In my last post, I wrote about the importance of gratitude. Gratitude helps heal your life and propel your recovery. Why? Because it helps you release your dopamine. Today, we take a deeper look at abundant gratitude.
In my book, “Fighting Parkinson’s…and Winning,” at the end of Part Two, you will see that the final section leading up to my full recovery is entitled, “And then I found gratitude, which helped me finish my full recovery.”
Here is an excerpt from the beginning of that section of my book to show you how important gratitude was in my recovery and how important gratitude is in your recovery:
“Parkinson’s is a symptom of life out of balance, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I decided that it would be progressively degenerative disease for which there was no cure for me ONLY if I accepted it that way and did nothing about it.
If you have read this far and still are here with me, then you can see that I decided to do plenty about it! I knew I needed to bring my life back into balance and rid myself of the symptom called Parkinson’s. Gratitude helped me open the final door to my liberation.
My story of a life out of balance. As explained earlier, in the years leading up to the fall of 2009 when the tremors appeared with all the other things that had been going wrong with me and the neurologist pronounced “you have Parkinson’s,” I had been running from the lion for a decade. My Adrenaline-mode-fear-based-mind was always running. This brought me completely out of balance in my life.
While working on my recovery, I realized just how out of balance I truly was. When things occurred that I did not like, my habitual stress, anger, and frustration surfaced. I did not express it on the outside. I held it in. I did not know that I was harming my liver by doing this, but I was harming my liver just the same.
I realized in my recovery that I had been refusing to accept reality, and with the surfacing of stress, fear, anger, and frustration when something occurred that I did not like, I was constantly “trying to undo what had just occurred.”
I was not dealing with life as it was rolling out in front of my eyes because everything was not occurring the way I thought it should be occurring. So, I was trying to undo what had occurred instead of dealing with life, accepting the situation, and creating a solution.
Ultimately, this would cause me to turn the anger directly at me: “you should known this was occurring, you could have put things in place to have prevented this from occurring, I can’t believe how stupid you were for not being prepared….” Simply put, I lacked acceptance of the things I did not like in life and ultimately blamed myself for them. Mentally and emotionally, this brought me out of balance.
On the issue of gratitude, I had no gratitude. This is not because I was not happy about good things when they occurred. It was because I did not expect them to last. I realized in my recovery that I felt so unworthy and so undeserving of the good things lasting that I could not bring myself to a point of gratitude; it would only hurt that much more when the good things went away.
Why give gratitude for something when it won’t last and thus cause myself more pain later when it is gone? In short, I lacked gratitude for the things I liked in life. Spiritually, this brought me out of balance.
To bring balance back to my life, which would lead me to my Parkinson’s recovery, I had to adjust these imbalances. To physically bring my life back into balance, I needed to heal my internal organs. To mentally and emotionally bring my life back into balance, I needed to learn acceptance.
To spiritually bring my life back into balance, I needed to practice gratitude. This seemed like an easy task. I would think about things for which I was grateful and give thanks.
However, my problem was bigger than that. How was I to give gratitude when I did not feel that I was worthy and deserving of the good things that had occurred in my life? I had the most wonderful wife and we had been blessed with three magnificent children.
But, I had Parkinson’s. How could I have done this to them? This was so unfair to them. Having done this to them, how could I be worthy and deserving of anything?
How much more out of balance could I have been than that? I was doing the Recipe every day for my family because my Parkinson’s was so unfair to them. Sadly, I was not even on the list of people for whom I was trying to get better. I did not like myself enough, certainly did not love myself, and absolutely felt it would be selfish to be trying to get better for me. I was so out of balance and I was completely incorrect on this point.
This was such a critically important point in my recovery that I need to discuss it again.
I needed to see myself as worthy and deserving of good things in life, including my recovery. I needed to like myself. I needed to love myself. I needed to want to get better for me. I needed to want to get better for me FIRST! Yes, for Sally and the children, too, but for me first.
