Today is the 20th day of my 30-day November to Remember, No Excuses November, Challenge 2020! Click here to review the challenge. At this point in time eleven years ago, I was not doing very well. Here is an excerpt from my Parkinson’s daily journal from eleven years ago today:
No, I was not writing with invisible ink. Simply, I was not writing at all because I could not. November 17, 2009 was my last daily journal entry, and in March of 2010, I started this blog.
My November 17, 2009 entry was difficult to write (and hard for me to read, even now):
“11/17/09. Up at 4. Eight hours in bed. Got up a few times to use the bathroom, but no problem going back to sleep.
I feel rested and stiff…slow moving, but the weighted feeling of yesterday is gone. Got to the kitchen at 4:09. Expecting a great day today.”
I had written in the daily journal every day for almost two months, and I could write no more. The pain was too intense and barely anything was readable after the first two letters of each word.
However, I had listened to my body the day before and went to bed at 8:00pm. Apparently, I needed the extra rest.
As you can see from above, my 51-day Parkinson’s Daily Journal came to an end because of increased symptoms taking away my writing abilities. It took a large dose of faith to continue with the Recipe at that point, but I did. (If you wish to read my entire Parkinson’s Daily Journal, you can find it in Appendix One of my book, Fighting Parkinson’s…and Winning).
Hindsight tells me that it was a blessing that I could no longer write in my daily journal. When you read through the Journal, yes, there is a lot of hope and faith, and there is a lot of love for my wife and children. However, I will have to admit that there is a whole lot of being consumed with living Parkinson’s instead of living life.
Looking at it now, I see that I was measuring my deterioration, from how long it took me to get to the kitchen each morning to how stiff I was or how painful my rigidity had become.
I had yet to let go of my perfectionism. Since I was documenting my Parkinson’s recovery, my perfectionism told me that I needed to document everything “perfectly,” right down to each thing I could no longer do each day that I could do the day before, including a full and complete analysis of my symptoms right down to the comparison of “are my symptoms better or worse today than they were yesterday.” Sound familiar?
When I no longer could write in the daily journal, I stopped paying so much attention to the minutiae of the symptoms, and I stopped comparing each day to the day before. Since I was not documenting these things on a daily basis, my need to be perfect about what was going on with my symptoms disappeared, and my ability to be in the moment of what I was doing grew. My symptoms became nothing more than a reminder that I had more work to do in my recovery.
I know I had been measuring those things so I would know when I was recovering. How foolish was I. I had overlooked the fact that every day when I woke up and got out of bed and did my Recipe, I was recovering.
That’s right, recovering…moment by moment…recovering just in the doing! And, I did my Recipe because I had faith that I would be cured. Even in the midst of my complaining, look at the last thing I wrote on November 17, 2009, “Expecting a great day today.” That is faith. You can have it, too!
If you lack faith in your recovery, you stay in bed or you sleep so much you don’t know if it is day or night, and you don’t do the Recipe…what would be the point…you have no faith you will be cured.
Faith is an interesting thing. When you are experiencing wonderful things in life, faith in yourself and your life is easy and natural. When you are experiencing difficulties in life, faith in yourself and your life is difficult and unnatural.
Where you make progress in life is when you are experiencing difficulties in life and you still can find faith in yourself and faith in your life. This is living your life…now!
For those of you who are struggling with your Parkinson’s and shaky with your faith in yourself and your life, please seize this opportunity. Seize the opportunity to begin your recovery by having faith in yourself and faith in your life, which leads to faith in your recovery. Seize the opportunity to make this your November to Remember!
Right here, right now, today, look inside yourself, find that spark of faith you used to have but misplaced somewhere along the way, and grab onto it, light it up, and say, “I have the power to heal myself.”
Please remember to hold onto that spark of faith strongly…you will need it to fight your Parkinson’s on the bumpy road ahead. And while you are holding tightly to your spark of faith, take action against your Parkinson’s, do the Recipe, and be your own cure! You are worth it!
Make the commitment to cure yourself from Parkinson’s!
Okay, everybody, put big smiles on your faces and chant together so the whole world can hear:
“Parkinson’s is curable.
I am my own Parkinson’s cure.
I am slowing, halting, and reversing the progression of my Parkinson’s.
I am extraordinary.
I am recovery.
I am doing great!
AND, I AM WORTH IT!!!”
All my best,
NOTE: In case you missed my previous post, click here to read the post, “Fighting Parkinson’s, and Marie is nine years symptom free!”
Thank you, Howard, for a reminder to have Faith.
