Congratulations — you are in the final five days of the November to Remember, No Excuses November, 30-day Challenge 2020 to do the scaled-down version of the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery®. Also, here in the States, we are having our Thanksgiving celebration today.
For many, it will be a time for seeing relatives and friends. However, this Thanksgiving is a bit different with the Covid-19 pandemic. Some families and friends have decided that for the health and safety of all of the family and friends, it is more prudent to not get together in person. Still, there is much for which to be thankful, and I feel we all know this.
A big part of making this Thanksgiving holiday wonderful and memorable, is the addition of one ingredient that you do not eat…compassion…for others and for yourself.
Thanksgiving is a good time to give thanks and gratitude, but also, it is a good time to revisit kindness and compassion. I am re-posting here the critical information from a few former posts on kindness and compassion:
Prior to my recovery from Parkinson’s Disease, the only other person I had met who had Parkinson’s was my mother. She was one of the kindest, most giving people you ever would have had the pleasure of knowing…kind and giving to others…not herself. Over the last ten and a half years, I have met with, spoken to, Skyped, FaceTimed, WhatsApp Videoed and Zoom Videoed with, and exchanged emails with, an enormous amount of people with Parkinson’s from around the world. You are some of the kindest and most giving people I have met…kind and giving to others…not yourselves. I was the same way. Part of this recovery is learning to be kind to yourself.
You tend to put additional pressure on yourself to be better at everything than anybody else. It is that drive for the unattainable perfection that helped you bring your Parkinson’s symptoms to the surface in the first place…you are doing your absolute best, but you still feel it is not good enough.
On the other hand, you are accepting, kind, and giving to those around you who are doing their best and not being perfect. Something in your mind says, “It is okay for them to be less than perfect because I am going to be perfect enough for all of us.”
As a result of the expectation that you have to be perfect, you never stop thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking…your Adrenaline-mode mind does not stop. Because, to be perfect, you realize at some level that there are multiple exceptions that go to every rule, and there are multiple corollaries that go to every theorem, and there are multiple options that go with every choice…and you have to run them all down and solve them all…and they keep branching out into more exceptions and more corollaries and more options, and you can see where this cycle goes. It is endless.
For those of you without Parkinson’s, this scenario may seem strange and stressful. For those of you with Parkinson’s, I know many of you are reading this and thinking, “So, what’s your point. This is how things work, no big deal.” Here is my point: Thinking this way is a BIG DEAL! It cuts across all three causes of what brings Parkinson’s to the surface as diagnosable symptoms.
It causes anger, frustration, resentment, stress, and anxiety because you simply cannot solve every problem and every scenario. First, you get angry at the situation, and second, you get angry at yourself for being less than perfect and not “having all the answers.”
The anger, frustration, resentment, stress, and anxiety make it difficult to eat properly and you suffer from dietary disaster. Solving all these problems becomes more important than what or when or how you eat.
You burn the candle at both ends and in the middle and your mind never stops thinking, which completely wears it down and upsets our body’s natural rhythms.
So, how do you reverse this mess? Begin by being kind to yourself.
How to begin the process of being kind to yourself:
1. Look in the mirror and say, “I am not perfect.” For many of you, I know this will take some courage and resolve. The rest of us will patiently wait while you go take care of this. It is that important!
2. Go back to the mirror and say, “I do not have to be perfect.”
3. I know, lots of time in the mirror — Go back to the mirror and say, “When I am doing my best, it IS good enough.” This one seems logical, but it is not. Many of you have told me, “I am doing my best, but I do not think it is good enough.” Your best is your best; you cannot do any better than that. Be kind to yourself and accept that if you are doing your best, it is the best you can do, and it is good enough.
That is the formula to being kind to yourself. When somebody else falls short of an accomplishment, you offer them compassion and comfort and say, “That’s okay, you did your best, you have nothing to be ashamed of. It just wasn’t meant to happen.” Being kind to yourself means offering yourself the exact same compassion and comfort you offer others in the same circumstances.
These are critical lessons if you want to be successful with the Recipe and with your recovery. Here is why:
The Recipe is a soul, mind, and body recovery. If you do the body part (Qigong) and at the end, you say to yourself, “I did not do that Qigong perfectly or even good enough, so I probably will not recover,” you have moved backwards. Whatever benefit you have gained for the body is great, but your mind is in negative (self-beating) mode, and your soul is losing faith in recovery.
Be kind to yourself and turn this around:
At the conclusion of doing the Qigong, say to yourself, “In this moment of doing Qigong, I did the best possible Qigong that my Parkinson’s body would allow and I did great in moving forward with my recovery!” That attitude propels your mind with positive thinking, and it propels your soul with continuing faith and hope in your recovery.
