lights on. When you are afraid of life, your options are limited. I could come up with two options only: 1. Continue to live in fear. 2. Face the fear and get beyond it. I knew that continuing to live in fear meant I would not be recovering from Parkinson’s, so number 1 got scratched from the list. That left number 2. Face the fear and get beyond it. I had no choice.
Interesting thing about having one choice only…you choose it, and then you deal with everything that comes afterwards. So, how do you choose to “not be afraid?” This was no easy task. First, it took a lot of faith (the next three posts will be about faith and opening the heart). Second, it required me to face the fear that had become so much a part of me, or should I say, so much a part of who I thought I needed to be.
That is the crux of it: Fear to not be who I thought I needed to be when “that guy” is the one who had Parkinson’s. The thing about Parkinson’s, getting it and keeping it, is that when you jump into Adrenaline mind mode, as many people will call “fight or flight” mode, people with Parkinson’s do not fight…they flee. That is how I was. So, Adrenaline mind mode ALWAYS meant fear equaled flight…and I fled, just like all of you.
To clarify, ask yourself this question: “When faced with a fight or flight situation, what do I do?” For me (my old self me), and for every person with Parkinson’s who I have discussed this with over the last 4 and 1/2 years, the answer was quite easy…flee. Why do you flee? It is not your nature to be involved in conflict. You avoid conflict, and your Parkinson’s knows it. Oh, I almost forgot…you are also filled with fear. Fear of failure.
Fear of failure, so you flee. And while you are fleeing, your mind is racing faster than your legs. Your mind is engaged in this type of dialogue: How do I avoid this conflict (the fight)? What are all of the possible options? If I go with option 1, then what are all of the possible consequences? If I go with option 2, then what are all of the possible consequences? If I go with option 3, then what are all of the possible consequences? If I go with option 4, then what are all of the possible consequences? You see where this is going — you are intelligent people, so the list of options is never ending and the list of possible consequences is never ending and your brain does not get a break and your body is worn to a frazzle and your spirit is all but given up on you because all you can do is flee and flee and flee.
You see, your mind is telling you that if you stay and fight, there are only 2 possible outcomes: success and failure, and most certainly, you do not want to fail, so you flee and look for another solution where you can justify your actions and not have the possibility of a dreaded failure. That is your nature. You avoid conflict and you make other people happy, even if on some occasions it means you are not happy. However, when others are happy, they like you and life is easier, and you avoid conflict. So, Parkinson’s is standing on your path to recovery. Are you going to stay and fight?
Parkinson’s has bet the farm that you will flee. Why? Because it knows that’s your nature. It knows that your nature is part of what brought your symptoms to the surface in the first place. And, it knows that to recover, you have to change your nature. You have to fight. You have to fight your fear. You have to fight your Parkinson’s.
So, when your Parkinson’s sees in your conviction that you are digging in for the fight, it decides to force you to flee. It gives you some extra tremors, and it gives us some extra pain, and it gives us some extra stiffness, and it gives you some extra fear. It expects you to flee.
But you don’t. Why? Because you are willing to change your nature and fight! You are willing to look Parkinson’s in the eye and say, “I am more than this body.” And you are willing to look Parkinson’s in the eye and say, “I am more than this mind.” And you are willing to look Parkinson’s in the eye and say, “I am this soul. This is me. I am strong in spirit and you cannot touch this!” And you fight.
The thing about your nature that you keep in this fight is that once you set your mind to something, you stay at it until you win. Failure is not an option. It is deep within all of you to win this fight and recover.
So, please take a careful look at yourself and know that you are worth fighting for. If it is your nature to flee, please change that part of your nature and fight. If ever you were going to decide to stay and fight, don’t you think fighting for your life against Parkinson’s is worth changing the part of your nature that makes you flee.
Do not be afraid of failure. Success is the fight, in an of itself! Success is every time you say to yourself, “I am going to do the Recipe today.” Choosing a journey of recovery in your life, and getting on the path and staying on the path, in and of itself, is SUCCESS! There is no failure, so my friends, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR!
