Fighting Parkinson’s, and the necessity of losing your mind

Okay. I hear it, “Howard has lost his mind!” True. In the final weeks leading up to my full recovery, I realized that what was holding me back was my Adrenaline-driven mind. As much as my heart was filling up with love, compassion, joy, and gratitude, my over-thinking, self-judging, non-forgiving-of-me mind just would not let go. I knew I needed to lose it. You need to lose your mind as well.

Here are some excerpts from what I wrote in 2010 when I still had Parkinson’s and came to this realization:

“The most difficult lesson I have learned is that I am an inadvertent participant in the emotional part of my Parkinson’s disease.

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.”

What I have had to come to terms with over these last couple of weeks is that I ran from the lion for ten consecutive years and he only stopped chasing me on a rare occasion or two for very brief moments. Shortly after the lion stopped chasing me, my tremors began and my Parkinson’s symptoms became apparent and debilitating. My home life, Sally and the children, was, and is, loving and supportive. However, external factors resulted in ten years of stress filled with fear, anger, frustration and resentment. (If you read my March 26, 2010 blog entry, you will see that these are the emotions that Traditional Chinese Medicine associates with Parkinson’s).

Although the stress and those emotions have been put to the side, my subconscious brain still has me functioning in adrenaline mode. After ten years of functioning in this emotional survival mode, my physical body and organs have forgotten how to be normal. I need to get out of adrenaline mode and re-train my organs and body. I have been hesitant to write about this because, from a conventional mind-set, this theory is “out there” and there may be some who read this blog and feel I have lost my mind. To them, all I can say is what Socrates told a young Dan in Dan Millman’s book Way of the Peaceful Warrior, “Sometimes you have to lose your mind before you come to your senses.”

I am willing to go down that path, and I have a lot of hard work ahead of me. There are many meditations and chants and prayers ahead on this path, and none of us know for certain what is at the end of the path. For now, I am going to stay focused on the journey.”

That is what I did. Each day, I kept telling my mind to be quiet as I listened to my heart. I was telling a person yesterday about the day I was in the grocery store and the shopping cart took off like it had turbo boosters. My shuffling transformed into full strides. My mind immediately told me, “This cannot be happening. You have Parkinson’s.” I then had to tell my mind. “No, this is happening. I am getting better.”

And, that is why you need to lose your mind. Think about it. In the middle of great walking for the first time in about eight months, my mind wanted to deny the reality of my physical experience of a sign of recovery. How powerful is your Adrenaline-driven mind? As you can see, mine was extremely powerful.

So, I had to calm it down. I had to tell it how wrong it was. I had to be vigilant and recognize any negativity coming out of my mind. It was necessary for my recovery to lose my mind, that Adrenaline-driven-fearful-anxious-self-judging-self-criticizing-non-forgiving-angry-frustrated-worrisome-stressed-out-mind…you know. THAT ONE!

Click here for instructions on calming the mind.
Click here for additional instructions on calming the mind.

My friends, it is time to join with me and others ahead of you who came to the simple realization that Dan Millman’s Socrates was correct, “Sometimes you have to lose your mind before you come to your senses.” And when you lose your mind and come to your senses, you experience life from your heart and with your senses.

You feel love, gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, joyfulness, happiness, and contentment. And you experience life from your senses: seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, tasting. And it all rises up from deep inside you, a sense, a feeling, an essence you cannot describe, but you know it is there. That is what is real, and losing your mind gets you there.

I know you can do this.

You are worth it!!!

All my best,



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25 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and the necessity of losing your mind

  1. judy says:

    I get it, I think. Just don’t know how to get there. Sometimes I feel dead inside. Can anyone relate?

    • Howard says:

      Hi Judy,

      Thank you for your comment. If you click on the two “Click here” links contained in the post above, they will help you “get there.”

      Love and blessings,

  2. Barry says:

    I’ve got the assignment. I accept. I absolutely KNOW and experience the results of losing my mind. I can and WILL heal myself. This is the best, most mind blowing blog, EVER. This is the assignment I always wanted to get, and now I have the perfect excuse.
    Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiippppppppppppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Thanks for the reminder, Howard.

