Fighting Parkinson’s, and winning, winning, winning!

Over the last month, I have been asking all of you to let go of over-thinking, self-judging, self-criticizing, adrenaline-driving minds in favor of heart-feeling, compassion-feeling, joyful-feeling, dopamine-producing hearts. I called it my Positive Thinking Only game. To move from your mind to your heart takes a lot of vulnerability, and from the feedback I have received and from the comments on the blog I have read, you absolutely are winning, winning, winning!!!

Do not be afraid of being vulnerable. As Socrates tells Dan in The Peaceful Warrior, “A warrior is not about perfection or victory or invulnerability. He’s about absolute vulnerability.” Part of winning your fight against Parkinson’s is being a warrior who is vulnerable, admitting that you are not perfect, and knowing that your best is good enough.

Vulnerable: Open to censure or criticism.

Let’s take a look at the journey to recovery from Parkinson’s. It begins by announcing, “I have the power to heal myself. I am going to cure myself from a disease the experts say is incurable.” This alone opens you up to censure and criticism from non-believers.

In the middle of the journey, you feel better on the inside, but you are not looking so great on the outside. In the middle, you announce, “I have the power to heal myself. I am going to cure myself from a disease the experts say is incurable. I have faith in my recovery and I understand that there are times when I am going to feel worse and look worse before I get better.” This alone opens you up to censure and criticism from non-believers.

In the end, you announce, “I am cured.” This alone opens you up to censure and criticism from non-believers.

This is why your faith in your recovery has to be more powerful than other people’s opinions about what you should be doing about your Parkinson’s. This is why you have to stop caring what the other people think about you and what you are doing.

It was my final issue from which I needed to let go, from which I needed to surrender, from which I needed to extricate from the very being I thought was Howard Shifke — and just when I let go, totally and completely, surrendering caring what anybody was going to think about me or my having cured myself, I had a shift…my world view went from my mind down to my heart…and I started feeing other people’s suffering…and my dopamine flowed, and as it cascaded down my body and through my body, I was transformed from imbalance to balance, from illness to health, from thinking to feeling, from Parkinson’s to cured from Parkinson’s.

For those who haven’t read the final section of the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery® because you still are thinking the Qigong exercises are all there is to the Recipe, I ask you to open your minds and your hearts and not be afraid to be vulnerable. Excerpted from the end of the Recipe, here is what it looked like at the end for me:

“‘Dear God, I surrender my ego to you. I surrender my attachment to my Parkinson’s Disease to you. I am not afraid anymore. I no longer fear Parkinson’s. I no longer fear the scorn I may face by being cured from a disease the experts say there is no cure. I no longer fear the people who may say I was misdiagnosed or that I faked having the disease. I am surrendering my ego to you, that part of me that felt I needed to remain attached to Parkinson’s because the experts say once you have Parkinson’s you always have Parkinson’s. I am forgetting about my old self (Parkinson’s) and stepping into my new self (No Parkinson’s).’ I awoke the following morning with my remaining symptoms gone.”

That was nearly five years ago. You can do it, too!

One more thing I would like to say before I finish today’s discussion of being vulnerable. It will greatly enhance your recovery if you will be vulnerable in front of another person, somebody who you can open your heart to and be completely genuine, truthful, honest, and forthright in explaining exactly what you are going through with your Parkinson’s. It is not complaining to say, “This is how I feel” or “This is how today went” or “This happened and I do not know what it means, but I am a bit frightened.”

If you cannot find somebody with whom you feel comfortable being vulnerable, please feel free to email me at Those who have opened their hearts to me in emails in the past have expressed by the end of their emails that it felt so good to “get it out” to somebody who would not “think” they were complaining, but instead, who would “feel” their suffering…and who would be compassionate and not judgmental.

You do not need to do this alone. You should not do this alone.

I had Sally on my journey. We cried, we laughed, and sometimes we just held each other. I was able to be completely vulnerable with Sally. She did not judge me. She listened. She had compassion for me. She knew I was not complaining, I was just opening my heart and sharing what was going on…reporting the facts of the day…sometimes trying to explain the non-explainable nature of Parkinson’s, and sometimes when I couldn’t find the words, I just cried, and she held me. She, too, knew there was nothing to say.