There is nothing wrong with being kind to yourself. In fact, being kind to yourself will liberate you as you move forward on your path toward recovery.
So, while you are continuing to be kind to others, keep the happiness, joy and compassion alive by being kind to yourself.
When others ask to assist you with preparing your Thanksgiving holiday, be compassionate to them, smile a big smile, and say “Yes, I would love your help.” By doing this, you allow them to feel good about being able to do something for you.
However, prior to doing this, you need to find compassion for yourself and your situation with Parkinson’s. Otherwise, you either do not accept the help you need or the person feels badly in helping you because you are feeling badly about yourself…and it shows.
Please feel compassion for yourself and graciously accept whatever assistance you are being offered. Oh, yes, that feeling you get inside when you do this is your heart opening and your Dopamine flowing. That is why it feels so good.
Finally, please remember this critically important point: If you are doing the Recipe then you are doing great! When somebody asks you, “How are you doing?” please do not run down a mental evaluation of your symptoms that day to determine how to answer the question and then give them a rundown of how badly your symptoms are that day.
You are not your symptoms. This probably needs repeating: YOU ARE NOT YOUR SYMPTOMS! You are your soul, your spirit, your essence. If you are doing the Recipe with faith and you are asked, “How are you doing?” you should put a huge smile on your face and say, “I am doing great!”
Find kindness and compassion for yourself, and make this your best Thanksgiving ever!!!
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!!!”
Happy Thanksgiving to all! I am grateful for all of you!
And to our children, none of whom will be sitting in person at our Thanksgiving table today, Mom and I love you and are very proud to be your parents. Happy Thanksgiving!
All my best,
Happy Thanksgiving from your MOST perfect, compassionate and kind client. We thank God today for sending you into our lives💕🦃💕🦃
I am always grateful for your kind, compassionate, and inspirational words!! Wishing you a beautiful Thanksgiving with Sally. Appreciate all the virtual and universal love all year long!!🥧🙏🏽🧡🍁
Dear Howard and all,
I’m thankful today that I finally and jubilantly do not need to be perfect! What a relief.
And thanks for this beautiful Thanksgiving post.
Portland, Oregon USA
Grateful for you, your perspective and your success, Howard
With oceans of gratitude, happy Thanksgiving Howard!
Feeling good today and very thankful for your encouragement and positive vibes. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Sally!
I experience some contradictions. When I’m doing the recipe it always reminds me of being ill, it puts me in an ill-mode. I have to reset this mode. I made my own mantra: l’m healthy , wealthy and wise. It gives a slide different message to my body.
One heck is of a useful tome, Howard!
So I’ve got to grit my teeth, knuckle down and be nice to myself? WELL OK!!!!
Your wonderful comments on perfectionist thinking remind me of our vaunted science. It works great in limited practical applications, but will drive you nuts if you try to perfect the grand unification theory because the more you know, the more you find you don’t know!
Einstein couldn’t figure it out – I don’t know what my chances would be?
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your loved ones, Howard. Grateful for you and everything you give. Thank you. In amity …
Happy Thanksgiving to you Howard and Sally I am so thankful for you and so many amazing blessings in my life today !
Beautiful post <3
Happy Thanksgiving to you and Sally as well as a big thank for your steady support we appreciate very much!💐💐
Respected Howard sir,
I am grateful for you and Sally mam. I am grateful for my loving, supportive family.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and to Sally. I am very grateful that you are there helping us all with your love, wisdom and enthusiasm. I am very grateful to be on this recovery journey with you and this wonderful community.
Hi Howard, thank you for the message. I need that for myself. Be blessed.
Thank you Howard, Happy Thanksgiving.
Howard, thank you for your tireless encouragement and help for all of us.
Sharon in North Carolina
Thanks for reminding us to be grateful, gracious, compassionate and most importantly be kind to yourselves.
Happy holidays and thanks for support and encouragement.
I did not realize how important looking in the mirror and saying “I am not perfect and I do not have to be perfect” really is. It is very powerful, and because I really struggle with it, I know it is a huge roadblock to my recovery that I have to break through. Thank you for your insight and giving me strength Howard.
I am in gratitude because I was led to you and this community of incredible spirits.
You always say exactly what I need to hear. 🙏❤️
Thank you Howard for another great message. I’m reminded of the golden rule. “Love others as you love yourself.” You mean it’s really ok to love myself? I have struggled with fully accepting this, yet it’s more than just ok. It’s necessary! This rule extends to being kind and compassionate to oneself as well.
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the perfect one of all? Not me Lord. Not anymore. Only God can take that mantle. I must let it go and trust.
Love this community. Blessings, kindness and compassion all around. Big group hug!