Fighting Parkinson’s, and vulnerability, vulnerability, and…vulnerability

In my last couple of posts, I have discussed the issue of vulnerability in recovery from Parkinson’s. Of course, it is a critical component of everybody’s recovery. By being vulnerable in all you do, you fearlessly face life as your real self. This issue of vulnerability brings up a lot of fear, and and we need to discuss this today because defeating the fear of being vulnerable could serve to open the final blockage to bringing your life back into balance and finishing your recovery.

In the past, I have shared with you this:

“I announced it [my realization] to Sally at breakfast on June 11, 2010, like this: First I told her I know what I need to do to complete my recovery and what I was about to tell her might sound like the most selfish thing ever to come out of my mouth, but it was not selfish, and then I said, ‘There is no person on this planet worth me continuing to have Parkinson’s Disease just to make them happy.’”

I was speaking about this issue recently and here is what else came out. After I made my announcement to Sally, and she agreed with me that I needed to be happy, I then announced this to her: “And, after the dust settles and I am cured from Parkinson’s, if nobody talks to me, I still will be the happiest guy in the world because I will no longer have Parkinson’s. Plus, I know you will still be talking to me, and I am okay with that.”

Sally seemed puzzled and asked why would people not be talking to me. I explained that nobody knew the real me except her so I knew she would still talk to me. However, maybe nobody would accept the real me, and maybe nobody would like the real me, and thus, maybe nobody would talk to the real me.

As you can see, the fear of being the real me is what had been holding me up. The more I resisted being absolutely vulnerable, being genuinely me, the more physically miserable I had become in the last month leading up to my recovery. And through that physical misery, I let go.

I surrendered.

I realized that I needed to clear my shelf of my annual Academy Award for Best Actor in the part of Howard Shifke, and I threw them all in the trash along with the script I had been acting from for the previous 45 years or so. I realized that the script from which I had been acting the Howard Shifke part all those years had been written by others (parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, relatives, friends, etc.); the script had not been written by me, and it had very little to do with who I really was, the real me. And I decided that my script of life going forward would have to be whatever rolled out in front of me, trusting and accepting that if it was rolling out in front of me then it was necessary in my life…accept it and deal with it in the moment, moment after moment. That’s it.

And that night, I let go of the remaining fear of being me. As I have shared with you in the past:

“That night, when Sally came to do the Governing Vessel Acupressure as she had every night for nine months, I told her things were okay and it would not be necessary. If you scroll down to the bottom of the Recipe, you will find the following, which was done at the end of my usual meditations and prayers before going to sleep on June 11, 2010:
“Near the end, I added the following one night before going to bed: “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 5 years ago, and I remain cured of Parkinson’s.

You see, I had found me again. That silly, funny, joyful little 5 year-old boy who had never left me, but who clung so tightly to fear of being his real self. Yes, that little boy whose teacher wrote in his report card in 1966, “Howard also has a sense of humor, which is not common in a kindergarten class.”

In the vulnerability of my recovery, I had found him, me, my essence of who I had been since the beginning, but who I had become too afraid to show to anybody except Sally. I am grateful that she has put up with my silliness for almost three decades.

So, my friends, I share my vulnerability with you. By being vulnerable and casting my fear of being me to the side, I am cured from Parkinson’s, and I have been living a very joyful life. And as a result of that, I have all of you in my life. I am blessed, truly blessed.

I ask you to cast aside your fear of being the real you. Yes, many people will not recognize you. That’s okay. In fact, at first, you may not even recognize yourself. That’s okay, too! However, you have a worldwide community of people right here who already love you and accept you and appreciate you, and we all want you to be the real you and be liberated…each and every one of you.

Vulnerability, vulnerability, and…vulnerability. You can do this.

You are worth it!!!

All my best,



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33 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and vulnerability, vulnerability, and…vulnerability

  1. Susanne says:

    I’m getting better, I’m really getting better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Happy Dancing going on now!
    God Bless and keep going, we are all so lucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Happy Happy Joy Joy

    • Susanne says:

      Maybe being vulernable during earlier years was hard because some of us felt the need to protect ourselves when those years are the foundation for protection, trust, nuturing love. So naturally I don’t feel that comfortable being vulernable especially in terms of money and how am I going to survive?
      For myself I self protected the best I could with a childs heart and mind. I think one of my answers to healing is to forgive everyone for everything. Sounded hard to me at first but its either that or keep hate locked up inside. Easy decision, but I am thinking when my heart is open it can be done.
      Love to you and your family and you bring us all so much,
      God bless us all, and putting out healing vibes to everybody

  2. Jane says:

    This is outstanding. So much to think about. Turns me on my head. So that erroneous beliefs can tumble out. Feeling excited. Such generosity. Thank you so much Howard. Great blessings, Jane

  3. Lohren says:

    Your comments about a sense of humor reminds me of my third grade teacher who wrote a note to my parents saying I laughed too much!! Released that one!! Thanks again Howard for great insight.

