Fighting Parkinson’s, and the necessity of vulnerability

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 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 [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,



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28 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and the necessity of vulnerability

  1. Karen in Ireland says:

    Hi Howard, this is truly one of my favourite of your posts. I love little Howard and I’m so delighted for you that you got him back. I love that Sally has always known him. This post makes me wonder who I really am. The world has always seen a tall, attractive confident woman. I learned how to be that woman. My sisters say I am a social butterfly. (pre-parky). My nature is actually quite shy and yet I’d talk the hind legs off a donkey as the saying goes. Soooooo much food for thought in this one Mr Shifke….
    Big love to all the warriors and their younger selves… I was only recently talking to Chuck on here about inner child work.
    Karen xx

    • Berni says:

      Hi Howard

      As Karen says a powerful post.
      We all start out as simple souls and then life gets in the way be it as a result of our upbringing or events during life. I am on the road to recovery and a chance to rediscover the child in me!

      You on for that game of hopscotch Karen?😃

      Berni x

      • Karen in Ireland says:

        Oh what joy it will be Berni the day I can play hopscotch again! Joy Joy Joy! Truly I will cry for the joy of that! I will take a picture for all the warriors to see! :-) xx

        • Berni says:

          Look forward to seeing that Karen. I will be on the dance floor probably doing my Saturday Night Fever routine ha ha!

          Berni x

    • Chuck R. in Ky says:

      Hi Karen,
      Since we last chat about my inner child, I now know Who I really am.
      At the age of 35, 22 years ago, I became a kids entertainer for 12 years.
      I was a clown, Magician, balloon artist, stilt walker, unicycle rider, Face painter, I did it all.
      I had tons of fun, lots of laughs and thought these were just characters I was playing.
      But now I know those characters are the real me, Funny me! Now I just have to let go of the yucky stuff keeping me from Being the real me.

      I appreciate all the Warriors that read and post on this blog it’s very helpful to me.

      Life is good, life is for us, love and blessings to all

      • Karen in Ireland says:

        Go Chuck! Delighted you have found the truth of who you are. May the Joy in you shine brightly! Chuck sounds like a truly joyous guy, full of fun and laughter! You Rock! Big love to you friend.xx

  2. Rita and Russ Detweiler says:

    Hi Karen,

    Your reply struck a chord with me. I used to be shy too growing up, and over the years I have also become too talkative – too many details. Actually I feel it is compulsive. So now the question is how to lose that compulsion. Just being aware is a necessary step.

    Thanks for your posts; I find a lot of insight in them :).


    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Hi Rita, thank you for your kind words. For me, I think I need to talk less and listen more, which has happened by default with parky. Chatting makes me tremor more these days. :-). How is Russ getting on with The recipe? xx

  3. Karen and Don in Texas says:

    Thanks for this profound post, Howard!

    I remain in the learning progress that anything so fragile that it stays on the I-might-lose-it-if-I-breath-wrong status did not belong to me in the first place; therefore, I am so much better off with that noun (a person, a place, or a thing) eliminated from my life.

    Love, hugs, and all of God’s blessings be upon each of us.


  4. Türkiye den Yusuf says:

    hello howard and parkinson warriors will now be my proof that you and your brothers who are fighting with parkinsons in the world together with you howard pioneer will achieve this. when it contained 27 drugs in one day, this number dropped to 3 today. The days I’ll completely get rid of the symptoms are very close.

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Hi Turkiye, that is massive progress to get from 27 tablets down to 3. Well done you. Karen xx

    • Berni says:

      Hi Turkiye

      Very well done that’s amazing! You are a wonderful example and deserve your complete recovery. You are certainly worth it !

      Berni x

      • Hacı Yusuf says:

        thanks berni and karen. I have done this with your prayers and support, and with the determination that howard has taught me.

    • Beth of CA says:

      Hi Yusuf, that is amazing! God is Good…recovery is just around the corner!
      Blessings, Beth

    • Chuck says:

      Hi Hacı Yusuf,

      Thank you for the great fantastic news! Your post is very encouraging, well done. I’m very happy for you.

      Blessings to you

  5. Hacı Yusuf says:

    the healing indications increased. There is no downsizing anymore. No frozen face. Eyes are alive

  6. Tony says:

    Great Post Howard!
    Fear plays such a huge role in Parkinson’s. For me this was the hardest thing to overcome. Once you can let go of the fear and love yourself for who you truly are, Parkinson’s takes a backseat. I had so much I was afraid of but it wasn’t until I let go of my fear and awareness of Parkinson’s then things started to feel better.

  7. Debbie says:

    Thanks to Howard for this vital post. I looked up the word “vulnerability ” and it said, the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
    When I look at being the real me, I realize how often I feel the need to guard or defend myself. This could be why I can relate some to Rita when she said that she was too talkative, and gave too many details. I would have to agree that, for me, this has become a habit or maybe even compulsive. I am grateful that I have become aware of doing this. Rita is right. I have to be aware before I can change.
    I, like Turkiye, have been put on many different medications. I can relate to coming off of meds. Congratulations! It is not an easy task. In the meantime, I am grateful for the medications and the doctors for keeping me alive. I am grateful that I can live and enjoy another day while I work towards my full recovery.
    I am grateful to Howard for his loving efforts. I am grateful to each of you for your posts and your vulnerability. Thanks to all of you for sharing with me.

    Have a beautiful week.

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Hi Debbie, I knew you had another medical challenge apart from Parky, as there was a period where we lost you here. To read that it was life threatening was upsetting as you are such a special lady and one of my oldest friends on here. So happy that you are back from your latest challenge with your ever positive happy disposition. That’s why you will always be “little miss sunshine” to me. :-) Big love, Karen xx

      • Debbie says:

        Hi Karen,
        Thanks for your kind words. Yes we have become old friends. I am sending love your way . Thanks for being so brave and courageous and for pulling so many of us up along with you.
        I will see you at the finish line :) :) my friend !

        Love Debbie

  8. Waseema says:

    Congratulations Yusuf,
    Your commitment and belief are showing you results! I too have a sparkle in my eyes that has been noticed by others. I’m learning how to let go and not resist any more. I really enjoy the pleasure of noticing aromas of food and flowers. In fact I can say I’m very happy with life these days. I feel as if God has showered me with blessings. Thank you Howard and all the warriors for the prayers and support. This blog is a lifeline for me.

    Also congratulations Karen in Texas for your recovery.

    Love and blessings to all.


  9. Pippa says:

    Inspiring Turkiye! Im so happy for you . Do you still feel many symptoms?

    • Hacı Yusuf says:

      My doctor dropped the dose of the medicine I used. It is not right to cut the pills suddenly. I have been fighting for 10 years. The medication I am currently using is at the lowest dose, and I am better at this point. My doctor could not understand.

    • Hacı Yusuf says:

      Yes Pippa , the symptoms are diminishing but not over. I listen to my body, I reduce medication accordingly.

  10. Pippa says:

    Hi Haci Yusuf , Have you also changed your diet?

  11. Hacı Yusuf says:

    Hi pippa i am not doing any diet

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