Fighting Parkinson’s, and kindness, compassion, and Thanksgiving 2021

Congratulations — you are in the final five days of the November to Remember, No Excuses November, 30-day Challenge 2021 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, much like last year, 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 eleven 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, the feelings you get inside when you do this are joy, 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,

Howard

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14 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and kindness, compassion, and Thanksgiving 2021

  1. Roger W says:

    Gratitude flowing like a dopamine river! So very grateful for Howard and all you fellow warriors. I can hear our chants now “I AM DOING GREAT!

  2. Rick says:

    Happy thanksgivings and Merry Xmas everyone . Love Xmas, brings back a lot of happy memories! We don’t celebrate thanksgivings this part of the world but there is know reason why we also can’t be thankful. Months down the track now doing the full recovery and feeling alive and joyful. Thinking of you fighting for that win 😊😀😀😀

  3. Helen says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Howard and Sally 💖. I will gratefully accept help. I am my own Parkinsons cure with the help of family friends and divine source. Hip hip hooray for Howard’s guidance and Recipe! I am grateful. Thank you 🙏

  4. Karen in Ireland says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you dear Howard and your family.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all my warrior friends in America. May your special holiday be rich in joy, love and ease of movement and tremor free. I say this with sincerity as I know the stress of big celebrations and the desire to be ok with no drama.
    Big love to you all.
    Karen xx 💕

  5. Val H says:

    I hope it’s not too late in the day (just going to bed in the UK) to say Happy Thanksgiving to Howard and Sally and their family and all my fellow warriors in the US. God bless y’all.

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Val I was only 6 minuets ahead of you lol it’s the thought that counts 😇
      AND Howard’s part of USA is 5 hours behind us, so we got our wishes in with hours to spare. Lol. Hope you winning my friend. xx

  6. Maree from Melbourne says:

    Dear Howard, Sally,
    Happy thanksgiving to you and your family.
    Full steam ahead for me with compassions and love.
    To my fellow warriors who celebrate thanksgiving, I wish you all happy thanksgiving.
    Love to all

  7. Debra M says:

    Howard, Thank you thank you thank you!

  8. Andrew C says:

    Hi Howard,
    I hope you and Sally had a lovely thanksgiving. Thank you for your post reminding us to be kind to ourselves. It’s very easy to get caught up in our journey of recovery and forget about being kind to ourselves. I have been guilty of this where if I don’t do the full recipe every day, my mind will say to me, you haven’t done all your exercises so you’re not going to recover. It’s a daily battle I have with my mind so rather than worrying about the exercises I haven’t done, I’m going to be kind to myself and give thanks for the exercises I have managed to do.
    Much love,
    Andrew

  9. Julie R says:

    Thank you, Howard, for your inspiring words of hope and joy! This Thanksgiving I am so very grateful that you are in my life… And for all of you out there who are trying your best… my gratitude to you for the fight! Love to all — Julie R.

  10. Dianna S says:

    Thank you Howard and fellow recovering warriors for your expressions of thankfulness and joy. I certainly relate to the perfection mindset. I have a mantra I repeat often — God help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is. Wishing blessings and love to all.

  11. Patty says:

    Thank you, Howard! I just bought your book and looking forward to reading it. I have an autoimmune disease that puts me at high risk for PD and I want to be proactive to build my defenses.

  12. Rabindar says:

    Thanks Howard for the reminder to be kind to oneself and have compassion.
    Happy thanksgiving to you and your family and to those who celebrate thanksgiving.
    God Bless

  13. Charaf says:

    Joyeux thanksgiving,

    Il y un sentiment fort en moi qui me fait croire que je vais guérir pour peu que j’invoque sincerement l’aide de la lumière Divine qui est chacun de nous

    Translation:
    Happy thanksgiving,

    There is a strong feeling in me that makes me believe that I will heal as long as I sincerely invoke the help of the Divine light which is each of us

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