    Love and blessings to all.

  4. Karen in Ireland says:

    Wow Howard, what a stunningly beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. So much food for thought. I am truly excited about finding and getting to truly know the real authentic version of me.!
    Big Love to all my fellow warriors! 🙂
    Karen xx

  5. Aneta says:

    Thanks Howard!
    God bless you!

  6. Marie says:

    Howard, you are so wonderful! I love the way you express things; “Annual Academy Award for Best Actor in the part of Howard Shifke” made me laugh out loud.
    With love and best wishes ….
    And a nod of recognition ……
    from the former star of the long-running “Marie Show”

    • Pat in Florida says:

      Thanks for putting your valuable two cents in, Marie!
      I think we all really appreciate that one of the victors over Parkinson’s continues to read Howard’s blog and encourage us as you do.
      God bless you.

      • Debbie says:

        Hi Marie,
        Thank you for your comments. I just love…..from the former star of the long-running “Marie Show”
        Both you and Howard have amazing humor. Just what I need.

  7. Trish in Colorado says:

    Howard, this is such a liberating post! It brought tears to my eyes. I have to admit the fear of being the real me. That is tantamount to rejecting the person that God created and loves. If He has allowed me to have Parkinson’s He had a very good reason to let me go through it. I gave my life to Him when I was 18. Nothing is accidental. There is a gift wrapped up in this, learning to be vulnerable is definitely part of it.

    I feel like doing handstands too!!!!!!!!

  8. Leena says:

    Howard, Your expressions are so real yet so profound, as you touch each feeling so wonderfully. Most of us have lived half of our life’s yet we are not able to nail down our real selves and may be all this while cause most of the times you live life on others terms.

    After reading the post you pause for a moment and start soul searching as to who am I ???. It is real food for thought which will make most of us going till we get to another post. As Trish mentions we got Parkinson’s for a reason and may be to discover our real selves.

    Thank you Howard, You’re our real hero………
    God Bless you.


  9. jimmy says:

    Excelente post Howard, la mayor parte de mi vida he ocultado a mi verdadero yo por quedar bien con los demas , esto ha tenido en una celda mi verdadero ser lo cual se reflejo en mi salud , porque Salud significa vitalidad, que es una expresión del campo de energía. El cuerpo expresa y está sujeto a lo que se mantiene en la mente, y por lo tanto, cuanto mayor sea la cantidad de negatividad mantenida en la mente, mayor será el efecto del campo de energía negativo en la salud física del cuerpo. Por el contrario, cuanto mayor sea la energía positiva que se está manteniendo en la mente, más poderosa será la posición del campo de energía de la vida , como dice Trish hay una razon .
    Si nuestra mente puede llegar a estar programada en una dirección negativa, podemos optar también por programarla en una dirección positiva. La salud es una expresión de la autoestima. Así que ¿cómo aprendemos a amar a nuestro yo verdadero?
    La introspección y el recorrido espiritual son necesarios para lograr un estado de bienestar, la sensación de que nuestra vida es importante, y de que dejamos huella en el mundo. No necesitamos la atención que la enfermedad nos brinda, porque nuestra sensación de importancia proviene de la realización de la grandeza de nuestro verdadero Ser. la alegria , la felicidad, el amor son aspectos naturales de nuestra alma
    Al igual que el sol, el Ser interior está siempre brillante, pero debido a las nubes de la negatividad, no lo experimentamos. No es necesario programarnos a nosotros mismos con la verdad; sólo es necesario eliminar aquello que es falso.
    La eliminación de las nubes del cielo ilumina lo negativo y permite experimentar los campos de energía de aquello que es positivo. Sólo es necesario la eliminación de lo negativo, -la voluntad de dejar los hábitos de pensamiento negativo.
    La eliminación de los obstáculos hacia la vivencia de esto se traducirá en una creciente sensación de vitalidad y alegría de la propia existencia. A medida que esta alegría llega, primero sutilmente y luego con más y más fortaleza, hay una menor consciencia de incluso la presencia del cuerpo, de lo físico en uno.
    A medida que avanzamos hacia los más altos niveles de la conciencia, Existe una generalizada vivencia de alegría difusa, junto a un estado progresivo, interior de serenidad, acompañado de pacífica bendición.


