In my last post, I discussed the importance of vulnerability in recovery from Parkinson’s. 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 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.
This issue has come up so many times in coaching calls this week that today I am re-posting a post on vulnerability from three years ago. Here is Fighting Parkinson’s, and vulnerability, vulnerability, and…vulnerability:
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 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 [now 8 years], 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. Click here for a refresher on being your real self.
Vulnerability, vulnerability, and…vulnerability. You can do this.
You are worth it!!!
All my best,