Fighting Parkinson’s, and compassion for yourself

I have mentioned in the past that people with Parkinson’s tend to be the kindest and most compassionate people I have ever met. However, the kindness and compassion is for others, reserving judgment and criticism for themselves.

Twelve years ago, I began doing the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery®. At the same time, I began keeping a hand-written Parkinson’s Daily Journal. Here is an excerpt from my October 15, 2009 journal entry, twelve years ago today.

“10/15/09. 4:00 up and at ‘em, ha, ha. Started the day by dropping my espresso cup on the kitchen floor. Tile is very unforgiving. Oh, well, I need to pay more attention to what I am doing.…”

On a recent call, I was discussing this espresso-dropping issue. I smiled when I read it here in my journal this morning. I explained that a double espresso is about 2.5 ounces and that a demitasse cup and saucer are rather small. But, at 4:15am, it seemed like 2.5 gallons of black liquid on a white tile floor. However, this was a big day for me.

Look at my response to dropping the coffee and cup and saucer on the floor: “Oh, well, I need to pay more attention to what I am doing.” This was a major breakthrough. Until this day, when I dropped things, I would get angry with myself and frustrated with myself. If somebody else dropped something, I would say to not worry about it and I would make certain the person was okay.

On this particular morning, finally I had learned the lesson – I needed to be as kind, compassionate, and forgiving with myself as I would have been with anybody else in this particular situation. 

I feel the Universe works this way. We keep getting the same lesson again and again and again…UNTIL WE ARE WILLING TO RESPOND IN A DIFFERENT MANNER. After I responded this way to myself, in a kind, compassionate, and forgiving way, the lesson was learned, so I did not need to drop anything else, and I did not drop anything else for the remainder of my recovery.

Click here for a reminder on forgiveness, compassion, and transforming anger.

You are worth it!!!

All my best,


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19 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and compassion for yourself

  1. Val H says:

    I think Parkinson’s presents an opportunity to purge oneself of all one’s inner gunk but it’s not an easy task for someone like me who’s been sucking on a sour milk dummy for wasted years of life. For instance, I have had the misfortune to move next door to bad neighbours a couple of times in the past and the sense of injustice at being persecuted by them in return for my inoffensive existence, nearly throttled me. The second time, I got out as quickly as I could because Howard is so right – you only hurt yourself with your anger and hatred and victimhood, even if you’re in the right. I can also vouch for the fact that if you treat yourself with the same compassion you would show to someone else if they were in your shoes, it actually works, as simple as it sounds. If I ever recover from this disease, I’ll be so damn nice, I’ll be irresistible. LOL.

    • Patricia H says:

      Lovely response. Keep moving!
      Patricia (UK)

    • Rick says:

      😇😇😇😇😇 xxxx

    • Ray says:

      Not if but when you recover Val xx

      • Val H says:

        Quite right, Ray. Thanks to you, Rick and Patricia for being so supportive. I hope each of you is making headway with the Recipe, too. Good to be part of this network! Val

        • Karen In Ireland says:

          Val you really make me laugh. Your absolute honesty about yourself is such an amazing quality and so refreshing. “Sucking on a sour milk dummy “ is so imaginative, and witty. I am drawn to dry wit. 😊
          I really “heard” your pain in a recent post when you said that 70% of the time you wish you were dead, but that particular day it was at 85%. We have all had those dark night of the soul moments on this journey, but I was thrilled that you turned that same percentage around to wanting to live just by observing nature on your walk. I went from a lump in my throat to a joyful smile and a tear in my eye. That my friend is a gift, to take a reader on an experience with you.. you even managed to finish it off with your dry humour about the stranger asking you if you had had a stroke 🙃 I am sure the silly man meant well. 🤨. Val I am saying now to you what everyone else is probably thinking here, and that is, you should be a writer. No excuses about age or ability. As Wayne Dyer used to say/quote “ do not die with your music still in you “ 😊 💕

  2. Maree from Melbourne says:

    Thanks Howard for this revelation. I never knew that I was hard on myself until I read this post. It was so natural to be angry with myself for doing something wrong.
    Have to learn to love me, me, me.
    Thanks one more time
    Thanks for welcoming to the blog, Karen

  3. Diane from Wisconsin says:

    Great posts, Howard. I appreciate the reminder.

    What I find difficult is pinpointing the source of my anger. I don’t even know what I am angry about. I’m just angry. Actually, “resentful” might be a better word for the feeling.

    How do I start to address that?

  4. Julie R says:

    Val — You already ARE irresistible — and so is your spunky attitude! Just the attitude we must all have in order to win this fight!

  5. Tery and Werni says:

    Yes, you are right, dear Howard.
    We lost “friends” and didn’t get angry as we now are enjoying the visits of our
    real friends, a small group, but we can count on them!!
    This is a positive effect of PD which showed us the truth of false and real friends.
    But of course we are looking forward to recover as all of us wants it, we already learnt a lot, escpecially from our wonderful supporter Howard!!

  6. Jennifer A says:

    I am the care giver of a lovely woman who has parkinsons – Previously , I worked caring for my aunt , very elderly , with again , Parkinsons . Both of these women were and are bright lights – very precise , balanced and witty – In both of these women’s lives , I noticed that there was a great emotional traumatic event that seemed to bring on the symptoms which had been hovering for years . What I want to say is that yes , that shattering event , even as simple as a broken espresso cup requires a set of new skills , acknowledgement of self determination – and the importance of practicing it . Sometimes, we have to confront or are confronted by a person or situation that has enourmous self determination . In my aunts case , my uncle had that bully ability , and that was ok as long as she was inside his inner circle . But once displaced , she shattered . She often said ‘ I can’t ‘ and he would yell at her about that . I had always admired my aunts precision – but I realize now that you can’t always just be perfect , sometimes you have to push your own agenda , and fight back . The deer in the headlights syndrome seems to have a special affection for very sensitive brightly lit people – As a caregiver , I feel that where I thought my work was to help my patient , I have realized that what they need more than help , is protection to be allowed to function at their sensitive and beautiful level of existence . Yes , sometimes neighbors are bad , and you are left to deal with that as best can be done – new skills must be acquired , becoming tougher , or smarter , or more hardened , or more sharp , but one must grow forwards in life – For me , I do not have parkinson’s – but I do have the inability to defend myself – I know that I need to learn new skills – be they self love , or better management of troublemakers . Thank you for writing this very very honest piece . Thank you for doing the work you do . Jennifer A

  7. Dora says:

    A good reminder for myself. Again, thank you Howard

  8. Henrik D says:

    I have started doing the Recipe in front of our big mirror in the hall. New interesting experience I must say. Suddenly I can see myself as I am when I turn on the light, it is making me shine (on my crazy diamond, borrowed from the famous song). Thank you everyone for this blog!

  9. Dianna S says:

    Thank you Howard. You hit the mark every time.

    Dianna from Wyoming now in Texas.

  10. Paula says:

    I’m giving myself more compassion. I have nerve pain from a pinched nerve in my leg. instead of saying I wish I could chop my leg off, I am giving myself compassion, telling my leg you’re doing the very best job you can and I love you very much. And I continue to believe and practice all aspects of the recipe. Especially the spiritual side. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. Thank you

  11. Rabindar says:

    Thank you Howard for reminding me to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving.

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