Fighting Parkinson’s, and accepting, surrendering, and being 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 things are happening in life, your dopamine will flow better and your symptoms will not bother you as much.

Accepting, surrendering, 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 accepting, surrendering, and being in the moment.

I know you can do this!

You are worth it!!!

All my best,

Howard

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10 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and accepting, surrendering, and being in the moment

  1. Anne Mavor says:

    Thanks for another great post. I appreciate the blow by blow description of our over active minds and then an alternative to that. When I briefly experience a symptom I don’t like, I am so glad to be doing the recipe. Instead of going down the bad scenario path I can just say, “so what,” to that symptom with the knowledge that it doesn’t mean anything about my future.

  2. Chris Meyer says:

    While I don’t tend to freeze, I have noticed that after stressful events my left hand tremor gets worse and my walking becomes much stiffer and choppier, just like that!

    Thanks for this excellent toolkit. I know it works, because whenever I catch myself doing the above, if I can just relax, the symptoms slip away just as spontaneously…

    This gives me confidence that I am on the right path: methods that produce objectively identifiable results.

    As always, thanks for your loving commitment to treating PD.

    Chris in Wisconsin

  3. Jan - UK says:

    Thank you Howard – your wisdom in the blog and in our coaching sessions is a blessing – common sense prevails and your encouragement and faith in our own ability to stop, reverse and cure PD is priceless – thank you , Jan Uk

  4. Larry Simpson says:

    Hi All,
    Again this article is so timely and pertinent! I just got back from a morning dog walk where I concentrate on accurate movements. The stuff fights me!! I stop, tell it no, and continue.
    Thank you Howard

  5. Joe says:

    Thank you Howard! This blog came just in time for me. I had forgotten to stay in the moment and take deep breaths.

  6. Johnny L Woodruff says:

    Thank you, Howard. I need to be reminded of this again and again.

  7. Sharon says:

    Thank you, Howard, for this wonderful information. You are always giving us what we need.

    Sharon in North Carolina

  8. Robert says:

    Thank you Howard, such a timely post for me as I have been having trouble walking and with your coaching and this wonderful blog I will get past this! I know that I am healing but Mr. Parkinson is fighting back every step of the way. I will never give up or surrender, this is a fight that I will win. I have faced many challenges in my life but none as tough as this one.

  9. June says:

    Thank you very much Howard for the great post! Very important point for recovery. Though I do not freeze when I walking, but, I am exactly as you described that always think back what if I did wrong, and fear of my future. It seems you did read my mind! It is very helpful to point out this and remind us that we should replace the old habit with a new, healthy habit of accepting. Otherwise would be a big minus our effort for recovery.

  10. Scott Elliott says:

    Howard,
    I thought I was following the cure for PD, but after reading this weeks post I have been reminded I need to get back to the roots of the program. My symptoms have been acting up requiring me to be a full time student of the program to re-learn, learn and keep on keeping on.
    Thank you my friend,
    Scott from Iowa

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