It’s so encouraging to hear you say about comparing symptoms to the day before and timing yourself on certain things as I realised that’s exactly what I’ve been doing, so this blog is very timely! Bless you Howard, you’ve not forgotten what it’s like having Parkinson’s xx
Yes, keeping faith when I am experiencing something challenging is when it is even more powerful! Love getting this reminder. Thanks Howard so much.
Anne, Portland, Oregon
It’s a bit hard to keep faith when everything falls apart around us. Partner has to quit his job because of health. Selling things. He’s going through a tough time and so we are going through a tough time. Is there any room for faith or trust? I had to adjust meds to keep on functioning, Faith where are you?
Yes, thanks for sharing from your own experience. Most helpful.
As to faith, I find taking it with a spoonful of playful acceptance helps it go down real smooth….
Thank you for all you do for us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Howard, thank you for this post on faith. Just a few months ago, I could not write, but I continued to do the Recipe and now can write again! Yes, it is a little shaky, but I can write again! Thank you so much!
Sharon in North Carolina
I certainly own my perfectionistic tendencies…it’s fun to imagine giving myself a “spoonful of playful acceptance” (thanks for this image Chris Meyer)…gotta laugh sometimes huh? Thanks as ever Howard for your wisdom and caring support.
Hello everyone, I’m fairly new to doing Howard’s recovery recipe and feeling better everyday . I feel a huge difference doing Howard’s recipe. After a 40 min Power walk my shaking is a lot settled ! Thanks for your Positivity, Howard, it’s contagious . Have a great weekend everyone 😀😀😀
Hey Petra. I get what you’re saying. It is like being caught in a storm. The trick is finding the eye of the storm in the midst of the chaos. Finding that calm, even in small amounts gives you space to find your faith. It is definitely not easy.
Faith crisis, certainement. I can barely balance, barely walk, in pain all the time – and I’ve only had Parkinson’s 5½ years. I’m getting to the point where I will be physically unable to do any of the Recipe. Then what? I also keep a daily journal (handwritten because typing is even more torturous). Howard called his: ‘documenting his recovery’; mine is more like a misery memoir. Every time I start a new exercise book, I sob because I still haven’t recovered. And yet … Something that Marie wrote in 2014, quoted in Howard’s previous blog post, tugs at me. She said that every time she felt herself falter, she acted as if she had faith until her faith caught up with her again. OK. Here goes.
Thank You Howard. I’ve been catching myself having some doubts, even as my Neurologist says that I’ve improved. One step back, two forward. Pray for Faith and keep working on your recovery. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Thank you Howard for your timely words of wisdom and inspiration. Upon reading about your perfectionism a bell went off in my head. Of course that is why I have struggled a bit lately. My need to be perfect is great fuel for my ego mind to seek control and try to cause me self doubt, What a great awakening. I have been wondering what was causing my wavering optimism. My need to be perfect. Your sharings seem to always address what I am dealing with at the time. Perhaps we are all links in a chain of living invites needed kindred spirits. Whatever. I bow in gratitude to your intuition and guidance Howard
Thank you, dear Howard, as ever deep thinking and helping us not to lose our confidence in the recovery, thank you!!
Thank you Howard !
I know faith can move mountains but can be tough to hold onto especially at low times. Thank you for the reminder of how important it is and how critical it is for our recovery!
Howard, you seem to come out with the right write-up every week. This week on Faith is timely, because I am going through a patch with low confidence on Faith. This write up has now rekindle my Faith in the recovery recipe, because I am grateful for my life and I worth it!
Thank you for your encouragement, wisdom and inspiration.
Thanks to you Howard and this community of followers. I have faith in my ability to heal myself. It’s obviously difficult, but it can be done. You and others have proven that, and I’m diligent enough to do it. I’m living the recipe life until I wake up one day and have my recovery. That’ll be a great day, but then today is a great day too. Yesterday was great and tomorrow will be great. Thank you for teaching me that. It is a great lesson.
Love to all. We are each worthy of recovery from our suffering. We just need to choose it. Have a great day.
Pearls drawn from the wisdom of Howard and all who are listening and reading here:
1. PD doesn’t take a day off. Neither can I. My November challenge was to do some version of the Recipe every day.
2. Nothing about the Recipe is easy. If my goal was easy, I’d take a drug, And that ain’t gonna happen.
3. Gratitude. Let it overwhelm me.
4. Faith–the belief in what I can’t see. Let it hold me.
5. My “Recipe Reward”–Picking an additional item from the Recipe and doing it again instead of giving myself a bowl of ice cream.