Thursday, February 3, 2011

Achieving Optimum Health: Inspirations Gained From Parkinson's Disease

Achieving Optimum Health: Inspirations Gained From Parkinson's Disease: "What or Who Inspires You? Where do you gain your inspiration in life? It may be your family, your friends, religion, teachers or even..."

Inspirations Gained From Parkinson's Disease

What or Who Inspires You?

Where do you gain your inspiration in life?  It may be your family, your friends, religion, teachers or even a song.  One place I have gained inspiration is from my clients.  One of the things I love most about my work are my clients  In working with people who are experiencing extreme pain and significant health challenges, they sometimes become much more in touch with their internal selves; that part of us that we so frequently ignore, yet is the jewel, the diamond hidden within all of us.  From that place comes inspiration, strength and courage.  From that place comes our ability to love.  For some, whose physical lives have become so challenging, they often learn that it is within our inner most self, where we find the greatest sense of peace. 

 Disease as an Opportunity to Learn and Grow

One of my greatest sources of inspirations comes from one of my clients, who has been living with Parkinson's Disease for over 25 years.  While others choose to succomb to their illness and allow it to "become" them, their self-image, their crutch in life, this man has chosen to allow himself to see it as a gift, a source of learning, growing, self-discovery.  He has chosen to allow Parkinson's Disease to be his tool of inspiration, of learning to make the most of his life and appreciate each and every day. 

In the few years I have known this man, I have come to see him as a Superman of men.  Much like Christopher Reeve, who became a real Superman, long after his movie role, this man faces the challenges of his life as a true Super Man, who's hope is to inspire others, as he has become so inspired.  With his full permission, I am sharing with you one of his recent writings that he sent to me.  I hope he will inspire you, as he has inspired me.

"I found myself today asking aloud, “How long can I keep this up?”

This – being the whole package,….Dealing with the chronic pain, muscle stiffness, the mental slowing that Parkinson’s brings to my table everyday.

I’ve never been afraid of having Parkinson’s, never shed too many tears over it. In my engineering mind, the objective has been just to get from one day to the next.

My father taught me some valuable lessons about dealing with life. Some of his favorite lines were:

-         “You’ve got to just deal with it son.”
-         “You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt.”
-         “Just do the best you can.”
-         “The bigger deal you make of something the bigger deal it will become.”
All of those statements are true.  I took them to mean “be strong, hang in there, and keep going.  Prove that you can still be successful, and not to wear Parkinson’s as my calling card. Just get on with life.

In my life, I’ve tried to prove to every naysayer that I am stronger than PD, that I was in for a dog fight, and it would not break my spirit.  The first 20 years life was a cake walk, compared to the last 10 years.  These last 10 years have been a struggle.

I’ve experienced in my life many epiphanies ……….It seems strange to say, but having Parkinson’s has been one of my greatest teachers.

But there is a dark side of PD, the depressive side, the side of the illness where no one wants to go.  It is a place where for a long time, I chose not to go. I saw little use for me to go there because I saw no value in dwelling on the down side of things.  Another reason I wouldn’t go there is because once I opened up that can of worms, there would be no turning back.  I knew that first step down into the p-o-o-p would be a dewsy.  No one could tell me how far, or how deep the drop off would be.

But there in lies a gift that has been in front of me the whole time. While I have spent my life attempting to hold my head up to be super human, so I could show everyone I could handle having Parkinson’s with grace and dignity.

I had almost completely ignored my gift.  The gift is a deep understanding of what it is to be human, and what it is to experience pain. .  Life is the most real there.   It is a raw, ugly, painful uncomfortable place, but it is where life is experienced.  It is where my heart is broken; it is where I am most vulnerable; it is a tender fragile place inside of me where the truth lies.

The feeling of complete desperation that I feel now is what’s real. I can’t fix it, or engineer my way out of it.  No success, money, or things being a certain way for me would bring calmness, satisfaction, or happiness.. Those all are just distractions.

It is from that sadness, the place where my heart is broken wide open for the world to see…. It is from that fragile state of being where I am closest to god and one with the universe.  It is from that tender vulnerable place, where I’ve learned the most about compassion for others.  It is a place where I am my weakest and I am my strongest.

 It is where many compassionate people come from, like Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama.

It is being human. Having gone through the things I have gone through has given me the ability to relate to anyone, the capacity to live life more fully and to cope with any adversity.

Life is full of little paradoxes that have much to teach us.  I am sharing my thoughts to have an impact on your life today.

It is true, “our thoughts make our world”,…. But don’t avoid those uncomfortable places, where life’s challenges are. 

Live your life where it is meant to be. Live it where it is real, to experience the joy and the pain, and to become wiser from the experience."  J. Chapel Hill, NC

Parkinson's Disease inspires this man, he inspires me. What is it that inspires you?