Happy Birthday, Sally. I am forever grateful for you. You also taught me that nothing ever was gained by being afraid. You helped me defeat fear and hold on tightly to my faith. Thank you.

Fear blocks being vulnerable. We become afraid of the censure and criticism. Faith says it is okay to be vulnerable. Not only is okay to be vulnerable, it is necessary in this recovery. In the end, complete vulnerability means completely surrendering the person who you think you are and not being afraid what the other people will think when you again become the essence of who you are, on the inside…the new you…the you who has been in there all along but who is covered up by a mountain of ice…chip away, day by day…be vulnerable, and do not be afraid.

Yesterday, Sally shared with me this quote:

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi

“First they ignore you” when you say you are going to cure yourself from Parkinson’s.
“Then they ridicule you” when they realize you are ignoring traditional conventions of what to do about Parkinson’s.
“Then they fight you” when they realize how strong your faith is and that you are actually curing yourself from Parkinson’s.
“And then you win,” you cure yourself, in part because you finally realize that those who ignore you, then ridicule you, then fight you about curing yourself from Parkinson’s are suffering…so instead of caring what they think and changing what you are doing, you find compassion in your heart for their suffering…and your dopamine flows.

This, my friends, is why you are winning, winning, winning!!!

You can do this!

You are worth it!!!

All my best,



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38 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and winning, winning, winning!

  1. Karen in Ireland says:

    Wow Howard, what an amazing post! I LOVE it! I love that you say it’s important to be real with one person, that is therapy in itself. I love Sally’s poem. Happy happy birthday Sally ( oh fellow Bull:-) my birthday on Wednesday! :-) we LOVE birthdays! Lol
    Hi to all my fellow Warriors. I am delighted Howard that you mentioned the origin of where I got the word from, it was from you mentioning The Peaceful Warrior by Socrates. It’s truly how I see us all. Big love to everyone.
    Karen xx

  2. Barry says:

    This blog really spoke an important truth, for me. My PD personality is imbued with being invulnerable. It is hard for me to express feelings of fear, anxiousness, and worry. This was my pattern before PD. And part of my healing has been the surfacing of a lot of undisclosed fear throughout my childhood and adults years.

    It feels so GREAT for you to encourage the importance of being vulnerable — e.g., with my wife, a best friend, etc. As a result, I’ve learned to better hold BOTH my fear and self judgment, while at the same time celebrating the great healing progress I am making, which has opened me to far greater aliveness than I ever had pre-PD.

    There is a bit more to do, and I’m fully ready, able, and inspired to do just that.

  3. Sally Carlson says:

    Thank you Howard.
    You consistently hit on where I still need to let go.
    More and more I’m seeing that my drive to be perfect and well liked helped me climb into the costume of Parkinson’s !
    Instead of trying to force this costume off I’m now ALLOWING it to fall away.
    Vulnerability is so valuable.
    Thank you for putting it into such a clear message.

  4. Rick Deno says:

    Thanks Howard,
    As usual, your blog came along at just the right time and with just the right message!


  5. Helen says:

    Thank you Howard for your wonderful message. Happy happy birthday Sally. Hearing what Howard says about you I can feel you are such a heart woman. A gift for Howard and hence for us. I need to be more vulnerable. I feel positive a lot of the time but when I am sad I have a glass of wine with my friends or one at dinner. I know this relaxes me but maybe it’s pushing down feelings I need to feel. I will email you Howard thank you for the offer and priveliege. I will buy the peaceful warrior book I often get a message to read it. Thank you for the continual lifeline Howard. The kindness, inspiration and care and heart. Heart is where I want to reside. Happy happy Birthday Karen congratulations you Warrior princess. Much love to everyone. Helen Australia

  6. Cynthia (from England) says:

    Happy Birthday Karen and Sally! And thank you once again Howard for a very timely post. Being vulnerable is something I have never liked being and I identify with Barry’s comments. It’s good to know we have each other on this journey, it’s a great comfort, thank you to everyone!

