Last week, I posted Fighting Parkinson’s, and following your heart to your cure. At that time, I was not anticipating a part 2. However, I have been asked a question by quite a few people this last week that has prompted me to write this part 2: “How do I follow my heart when my mind won’t be quiet?”
I asked what the different people meant by this, and I got a similar response generalized as: My heart wants a full recovery, and I want to follow my heart to my cure. However, my mind is filled with self-doubt, and then fear sets in, and then no matter how many times I tell myself that worse looking symptoms are a sign of recovery, my mind keeps telling me I am wrong. How do I quiet that mind?
I began by explaining that I engaged in what I call self-talk. I would tell my mind, “You are incorrect. I am recovering no matter what anybody else thinks, you included.”
Then I have given this example: When I was close to my full recovery, I would have occasional spurts of “normal” movement. On one particular day at the grocery store, the shopping cart took off down the aisle like it had turbo boosters. I was walking in full stride and fast for the first time in 8 months.
In that moment, my first thought was “This cannot be happening; you have Parkinson’s.” As quickly as I could, I told myself, “This IS happening; you are getting better.” I have pointed out that if you look at my knee-jerk mind’s reaction to a recovery event, my mind was in complete denial of reality. The reality was that I was flying down the aisle of the grocery store, and my mind was saying, “This cannot be happening.” Even in the face of recovery, my Parkinson’s mind could not handle it and tried to talk me out of it.
And then it hit me for the first time why this is so hard…for me back then, and for all of you now…CONFLICT!
People with Parkinson’s tend to be conflict avoiders, or should I say professional conflict avoiders. You, and me back then, tend to avoid conflict by making the other people happy, even if it means not speaking your truth (how you really feel). Self talk means conflict within ourselves. And why does this present such a big conflict?
Because, it is the neurologists, and some well-meaning but non-supportive family members, and some well-meaning but non-supportive friends, and most of the rest of the people on the planet who are telling you that you cannot get better from Parkinson’s. And there you are, the audacity of it all, following your heart and actually getting better.
Simply put, your mind cannot handle the conflict. Your mind flat out denies the reality of your recovery and you struggle, absolutely struggle, to tell your mind, “No, you are incorrect. The reality is that I am recovering.”
The struggle is because to speak your truth, even to your own self-criticizing mind, is the functional equivalent of speaking your truth to the neurologists, and to the non-supportive family members, and to the non-supportive friends, and to the naysayers, and this will create conflict with them. So, as a professional conflict avoider, you sheepishly say, “Yes, worse looking tremors mean I am getting worse; yes, you are right, and I am sorry I even considered getting better; yes, _____ (fill in the blank with whatever it is you say to yourself to deny the reality of your recovery).
And guess what? Your symptoms get worse. Why? Because you failed to speak your truth for fear of upsetting the other people. You avoid conflict with them, but you create so much internal conflict with yourself.
It is why, in the end, I realized I needed to resolve my life-long conflict-avoidance-make the-other-people-happy-even-at-my-own-expense issue. It looked like this: “There is not one person on this planet worth me continuing to have Parkinson’s just to make them happy. I need to be happy first, and that is not selfish…IT IS NECESSARY!”
I have discussed this with many people with Parkinson’s over the last week, and everybody has agreed that this is it. I do not think they were just agreeing with me to avoid conflict. This is real. Your symptoms will get worse when you fail to speak your truth, the truth you are feeling when following your heart, and the reason your are failing to speak your truth is because your mind is telling you that somebody will not like what you are feeling in your heart and it may cause you conflict.
You feel you cannot win. Speak your truth and maybe have conflict with somebody else. Don’t speak your truth and guarantee you will have internal conflict within yourself. Nobody said this would be easy.
However, you have the choice to speak your truth or not, to be authentic and genuine with yourself or not, to express how you feel in your heart or not. The “or not” choice is based upon fear of conflict, a conflict that may or may not occur in the future. But also, the “or not” choice guarantees the kind of internal conflict that inhibits and prevents your recovery.
Feel your recovery in every fiber in your body, down to the depths of your soul, and make the choice that supports your truth, your authenticity, your genuineness of who you are in your heart. And, do it fearlessly!
Speak your truth! Follow your heart to your cure! Smile and be joyful and grateful!
You are worth it!!!
All my best,
Hi Howard and fellow warriors,
Excellent insight I have not looked at it quite this way before. I have been a life long conflict avoider and have often cringed at the way it has affected me. It’s time to graduate from the Professional conflict avoiders club, I have been shifting towards it already and enjoying the progress.
“I am worth it!!!”
I’m am so happy to read and feel this beautiful post.
I hope you’re aware of how much your posts and care mean to so many.
This is the best I have read so far, so a million thank you’s.
As ever, bless you
What a beautiful message Paul! I totally agree a million % !!!!!!
I have experienced this, I call it my doubting Thomas. Just this last week I have been in conflict with the Parkinson’s mind trying to beat me.
Thank you Howard for this insight!!
I have had just this type of conflict this week – and my doubting Thomas mind has been challenged by a visit to the nuerologist who said ” guess what?” … the ONLY way is my way and my way means handling your symptoms with DRUGS … well , I tried it and was sick for 24 hours … so like the Little Blue Train who says YES I CAN to climbing a big hill … lets join ranks and show the so called experts that YES WE CAN .
I am lucky to have a fun, understanding and curious neurologist in Minneapolis/St Paul at a research hospital for the University of Minnesota. I’ve been doing fine without the drugs and cannot imagine taking such awful stuff.
So I say, Good for you! Hang in there and enjoy the great miracle that this life is…
Chris in Wisconsin.
Dear Howard and friends,
Yesterday I was walking around crying because it was so scary to risk conflict and speak my truth. Today with this post I am floating on air with the thrill of speaking my truth and saying what I want and need. Thank you a million times.
Anne, Portland, Oregon
Excellent Howard!! You have a big talent to explain the things how they are!! By reading and understanding what‘s going on you make all happy!!! You are the best!!! Thank you🙏
Another grt post Howard sir, we know vry well in our hearts that we r healing from inside our body by following recipe but it is our logical mind that wouldn’t accept this. Thanks for telling us to follow our hearts to cure.
I thank God for you, Howard. Right on target………..again, and again, and again. Thank you for bringing enlightenment to me regarding this issue. I am the queen of conflict avoidance…..but no longer……..it is time to stare that demon square in the face and be done with it. So empowering to speak our truth and be free to heal. Hallelujah!!!!!
Let our hearts lead the way :)!
I am with you in our efforts to defeat Thomas the negative. I am in that battle every day. I recently started running a little on my walks and it isn’t pretty or fast but it definitely helps with the ‘see I can’ thought process.