Fighting Parkinson’s, and needing to lose 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.

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 back in 2010 when I had Parkinson’s. Each day, I kept telling my mind to be quiet as I listened to my heart. One 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!

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. 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. Grab onto the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery®, and start losing your mind!

You are worth it!!!

All my best,

Howard

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11 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and needing to lose your mind

  1. Lohren says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Howard, I need to let go of the adrenaline addicted mind. I used to tell people that I was running on adrenaline. Meditation is so important because then we have a chance to quiet the mind, reach for joy and then focus on how it would feel when we are well.

    Thanks for the reminder! Much love to all.

    Lohren

  2. Rita Detweiler says:

    Thank you, Howard, for the example of the grocery cart taking off with your confident strides! Our beliefs that our egos hold on to are so powerful that they rule our lives. You show from that example that by being aware and noticing, you were able to master the ego in that moment. That is huge. Mostly we just move through our days on auto pilot and let the ego run our lives instead of the heart and soul. We see from your example that we can change that. What wonderful encouragement!

    Warm regards to everyone,
    Rita

    • Chris Meyer says:

      Exactly right, Rita. That IS huge. That’s exactly where I am right now – trying to give my heart and soul permission to run the show. It’s mighty tough. That’s why it is great to have a coach like Howard and wonderful people like you helping to sound the charge!

      Best Regards,

      Chris

  3. Jeffrey Callen says:

    Thanks for posting this Howard. It captures where I’m at in my recovery at this moment, trying to lose my mind. I’ve been here several times before over the last eight years. Keeping faith at this time is different. Wishing you well. Jeffrey

  4. Paul says:

    Ooooh Howard this is so inspirational
    I expect to get better every day and I have great hope because of the magical
    and courageous fellow warriors who are on the road less traveled and of course you Howard
    I thank you for all the great help you give us all and for lighting up the way!

    I’m so grateful for my life with pd and grateful for all that comes

  5. Jan - UK says:

    Thank you Howard for lifting my spirits on a difficult day, just when I begin to give up again, your loving guidance helps me to continue,
    love to all .

  6. Penny Wassman says:

    Oh Howard…what a delightful invitation! Now I just need to remind myself to lose my mind more consistently than I’ve been doing (and I must be doing okay because my doctor said he was “very pleased” with my progress when I saw him last week!)..so I’m celebrating and so very happy you are my coach…thank you dear soul!

  7. Lisa Murphey says:

    Thank you for this important reminder. I often get wrapped up in the adrenaline rush that comes from a hard work out and push myself too hard. Since finally including your recipe into my daily schedule, I am starting to learn of the healing that happens in the quiet moments when I actually do lose my mind. I am feeling and appreciating the calmness and tranquility that the meditation and chantings bring. I believe healing is happening even if I can’t see it yet and look forward to my shopping cart moment as well.
    Love and light,
    Lisa

  8. Chris Meyer says:

    Thanks for the post, Howard.

    It looks like the mind sets up negative feedback loops with the body’s PD symptoms that go something like this: the mind notices a symptom is worse, worries about it, which makes symptoms worse, then the mind notices a symptom is worse…

    Take the mind out of the loop, and it collapses.

    This opens up room for living life from a positive, compassionate and joyfull viewpoint that can lead to powerful positive feedback loops!

    Losing my mind in Wisconsin,

    Chris

  9. Sylvia says:

    Thank you Howard,
    Very powerful.
    I am losing my mind in The Netherlands.
    Much love,
    Sylvia

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