Fighting Parkinson’s, and acceptance of life in the moment

Parkinson’s is a symptom that life has gotten out of balance, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Many people are consumed with “why did I get this?” and “how bad will my future be?” When you are consumed with looking backwards with self-judgment and self-criticism, and you are consumed with looking forward in fear, you completely lose sight of the only thing that is real…this moment.

Parkinson’s…the symptom reflecting a life out of balance. Physically, you are off balance. You move slowly and cautiously, often looking down instead of forward. What does that do? It puts your body in a posture that makes it virtually impossible to walk balanced. Your neck is bent, your spine is bent, the fluid in your semicircular canals is moved, and your visual frame of reference (important for balance) is your legs or the floor, and you acquire what is often referred to as a Parkinson’s gait.

Mentally, you then become off balance because you are afraid of falling or freezing, and you are afraid of the future with Parkinson’s. This is right where Parkinson’s wants you…not living in the moment, but instead living in the past with self-judgment and self-criticism (getting Parkinson’s) and being fearful of the future (life with long-term Parkinson’s).

Spiritually, you give up hope that you ever will get better. At that point Parkinson’s is winning.

Essentially, when you stare at your legs and feel unbalanced, you are looking at the past. When you feel unbalanced, you fear the future. How can you move forward in life in a balanced manner if you are staring backwards and it makes you fearful of where you are going? Faith. And what goes hand-in-hand with faith? Acceptance and surrender in the moment.

You are walking along and suddenly you freeze. The only thing happening, actually happening in that moment, is that you are standing there frozen. That’s it.

Let’s look at what people have reported to me happens when they freeze.
1. Why did this happen?
2. What did I do wrong in life to deserve this?
3. I think people are staring at me?
4. My Parkinson’s must be getting worse.
5. I am never going to be able to move from this spot.
6. How soon will I need a walker?
7. How soon will I be in a wheelchair?
8. I cannot see myself ever getting better.

Okay! This is the short list, but I would imagine you get the point.

Now, let’s examine what really is happening here.
You freeze. This is what is happening in the moment.
1. Why did this happen? This your mind looking backwards towards the past.
2. What did I do wrong in life to deserve this? This your mind looking backwards towards the past.
3. I think people are staring at me? This your mind assuming what people are thinking.
4. My Parkinson’s must be getting worse. This your mind telling you somebody else’s gloom and doom story.
5. I am never going to be able to move from this spot. This your mind looking at the future with fear.
6. How soon will I need a walker? This your mind looking at the future with fear.
7. How soon will I be in a wheelchair? This your mind looking at the future with fear.
8. I cannot see myself ever getting better. This your mind looking at the future with fear and putting a load of toxicity on your soul…enough toxicity to make you start to lose faith.

Okay! As you can see, the only thing actually happening in that moment is that you froze. All the rest comes from your mind, and it takes you out of the moment. Now let’s see what a healthy dose of acceptance and surrender in the moment can do for you.

You freeze. Response: “I am frozen. Okay, what am I going to do about this?”
1. Receive a few deep breaths to relax. This keeps you in the moment.
2. Tell yourself, “I was walking fine right before I froze, so I will be okay.” This keeps you in the moment.
3. Tell your legs, “Legs, I know that you know how to walk, so let’s just take a step. Thank you.” This keeps you in the moment.
4. Tell yourself, “I am doing the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery®, so I know I am getting better.” This keeps you in the moment.
5. Tell yourself, “I am recovery, so this is just something that is necessary for my recovery.” This keeps you in the moment.
6. Tell yourself, “It does not matter why I have Parkinson’s. I know I am getting better.” This keeps you in the moment.
7. Tell yourself, “It does not matter why I am frozen. I know I will be walking again soon.” This keeps you in the moment.
8. Tell yourself, “Nobody owes me an explanation why this is happening. I know I am getting better.” This keeps you in the moment.