    BIG TIME, outrageous gratitude for how the whole thing got put together, Barry

  3. Karen in Ireland says:

    Hi Howard, and fellow warriors, I love this post Howard. I have a new line I say every time I observe a negative in my thoughts. I stop in my tracks and tell my mind ” I REFUSE to be taken in by fearful imaginings” . The heart bit is coming slowly but surely as I find I neglect Gratitude when the struggle of movement is so exhausting, but I’m getting there. Enjoying re-connecting with my soul through lots of meditation! The Gratitude is so important and I need to do that more with sincerity not just listing things.
    Big Love to All.
    Karen xx

    • Debbie says:

      Thanks for your heart felt post Karen. When I did Howard’s gratitude challenge last November, I found that writing down 10 things a day that I was grateful for was very helpful. I did it for 30 days and tried not to repeat myself. I tried to write things “in the now “. Things that I was feeling grateful for that day. It was amazing to me how it changed my way of thinking and how I saw the world around me. At first I was constantly looking for things that I was grateful for simply because I knew I was going to need 10 more things for my list. By the time the month was over, I found myself going through the day naturally and easily finding the good and not noticing any bad. My heart was filled with gratitude at how easy and how heart felt my list became. It did change my way of thinking. I can tell by all your positive, uplifting post that you do not have as far to go in the gratitude department as you may think. I am grateful for you and your posts
      Smiles and Gratitude

      • Karen in Ireland says:

        Debbie, thank you for that. I shall have a go at the ten a day again. 🙂 . I actually started a gratitude journal which is very neglected so I shall use it to start my 10 a day.
        Bless you my friend.
        Karen xx

  4. Tony says:

    This blog proves my point that people who get Parkinson’s are powerful emotional thinkers we are gifted people we are not the laid back mind. I know that getting Parkinson’s is a lesson that we don’t have to absorb everything in the world all we have to do is enjoy it. I always looked at my life like a conqueror once one goal was reached I immediately went on to the next goal, but I forgot one important thing and that was to be happy and enjoy myself along the way. Parkinson’s is an alert from God telling you to change for the better. Thanks for healing all of us Howard!

    • Pat in Florida says:

      Much of what you described resonates with me, Tony.
      Many years ago my boss approvingly pegged my work style as “goal oriented”. I could not pull myself away from a work in progress until it was completed – perfectly, of course. I, too, would not be satisfied or enjoy the completed goal, except to cross it off my list and begin the next task.
      I also have the compulsion to absorb everything in the world, and then attempt to use every bit of information appropriately. I once prided myself in being detail oriented (to the extreme).
      Now I see these traits, in their amplified form, as evidence of an adrenaline driven, over thinking mind. The mind we need to lose!

  5. Karen in Ireland says:

    Ps. Howard in re-reading the 2nd link above, in it you say :-
    “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.”
    So this shows me that on some level I am resisting as my mobility has been so bad for so long. I think I need to marinade myself in your ” OKAY” attitude! 🙂 .
    Excellent Reminder my friend.
    Big Love and GRATITUDE! 🙂
    Karen xx

  6. caterina geuer says:

    I have a friend who is into meditation and he taught me a simple sentence that has helped me a lot. When you observe fear you can say, “I see you fear…and I choose love.”

    Simple and powerful 😉

  7. Debbie says:

    Thank you Howard,
    This is definitely an area that I have been working on and will continue to work on. Have a great day.
    Blessings and Gratitude

  8. Maureen Poole says:

    I dont know if I can

    • Pat in Florida says:

      I don’t think any of us can, Maureen. Not on our own.

      I am grateful for everyone’s good tips and ideas in these comments. Karen, Debbie, Caterina….
      Time for us to calm our minds, reject fear and replace negative thoughts with positives – which we can find in our hearts.
      I feel we all know what we need to do, but it’s a little bigger than ourselves.
      So I suggest taking it to the one who is bigger than ourselves, the one who knows every detail about each of us.
      These verses are just a few from many in the Bible which give me confidence in finding divine help. Put this in your heart.

      God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

      You guide me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. (Psalm 73:24)

      Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

      You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! (Isaiah 26:3)

      God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

      Love, Pat

  9. Melanie says:

    Howard said to continually calm the mind then the body will eventually catch up!

  10. Rebecca from New Zealand says:

    Thank for those beautiful verses from scripture, I often read them and feel encouragement.
    I’ve just bought a keyboard and begun teaching myself to play songs, great for my brain and my stiff fingers.
    I can feel joy bubbling up with the sense of achievement.
    Blessings on us all.

    • Debbie says:

      Thanks Rebecca,
      I love to practice the piano for the same reasons. Plus I try to play uplifting songs and it keeps mys mind where it should be. Have a great day.

  11. Sally Carlson says:

    What love and faith from such beautiful people!
    Thank you all for such warm and encouraging words.
    Thank you Howard for hosting this blog

  12. Tom says:

    Dear Life-savours, like a movie in sssssssllllllloooooowwwww motion, discovering MY own, unique speed, enjoying the vistas of intensity & perception, opening up….
    Love & thanks

  13. Waseema from England says:

    Dear Howard and fellow travellers,

    I feel as if losing my mind is the final frontier for me. I’ve just had some fantastic blood test results after going on a vegan detox and having all my mercury fillings removed. I look good now and I’m happy to know that my body has a great healing environment. However, my symptoms have deteriorated slightly over the last six months and I know it’s because I still have work to do on losing my mind.

    The great thing is that I know it can be done even though I struggle at times, having that belief enables me to carry on.

    Love and blessings to all,


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