    Excellent post Howard, most of my life I have hidden the real me to look good with others, this has had on my true self an ill which was reflected in my health, because health means vitality, which is an expression of energy field. The expressed body and is subject to what is kept in mind, and therefore the larger the amount of negative kept in mind, the greater the effect of negative energy field in the physical health of the body. On the contrary, the greater the positive energy that is keeping in mind, the more powerful the position of the energy field of life, as Trish says there’s a reason.
    If our minds can become programmed in a negative direction, we can also choose to schedule it in a positive direction. Health is an expression of self-esteem. So how do we learn to love our true self?
    Introspection and spiritual journey are necessary to achieve a welfare state, the feeling that your life is important, and we left our mark on the world. We do not need the attention the disease gives us, because our sense of importance comes from the realization of the greatness of our true Self. The joy, happiness and love are natural aspects of our soul
    Like the sun, the inner Self is always brilliant, but because of the clouds of negativity, we do not experience it. No need to program ourselves to ourselves with the truth; is only necessary to remove that which is false.
    Eliminating clouds and sky lights allows you to experience negative energy fields that is positive. Eliminating the negative, -it will to stop negative thinking habits is necessary.
    The elimination of obstacles to the experience of this will result in a growing sense of vitality and joy of existence. As this joy comes, first subtly and then more and more strength, there is less awareness of even the presence of the body, the physical one.
    As we move toward higher levels of consciousness, there is widespread experience of joy, together with an interior serenity, accompanied by peaceful blessing progressive state.

    • Lohren says:

      I like your comment about not needing the attention the disease gives us. Thanks for your insight Jimmy!

  10. Pat in Florida says:

    Being vulnerable is the hardest thing for me to do because I have spent my life placing layer upon layer of “protection” over the real me, who I thought I didn’t like, so I wouldn’t get hurt.

    I have suppressed the awkward girl who stresses over her inability to make small talk, who feels she has nothing to contribute, who fears saying the wrong thing so I keep quiet. Who doesn’t fit in and views various social circles as “cliques”. Who wants to please everyone in order to be liked. Who strives to be perfect at all costs. Who laughs more over self-consciousness than over things truly funny. I am the person who was told “you’re smart, studious, mature” and took it as “boring, not fun to be with”.

    I have just recently begun to see my character traits, as well as other people’s traits, as part of the way we are made in God’s image. This is something to embrace, not deny or change. We are not designed to fit in, but to be different.

    Having Parkinson’s has helped me minimize other people’s expectations of me. It is time to remove meeting other’s expectations from my to-do list. There is no expectation that is worth me keeping Parkinson’s to meet.

    And so I will peel away the layers, become vulnerable, as directed by our most inspired coach and counselor Howard. I’m not even sure who I’m going to find underneath the “Pat Act”! But I think I know who I want it to be.

    It won’t be the ideal person I have always dreamt of being. It will be someone who operates from her heart. And I will be FREE to be ME!

    And that person does not have Parkinson’s.

    • Linda says:

      Amen. You sound like a wonderful person to me! I appreciate and admire “smart studious, mature” and despise “cliques.” Can’t wait to find out what the “real you” is like and see what amazing things she will share with the world. Go Pat!!!

      • Pat in Florida says:

        My heart is telling me to let Linda know how much I appreciate her thoughtful, loving and encouraging words. So thank you! ❤️

    • Helen Gill says:

      Hi Pat your post bought me to tears, so vulnerable and authentic. How we have all strived for love from others, and now we are learning to love ourselves. How wonderful.

      • Pat in Florida says:

        You said a mouthful, Helen. How often we have been discouraged from loving ourselves, to the detriment of those around us. We can help others so much better after we love and accept who we are.
        Thanks for sharing your tears! ❤️

    • jimmy says:

      Pat muy claro y elocuente los rasgos que describes a ti mismo , con tu perfil me siento muy identificado, facilmente se podria decir que esa descripcion es la mia…como yo aprendi a leer a los 3 años .para mis padres siempre fui etiquetado como el niño maduro serio y bien portado …..cosa que creo una personalidad rigida , lejos de la personalidad natural del niño, al que no se le permitia llorar. no juzgo a mis padres los amo, y ellos me dieron todo su amor, e hicieron lo mejor que pudieron.


      Pat very clear and articulate traits you describe yourself, your profile I feel very identified, one could easily say that this description is mine … as I learned to read at age 3. For my parents I was always labeled mature serious and well behaved child … ..this causes I think a rigid personality, far from the natural personality of the child, who were not allowed to cry. I do not judge my parents, I love them, and they gave me all their love, and did the best they could.