This type of acceptance and surrender keeps you in the moment. It makes the announcement, “If something is happening in my life, I accept that it is there, and if I do not like it, I will put together a solution. Nobody owes me an explanation as to why it is there, so I will face life and deal with it as it roles out in front of me.”

Having this approach gives you control of your mind and lands your safely in your heart and soul.

In the freezing scenario above, look at what is really happening:
1. You are walking along fine. At that point, your mind is not in the past with self-judgment and self-criticism (how did I get Parkinson’s) and it is not in the future with fear (life with long-term Parkinson’s).
2. Intervening factor: You freeze.
3. You mind jumps in with gloom and doom or your heart and soul jump in with acceptance and surrender.
4. That’s it. It becomes a choice to go to the past and future in your mind or to stay in the moment in your heart and soul.

When your mind jumps in with gloom and doom, it takes you into the past and scares you about the future; you stay frozen with fear. When your heart and soul jump in with acceptance and surrender, your faith flows, and so does your walking; you just ease into the next next step and off you go like nothing happened.

I have provided one scenario here to give an example of how to use acceptance and surrender to stay in the moment. This process can be used throughout your recovery. Plus, if you are giving gratitude when the good tings are happening in life, your dopamine will flow better and your symptoms will not bother you as much.

Acceptance, surrender, and being in the moment takes practice. It is not the way most of you have been taught, and the looking back to the past and looking forward to the future in fear has become a habit. You are worth taking the time to replace the old habit with your new, healthy habit of acceptance, surrender, and being in the moment.

I know you can do this!

You are worth it!!!

All my best,

Howard

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19 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and acceptance of life in the moment

  1. Lohren Christie says:

    Ah yes, staying in the moment and dismissing fear is possible. Great post Howard, thank you. You wonderfully remind us how to approach this lost balance of life!!

    Blessings and good health to all of us.

    Lohren

  2. Sushil Kapila says:

    Yes, it’s true to get aggravated symptoms in pd if you think of past and future. Just be in present and handle the current situation.
    Your self belief, acceptance, faith, surrender and gratitude is greatly beneficial to improve Dopamine flow and recovery from Parkinson. Thanks.

  3. Mari says:

    “… When your heart and soul jump in with acceptance and surrender, your faith flows…”
    Wow! What a powerful phrase! And what powerful advice to help us stay in the present moment.
    Where healing can occur.
    Thank you for dedicating your life to helping people like us experience full recovery.
    Going with the flow
    Lots of love
    Mari

  4. Joe says:

    Thank you Howard. Lately, I have been worrying about the past and the future so my symptoms have been bothering me more. Staying in the moment has been difficult for me, but this blog today will help me get back on track. Thanks again Howard!

  5. Veronica Urquhart says:

    Thank you Howard for this wonderful blog. I have to keep my mind on the present as it is so easy to get lost when you are having a difficult day. You are like a leprechaun on my shoulder reminding me to stay present. Thank you for not giving up on us.
    Love and blessings
    Veronica 🌱🌺

  6. Steve Alten says:

    Boy, did I need this.

    Guilty of all the above. Here I am, author of the #1 movie in the world, and I am miserable. Live in the moment… yes sir.

  7. Kathy from Minnesota says:

    I’ve been fretting about how long I can keep my business going with PD. Instead you have reminded me to stay in the present moment with gratitude and hope.
    It’s hard to explain The very real medicine of hope to the doctors.
    Thank you Howard And all who posted.

