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 email@example.com. 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,