Recently, I referred to this quote that Socrates tells Dan in The Peaceful Warrior, “A warrior is not about perfection or victory or invulnerability. He’s about absolute vulnerability.” Today we take vulnerability to the next level.
On June 11, 2010, it finally occurred to me that absolute vulnerability was what was missing in my life. By absolute vulnerability, I mean being the real me with everybody. Until that time, the only one who knew the authentic me, the real me, was Sally. And, I had fear of showing my authentic self to everybody else.
Here is an excerpt from pages 52-53 in my book, “Fighting Parkinson’s…and Winning.”
The fear of being the real me is what had been holding me up. The more I resisted being absolutely vulnerable, being genuinely me, the more physically miserable I had become in the last month leading up to my full recovery. And through that physical misery, I let go.
I realized that I needed to clear my shelf of my annual Academy Award for Best Actor in the part of Howard Shifke, and I threw them all in the trash along with the script I had been acting from for the previous 45 years or so.
I realized that the script from which I had been acting the Howard Shifke part all those years had been written by others (parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, relatives, friends, etc.); the script had not been written by me, and it had little to do with who I really was, the real me. I decided that my script of life going forward would have to be whatever rolled out in front of me, trusting and accepting that if it was rolling out in front of me then it was necessary in my life…accept it and deal with it in the moment, moment after moment. That’s it.
That night, I let go of the remaining fear of being me.
That night, when Sally came to do the Governing Vessel Acupressure as she had every night for nine months, I told her things were okay and it would not be necessary.
As explained in the Recipe, after my usual meditations, affirmations, and prayers, I added the following that night before going to bed:
“Dear God, I surrender my ego to you. I surrender my attachment to my Parkinson’s Disease to you. I am not afraid anymore. I no longer fear Parkinson’s. I no longer fear the scorn I may face by being cured from a disease the experts say there is no cure. I no longer fear the people who may say I was misdiagnosed or that I faked having the disease. I am surrendering my ego to you, that part of me that felt I needed to remain attached to Parkinson’s because the experts say once you have Parkinson’s you always have Parkinson’s. I am forgetting about my old self (Parkinson’s) and stepping into my new self (No Parkinson’s).”
I awoke the following morning with my remaining symptoms gone.
You see, I had found me again. That silly, funny, joyful little 5 year-old boy who had never left me, but who clung so tightly to fear of being his real self. Yes, that little boy whose teacher wrote in his report card in 1966, “Howard also has a sense of humor, which is not common in a kindergarten class.”
In the vulnerability of my recovery, I had found him, me, my essence of who I had been since the beginning, but who I had become too afraid to show to anybody except Sally. I am grateful that she has put up with my silliness all of these years.
So, my friends, I share my vulnerability with you. By being vulnerable and casting my fear of being me to the side, I am cured from Parkinson’s over 13 years, and I have been living a very joyful life. And as a result of that, I have all of you in my life. I am blessed, truly blessed.
I ask you to cast aside your fear of being the real you. Yes, many people will not recognize you. That’s okay. In fact, at first, you may not even recognize yourself. That’s okay, too! However, you have a worldwide community of people right here who already love you, accept you, and appreciate you, and we all want you to be the real you and be liberated…each and every one of you.
Please post a comment below by copying and pasting these words:
My brain cells are alive. My dopamine reservoir is full. I am doing the Recipe, and my recovery from Parkinson’s is happening. I am being absolutely vulnerable in being the real me. I am extraordinary. I am recovery. I AM WINNING! AND, I AM WORTH IT!!!
Yes you are! Each and every one of you is winning and you are worth it!!
All my best,