AND, I NEEDED TO KNOW THAT PUTTING MYSELF FIRST IN MY PARKINSON’S RECOVERY WAS NOT SELFISH. IT WAS NECESSARY! AND, NOT ONLY WAS IT NECESSARY, IT WAS GIVING!!! It was giving because I would be serving others and myself graciously from the joy in my heart rather than from some obligation in my mind.
Once I realized this, I started giving gratitude for my life. I realized what a gift it was to be alive. “Thank you God for another day of being alive, even in a Parkinson’s body. There is so much I can do with my soul inside a human body. I am grateful.”
And with that beginning to each day, I began working on spiritually bringing my life back into balance.
Each time I gave gratitude, it was an internal announcement that I was worthy and deserving of good things in life and that the good things in life could and would last. Why? Because I was worthy and deserving and abundantly grateful for them. I know this sounds like circular reasoning. It is circular reasoning. But, it worked!!!
The more grateful I became for my life and everything in it, the more accepting I became of everything in my life. “Okay” was my new way of living. For the first time in my life, I was completely accepting of my life as it was rolling out in front of me.
In my recovery, to help me keep a positive attitude, and because I knew it was true, I looked at everything that was happening with me physically as “necessary for my recovery.” I started taking that attitude into my daily life.“
In discussing last week’s post, a person told me of a quote she had heard, “Your attitude of gratitude will determine the level of your altitude.”
It is time to be abundantly grateful and soar to the highest altitude beyond everybody else’s limited imagination of where you can go…ALL THE WAY TO YOUR FULL RECOVERY!
You can do it! I have faith in you!!
YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!
All my best,
Note: Don’t forget, I am providing a special offer of a discounted cost for Parkinson’s Coaching if you sign up by the end of June. Click here to learn more about Parkinson’s Coaching, including how to sign up for the Parkinson’s Coaching Package with the special offer.
Hi Howard, I love this part two as much as part one. I remember my grandmother as a child saying to us “oh you can laugh now but it won’t be too long until you’re crying again”. It is something that has always stuck with me. She didn’t mean any harm by it it was just her old-fashioned way of thinking. To this day, and I have a really good laugh, on the back of my mind. I am thinking I hope that something bad does not happen later. It’s amazing what we pick up as kids that stays in the subconscious mind. Food for thought what other old beliefs could I throw out . 🙂
Big love to all, Karen xx
W.O.W. You hit my nail straight on the head!! Thank you.
“Your attitude of gratitude will determine the level of your altitude.”
Love it, my new mantra!
Thank you Howard!
Variant I: The magnitude of your gratitude will determine the altitude of your attitude.
And, of course, the altitude of your attitude determines just about everything!
I can relate to the word ‘attitude’ in that I know when I’ve got a bad or a good attitude.
I’m finding it harder to get a warm and fuzzy feeling for ‘self-love’ or ‘gratitude’ to the point where I can really put the pedal to the metal and pump some energy through them.
I know this is critical, and Howard’s giving a Herculean effort to get this across, for which l’m about as grateful as I can get…
Feeling a tad frustrated with myself in Wisconsin,
Hang in there Chris, we all get frustrated, most days it’s like the default setting for many of us. I have always loved Marie’s tip in her recovery, “fake it till you feel it”. Just keep whispering to yourself all day long “I love you Chris, you’re doing great”.
I promise you something will shift. 🙂 xx
Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Karen. “Fake it til you feel it” seems marvelously on point to me.
Grateful for the wealth of wisdom on this blog,
Thank you, Howard.
Thanks so much for your advice and sharing your thinking. We’re starting our journey with you and appreciate and are grateful for having you during this journey.
It did hit home. U do it without realizing it. Thank u Howard. I am so grateful for your coaching. Rosemary
I am so grateful to you, Howard, for your coaching and your Recipe.
Your posts are so wonderful.
Sharon in North Carolina
With much gratitude,
As always this post also carries Power that can make the dead body get up and run.
Thank you very much Howard for the wonderful post! Truly appreciate your endless support!
Thank you for the post. I am grateful and I am worthy.
Wishing Howard and all fellow travellers the biggest altitude high .. and me too!
Thank you thank you. I am grateful for this blog, Howard, and all of the Warriors here.