Quite often I find myself trying to figure out how to make living with a neurotransmitter imbalance [Parkinson’s] a more enjoyable experience. The objective is to minimize frustration, anger and fear, in order to experience more happiness. It can be quite a challenge, but it encourages me to be creative. It also keeps me in a more positive frame of mind which is good for my health!
Making my experience more enjoyable, mostly involves mindset and physical activities that relate to dealing with the symptoms I have to contend with. This encompasses five things:
By definition I mean, redefining the way I view the symptoms. Rather than looking at them as a nuisance, impediment or disability, I try to view them from the standpoint of they are what they are, in this moment, and to try not to compare them to the past when I was healthy, or how I would like them to be in the future … gone. This can be a challenge, because there is a natural tendency to want to compare and a natural tendency to want to hope.
This leads to acceptance!
Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, says that acceptance of the present circumstances is one of the keys to happiness. Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, says that we don’t always get to choose our experiences, but we do get to choose our attitude towards those experiences. Acceptance of my condition hasn’t necessarily come easily, but it is critical that I do so. Nonacceptance means being in a state of constant stress which works against me. It causes my symptoms to worsen.
Legendary martial artist, Bruce Lee, encouraged his students to be like water. When you strike water, you discover that it doesn’t resist. It gives way. It accepts the fist. Acceptance says that I’m not going to fight you, I am not going to resist, but I am going to find a way to make my life better.
This leads to adaptation!
I find that I’m constantly adapting. Finding it difficult to type, I started using speech recognition software. When I started shuffle walking, I started exercise walking. When I began having more difficulties with my balance, I learned different techniques [like practicing Qigong and tossing a ball back and forth between my hands] in order to stand still. Finding it difficult to floss my teeth, I switched to floss sticks. Finding it difficult to stand up and pee properly, I started sitting down.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with adapting. You are not giving in to your symptoms. Take some time to view the natural world. It is constantly adapting. It has to, to survive.
Adaptation involves a great deal of trial and testing and this leads to innovation.
When I first learned about exercise walking, I tried several different activities, including, bouncing a basketball [this I enjoyed … even the clever comments from passersby like, “Hey, where’s the game?], twirling a bostaff, employing walking poles and carrying light weights. Eventually, I settled on mostly using an indian rubber ball [it’s quieter and easier to carry] and doing Qigong exercises.
Each new innovation is like a trip into the unknown. Will it work? Does it need to be tweaked? Innovation is exciting! It is fun! It has the feeling of being a kid in a candy store for the first time! It makes you feel like Thomas Edison! It makes you feel like a champion!
And this leads to adventure!
The right attitude is critical, I believe, to overcoming any health condition, and there’s nothing more beneficial than having an attitude of adventure! We didn’t ask for this condition. We didn’t sign up for this experience. But we might as well make the most of it. And the best way to do that in my experience, is to make it an adventure!
One of the greatest adventure movies of all time, is Raiders of the Lost Ark. The story is about renowned archeologist and expert in the occult, Dr. Indiana Jones, who is hired by the U.S. Government to find the Ark of the Covenant, which is believed to still hold the ten commandments. Unfortunately, agents of Hitler are also after the Ark and they do everything they can to prevent Jones from finding it first. It is a hair-raising adventure of epic proportions, but not always pleasant for Dr. Jones, whose life is constantly at risk. In the end though, he is successful and the story has a happy ending!
I don’t know if my story will have a happy ending, but I might as well enjoy the adventure getting there, just like moviegoers enjoyed the adventures of Indiana Jones.
Have an awesomely enjoyable day!