If worse symptoms means failure, then I failed one month before my full recovery, and I should have quit:
Click here to see how my symptoms were one month prior to my full recovery.
At the time I was suffering like that, I had no way of knowing that one month later, I would be cured of Parkinson’s. I can tell you this: The reason I suffered like that is because I was resistant to everything I have instructed you about today. The more I was resistant, the worse my symptoms got.
My mind would say, “But you have to worry about what the other people think about you. How can you let go of that?” And, my mind would say, “But you have to strive to be perfect. How can you let go of that?” And my mind would say, “But you have to be in control of everything. How can you let go of that?”
This is a very long list, but I think you can see where this is going…the things I thought were real, the things I thought mattered, the things I thought were most important…they were not real, they did not matter, they were not the most important…they were a life-long-Adrenaline-mode-mind-chatter-running-from-fear-of-not-being-perfect-illusion. How, and who, I thought I needed to be was nothing more than thoughts that were not real. And I was so resistant to expelling those thoughts that it literally brought me to my knees in agony.
Interesting thing about agony. It made me “re-think” what was going on in my mind. It made me realize that I needed to find my soul, my essence, the “me” that made me truly “me,” and nurture that seed and help it grow again from deep inside to break away the toxicity of my body and my mind. (More on this tomorrow and the following two days).
Click here for more on chipping away at Parkinson’s from deep inside.
The medical profession says that with Parkinson’s, dopamine is depleted in one’s brain and the basal ganglia controlling movement are 60-80% dead. Having lived in a Parkinson’s body and thought with a Parkinson’s mind, and held my firm faith with a Parkinson’s soul, I can tell you they are incorrect.
Click here for more information about the scientific study that also says they are incorrect, and that says your dopamine is not depleted.
It is why after nearly 200 years, they are no closer to a cure than when they started. Parkinson’s is an electrical problem and they are trying to fix it with chemicals. The dopamine is there, but the flow is interrupted. Adrenaline has taken over, which ultimately leads to dopamine taking a back seat. Just like anything else, after years of operating in adrenaline mode, the dopamine just turns off the faucet. I tell you this because prayer opens it up.
Prayer may not be the correct word, but I believe you will understand with this explanation. Here is what I did to slow down my Adrenaline and open up my Dopamine. I would pray/meditate like this: “Hello Adrenaline. Thank you for all of the years you have run my body. Without you in charge, I would not have survived. However, all of life’s stresses that required you do be in charge are gone, and you can take a break and you do not need to run my whole body anymore. Hello Dopamine. It has been a long time. Thank you for all of those years you stayed closed and allowed Adrenaline to run my body. I appreciate that you understood it was for survival. Now that those stresses are gone, I need you to flow again. The thing is, I do not know how much Adrenaline needs to shut down and how much Dopamine needs to flow to achieve the correct mix. The two of you need to figure this out with God, and I am going to meditate on something else so I do not get in the way.”
I need you to look carefully at the last part of this:
“The thing is, I do not know how much Adrenaline needs to shut down and how much Dopamine needs to flow to achieve the correct mix. The two of you need to figure this out with God, and I am going to meditate on something else so I do not get in the way.”
I highlighted four words: “I do not know.” I would imagine that this was the first time in my life that I ever had said those four words in that order: “I do not know.”
“I do not know” says, “I am not perfect. I do not have all of the answers. I do not control all of the situations in life. And, I cannot worry what other people are thinking about me as a result of me not being perfect and not having all of the answers and not controlling all of the situations in life. AND, that is okay. My best is good enough.”
I so much wanted to be recovered in my life and my Parkinson’s that I was finally willing to lose my mind, that Adrenaline-mode-mind. As Socrates tells Dan in Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior, “Sometimes you have to lose your mind before you come to your senses.” I lost my mind and came to my senses. I admitted that I did not know how much Adrenaline and Dopamine had to adjust themselves for my recovery…I had provided my body the tools and materials for my recovery, and then, I surrendered control of the outcome: “The two of you need to figure this out with God, and I am going to meditate on something else so I do not get in the way.”
You are worth it!!!
I will be back soon.
All my best,