  8. Karen In Ireland says:

    Hi warriors, I had a fall at weekend. My legs froze completely and was near top of stairs. My foot would just not lift. I tried holding on to rail but was tremouring so badly that my legs gave way and I fell backwards on to the ground. I am truly struggling so badly and all the time. I have had to make a decision to go on to dopamine drugs. I am devastated as I have battled so hard for recovery since 2012. I was on mild drugs for last 20 months but still could not function out side of home as my legs are so unsteady. I am too weary on this journey and I know I gave my all to what I believe in. I just want to live again and have some quality of life. I go from chair to chair each day. It’s an existence. My day evolves around making it from the chair to the toilet and the shower on a really good day. I have been out of my home 5 times in the last four years. I tremor frantically when anyone visits and now also any time I talk. I did my best warriors. I feel peaceful in my decision because I need people and life and nature. I have sacrificed to much in my belief in my recovery. Howard you are amazing and I am sorry I didn’t make the finish line. I am amazed each day that I still have parky as I believed it would leave me when I have done so much mentally and spiritually to get there. Maybe next time around. I love you all dearly. Big love, Karen xx

    • Howard says:

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you for your kind words. No need to apologize to me. Everybody has to do what he or she feels is right in the moment.

      Many people, like yourself, who come to this website and post comments on the blog are taking medications. There is nothing to feel badly about.

      Wishing you all the best!

      Love and blessings,
      Howard

    • Susana L says:

      Dear Karen,
      You define brave. Your words are always helpful and inspirational. I hope your quality of life improves immediately. I am wishing you every joy of health and happiness. Thank you for sharing all your sincerity and depth of vision.
      Sending you great love and the immense light of healing.
      You are in my prayers.
      With love,
      Susana
      XXXXX

    • Berni says:

      Hi Karen you are a brave courageous woman and deserve to enjoy your life. If you need help in the form of meds after such a long fight then so be it. I hope you are able to get out and about soon and enjoy all the things you’ve missed. Lots of love Berni xx

  9. ken says:

    Dear Karen
    My heart aches for you dear friend.

  10. Debbie says:

    Dear Karen,
    I love you ! You are a very strong warm women!! Your comments in the past and throughout have made me smile, laugh out loud and have often given me courage .
    I have been doing the program about the same time as you. I am not taking any meds for parkinsons but have been diagnoised with other diseases as well. They require meds. I do my best when I live in the moment, and keep a smile on my face. It keeps me going. I am doing the best that I can each day. I am so thankful for people like you who share.
    As always I think Howard is right. It is just the place we are in at this moment. There is no need to apologize, to fear, or to give up. I am grateful for Howard and his advice. I am moving forward , learning as I go. I figure all of this is just part of my recovery.
    I send my love to you and am carring you around in my heart.
    Hope you have a great week, and all the many things we have to be greatful for will shine through.
    Love Debbie

    • Karen In Ireland says:

      Beth, Berni, Ken and Debbie, thank you for your love and beautiful words to me. You all touched my heart this day. I love you all dearly. Thank you for being you as you are amazing courageous people and warriors to the core. Debbie I feel so weary for you having to deal with another disease, God bless you in it. Your sunny ever positive attitude remains a constant in the years I have known you. You truly Rock! I am so happy that I have made you laugh along the way. Keep smiling and don’t ever change.
      Big love and gratitude for having you all in my life. Karen xxx

  11. Waseema says:

    Dearest Karen,
    Please do not feel that you have to apologise. You are doing what you need to do to live in the present moment, and that’s good enough. You are a great source of inspiration for everyone who reads this blog. I am always full of admiration for your fighting spirit and look forward to reading your posts. Please do not stop sharing. I’m still looking forward to that game of hopscotch with you!
    Today, my son is typing for me. I am really struggling with my hands. One day I will be typing myself.
    Love and Blessings,
    Waseema
    xxx

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Waseema thank you for your love and efforts to reach me through your thoughtful son. I can imagine how tough it is with your hands temporarily not working but I love that your beautiful spirit knows it is not forever
      thanks for our game of hopscotch reminder. Oh the joy of that day happening . Btw I have recently discovered a little microphone image on my iPhone beside the typing keys. If you press it once you can dictate a message. It even puts full stops in when you tell it. The kid in me loves it and my thumb gets shakey often when I type so makes it easy.
      I love you dear friend. Hang in there. xx

  12. Dear Karen, I only just read this post. My thoughts are with you. I know something of what you are tackling each day. Blessings.

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