  7. jimmy says:

    Si desarrollamos compasión, las otras experiencias espirituales surgirán
    espontáneamente en nosotros. La compasión es la raíz de todas las virtudes y
    puede liberarnos del apego al yo.
    Todos nosotros poseemos una inmensa, pródiga y generosa compasión, debido
    a la naturaleza-divina que siempre está presente en nuestro interior. La compasión
    abre nuestra mente cerrada y rígida; apacigua nuestro mal genio y transforma
    nuestro temperamento malsano, dañino y negativo; nos saca de la oscuridad, la
    cárcel oculta creada por nuestra existencia egoísta y frustrada, y nos conduce
    hacia la luz. En vez de alimentar a nuestro malvado ego a expensas de los que
    nos rodean, podemos encontrar nuestro verdadero centro mediante la compasión
    hacia los demás. La compasión es la naturaleza curativa de la mente y a través
    de ella podemos encontrar la paz.
    A pesar de que comprendamos que la compasión nos sitúa directamente en el
    camino de la verdad, es posible que nos cueste dejar de aferrarnos a nuestras
    preocupaciones egoístas lo suficiente como para experimentar la tolerancia hacia
    los demás.
    el enfoque basico es siendo compasivos con nuestra
    vulnerabilidad amandonos a nosotros mismos y a los demas , consiste en empezar de una forma
    sencilla y ampliar el círculo de la compasión poco a poco.
    Hemos de sentir, en primer lugar, un saludable amor por nosotros mismos,
    ocupándonos de nuestras verdaderas necesidades y de nuestro bienestar, y
    agradecer la felicidad cuando ésta surja. Debemos valorar a los que nos rodean y
    preocuparnos por ellos, obteniendo así una experiencia sincera de actitud
    generosa, en lugar de confiar sólo en las palabras o en los sentimientos vagos.
    Poco a poco podemos ir ampliando nuestra compasión.
    La compasión no significa preocuparse. La compasión es sabiduría y cariño
    sinceros. La preocupación se basa en el apego, y mina nuestra fuerza y nuestra
    capacidad para ayudar a los demás.
    Así que, si puedes, ama, pero no te
    felicicdades karen y sally dios bendiga a todos mis compañeros.


    If we develop compassion, the other spiritual experiences will emerge
    spontaneously in us. Compassion is the root of all virtue and
    You can free us from attachment to self.
    We all have a huge, lavish and generous compassion, because
    divine nature-which it is always present within us. Compassion
    closed and rigid open our mind; appeases our temper and transforms
    our unhealthy, harmful and negative temperament; us out of the darkness,
    hidden prison created by our selfish and frustrated existence and leads
    toward the light. Instead of feeding our evil ego at the expense of those who
    around us, we can find our true center through compassion
    to others. Compassion is the healing nature of the mind and through
    it we can find peace.
    Although we understand that compassion brings us directly to the
    path of truth, it may cost us stop clinging to our
    selfish concerns enough to experience tolerance
    the others.
    The basic approach is being compassionate with our
    vulnerability loving ourselves and others, is to start one way
    simple and widen the circle of compassion gradually.
    We feel, firstly, a healthy love for ourselves,
    minding our real needs and our welfare, and
    thank happiness when it arises. We must value those around us and
    worry about them, gaining experience a sincere attitude
    generous, rather than rely solely on the words or vague feelings.
    Gradually we can gradually increase our compassion.
    Compassion does not mean to worry. Compassion is wisdom and love
    sincere. The concern is based on attachment, and undermines our strength and our
    ability to help others.
    So, if you can, love, but do not
    Happy Birthday Sally, Karen, and God bless all my colleagues.

    • Leontina says:

      Ma bucura enorm starea ta de spirit,acest lucru te ajuta sa ai simptome mai usoare si te vei recupera repede.Eu am boala de 15 ani ,am fost internata si la luat o multime de medicamente .dar multumesc Domnului si lui Howard ca m=am oprit la timp si sunt cu mintea bine iar fizic ma descurc cu putin ajutor.Binecuvantari de la mine Leo


      I greatly enjoy your mood, it helps you have milder symptoms and you’ll recover quickly. I have the disease of 15 years, I was hospitalized and psychiatry. I took a lot of drugs. but thank God that Howard’s mother and stopped in time and mind are well and physically I can handle a little help. Blessings from me Leo

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Thank you Jimmy.
      Karen xx