      • Pat in Florida says:

        Crazy how sharing things that I normally would keep to myself brings you to say you identify with me! And we don’t even speak the same language. Haha! Proof that I was speaking the language of the heart. The universal language
        Thanks for sharing, Jimmy and being vulnerable. ❤️

        • jimmy says:

          gracias a ti Pat, por abrir tu corazon y enseñarnos tu grandioso ser interior, que no solamente me permitio sentirme identificado, si no que surgue el sentimiento de comprension y compasion, de darnos cuenta de las debilidades propias de nuestra existencia como seres humanos y de nuestra vulnerabilidad ………por eso cultivemos la voluntad de aceptar de dejar de una buena vez dejar de ser critico hacia uno mismo y los demas y por compasion entender que cada dolor tanto fisico como emocional en uno mismo es un dolor que lo estan sufriendo cada uno de nuestros compañeros..
          Pero Como dijo el Buda, “El nacer ser humano es un gran don porque el ser humano tiene la opción de ganar mérito kármico y deshacer el karma negativo.


          thank you Pat, to open your heart and show your great inner being , which not only allowed me to feel identified , but it allows the feeling of understanding and compassion , to realize the weaknesses of our existence as human beings and our vulnerability ……… why cultivate a willingness to accept to stop once and stop being critical towards oneself and others and compassion to understand that every physical and emotional pain in oneself is a pain they are suffering every one of our colleagues ..

          But as the Buddha said , ” The human birth is a great gift because the human being has the option to earn karmic merit and undo the negative karma.

    • Cynthia (from England) says:

      Thank you Pat for sharing – really appreciated what you said.
      To operate from our hearts and be free to be ourselves without Parkinson’s will be wonderful!

      • Pat in Florida says:

        You’re welcome, Cynthia. ❤️
        Wow, I love having friends all around the world!

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Pat wow! What an amazing post and insight into you. Your truth took amazing courage and strength and vulnerability. You are amazing. You ROCK my friend, you truly ROCK! 🙂
      With Love and Admiration!
      Karen xx

      • Pat in Florida says:

        Thank you so much, Karen. ❤️ I consider YOU one of the masters of encouragement, maybe just a tad behind Howard. Lol!
        (and perhaps just a teeny, tiny bit of an exaggerator )

        • Karen in Ireland says:

          Pat I’m laughing! I’m Irish, we LOVE to exaggerate ! Lol. But I truly mean every word I said to you! My soul to yours! You ARE amazing!
          Karen xx

    • Lohren says:

      Wow Pat, right on!!

  11. Debbie says:

    Hi Everyone,
    It seems like I always have the same things to say after reading Howard’s post and then all of your comments…….Thank you so much Howard for kindness, wisdom, time and energy. Thank you for sharing you with me. Thank you to everyone for their wonderful and heart felt comments………I feel blessed ! I am grateful. I look forward to a great week, allowing the real me to shine through, and to being just the right person I am meant to be. I am worth it. I am my own Parkinson’s cure!
    Have a wonderful weekend
    Love and Blessings

  12. Helen Gill says:

    Reading Howard’s post and picturing this cute 5 year old with a good sense of humour how cute. how sweet. Then picturing all of us as 5 year olds full of joy and love. I just had this picture in my head of dopamine spraying over me, and it’s love being sprayed over me. I feel so close to tears knowing it’s about being accepted by myself. Accepting and loving me as I am now and the beautiful child inside of me. I accept and love you Helen. I accept and love humankind.

  13. Helen C. says:

    There’s a lovely kind of relief in reading everyone’s posts on this subject – thankyou! I’m dealing with this issue right now (no surprise 😉 and with it the realisation that I have never been truly happy, just – as Howard and Marie put it – performing a role I was never sent here to take on.

  14. win says:

    Dear Howard,
    In this blog about vulnerability, you are asking us to leave the “roles we are acting” everyday to please others and the world by completely forgetting who we really are. If we cannot do so, we cannot say goodbye to Parkinson as the “actor” is the one who lives with Parkinson and not real me. So, the day I discover real me, Parkinson and I have to say goodbye as we don’t know each other. In other words, I am cured. THANK YOU Howard for your precious help. win from Paris

  15. Tom says:

    There was a quiz show, “To Tell the Truth”…Question to the guests was, ‘Will the real……….please stand up.’
    Now, I ask myself, ongoingly, ‘Will the real Tom please stand up.’ It’s good training in this straightjacket PD role & all the other roles I’ve taken on to adapt, to please out of low self worth & fear.
    Be good (‘selfish’) to yourself by standing up into your real, ever-present me self.
    It’s just too much adrenaline work the other way…
    Thanks for the love,

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