  8. Leontina says:



    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SALLY AND KAREN, beautiful and intelligent, embrace you with love Leo

  9. Tom says:

    The price of admission to a life post-Parkinson’s is vulnerability, which is also the prize!
    Thank you for the deeply on point message, Howard. I have fought adopting this ‘pricey’ prize as long as I can remember and am battling this adrenaline-mode chunk of the Recipe right now; may well be the key to my impasse at doing the Qigong part. If there’s anything good about being in this Iceberg of a body, it may well be it’s ushering in of this birth into my new self, no longer ‘needing’ to have this excruciating PD experience.
    Thanks for the faithful permission to allow vulnerability centrally in my life; an answer to my prayers and wonderings theses days.
    Hopefully this assists my energetically doing the exercises.
    ‘It’s my ‘Parky’, I’ll cry if I want to’…then bid you adieu, PD.
    The best is yet to come!

  10. tu says:

    Thanks Howards for the wonderful post.
    Happy Birthday to Sally. Thank you for your care of Howard which in effect helps us greatly in our fight against PD. You are amazing! Howard is lucky to have you and we are lucky to have you both!

  11. Waseema from England says:

    Happy birthday Sally and Karen.

    Allowing myself to be vulnerable is probably my biggest challenge but I’m practising hard and am on my way!

  12. Marie says:

    Happy birthday, Sally!

  13. Lohren says:

    Thanks Howard for your beautiful heartfelt message. Happy birthday to Sally & Karen! I have experienced the “Wall of Skepticism” and at first it bothered me, but now it is expected and I no longer ruminate about other’s opinions. Thank God for all the support, otherwise, I might be wallowing in adrenaline attitude. This is definitely a growth experience and I am grateful for it. Love to all!

  14. Susana L says:

    Happy Birthday Sally! I’m grateful for your sage and shiny input.
    Hope your day was filled with smiles!

    Happy Birthday to Karen!
    Love and Blessings to all.

  15. Melanie says:

    PD brings us to our knees and humbles us in a big way thus creating vulnerability! It strips us of any pride and it opens our heart with great compassion and gratitude of all things ! My heart is bursting with love to all of you for your support! Happy birthday Sally and Karen!

  16. Thank you for this amazing post. I have been working with your positive thinking only practice and it’s really making an amazing difference. Also, I’m beginning to feel that the gift of Parkinson’s has been for me to be vulnerable – something I’ve always been terrified to do. I am so grateful to you, Howard, for the Recipe and your profound wisdom.
    Blessings, Shawna

  17. Wow…what wonderful comments…. huge insights…so many of us feeling joy and compassion…Happy birthday Karen and Sally…sweet gratitude to all!

  18. Debbie says:

    Thank you to Howard for such a soul searching post. Thank you to all of you for your beautiful comments.
    Happy Birthday Sally. I hope that you had a beautiful day.
    Happy Birthday to Karen, know that we are all celebrating with you in spirit.
    Have a great week
    Love and Blessings

  19. Melanie says:

    Today I went to the chiropractor and then met with my energy therapist and she told me that I must be doing something right because my energy is moving easier than ever before. I told her about the recipe and she told me to keep doing what I’m doing! I see light at the end of the tunnel ! :-)

  20. Sally Shifke says:

    Thank you for all the birthday wishes. It made me feel very special to be part of your Parkinson’s community! I read all of your comments after each post and appreciate the vulnerability you show with each comment. I have such faith in all of your recoveries. My heart soars when progress is being made by all of you. You have picked a courageous path to recovery…enjoy the ride…I am cheering you on every step of the way!
    PS. Karen, Happiest of Birthday’s to you!

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Hi Sally, lovely to get a post from the lady herself, Mrs Shifke :-) Beautiful message to us all. Bless you.
      Karen xx

  21. MARILYN MURRAY says:

    A Happy late birthday , Sally, I am so glad I met you in Victoria – was it 3 years ago now!!! I really needed to hear about everyone else struggling with being vulnerable as I deal with the medical staff at the hospital where my mother is recovering from a stroke – and doing very well at 104 years. I just keep telling myself, it is no concern of mine what others think about me, just be open, loving and trusting and I will continue to heal as well. So thankful for the both of you, Love and hugs, Marilyn

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