This past November, Mari urged me to get more dedicated to my daily recovery protocol. It’s a regimine I created three years ago before I retired from teaching martial arts and moved to Manitoulin Island. At the time, it consisted of 15 physical activities that were intended to support my recovery protocol; activities such as walking, doing push-ups and practising Qigong. I created an Excel spreadsheet to track my progress each day, putting a check mark beside each activity I completed.
After moving to the island, I got sidetracked settling in to a new life, completed my activities sporadically and stopped using the spreadsheet.
Since resurrecting the program, I have expanded it to include 42 physical, spiritual and calming activities intended to improve my physical health and put me in a tranquil, joyful mental state. I don’t do every activity every day but I try to do as many as I can. I figure the more activities I do the sooner I will recover.
On the spreadsheet [which follows immediately below] I have listed the activities in the first column, on the left-hand side of the page, and the days of the month across the top. An explanation of each activity follows the spreadsheet.
The activities I find most beneficial are walking, spending time in nature, practising Qigong, singing, laughing, clearing emotional pain, push-ups and learning something new.
|I am proud|
Every day, I walk for 30 to 60 minutes, except for those days when I’m shoveling snow, playing golf, or doing some other activity for an extended period of time. On these days, I put an Asterix above the column to indicate why I didn’t walk. I do my best practice conscious walking because this helps me overcome shuffle walking.
I do 10 to 50 push-ups a day. This is really important for strengthening my core muscles, which is immensely helpful for moving around and rolling over in bed.
I sit against the wall [as if I’m sitting on a chair] holding my arms directly out in front for as long as I can.
I do various stomach-crunch exercises intended to strengthen my core muscles.
I do various high intensity exercises. For example, I spread my feet apart and bend my knees [standing in a horse stance]. Then I jump up in the air, spin in a half circle, and land in the same position. Then I reach down and touch the floor. Then I jump up in the air and return to the starting position.
I do various weightlifting exercises, mostly with dumbbells.
I do various leg, back, neck and shoulder stretches.
I do various Qigong exercises. Qigong is an exercise program based on movements that are intended to increase energy or Chi. Bianca Molle, David Thompson and Howard Shifke, who all have fully recovered from PD, all practised Qigong on a daily basis.
I do various martial arts strikes, blocks and kicks, as fast as I can. I also do exploding hands as fast as I can [shoot my arms up in the air and shoot out my fingers]. This helps offset slowness of movement and rigidity.
I do 20 to 30 knee raises with each leg, as fast and as high as I can. This also helps offset slowness of movement and loss of balance.
I skip with a skipping rope or skip back and forth across the room like a child skipping down the street. This helps with coordination.
I mostly do jumping jacks [30 to 50 per day]. Bouncing helps stimulate the lymphatic system.
I do three exercises intended to improve my balance. First, I walk in a straight line on the hardwood floor heel to toe. Second, I stand on one foot for as long as I can. Third, I stand with my feet shoulder width apart, close my eyes and hold it for as long as I can.
I stand in a boxing stance [feet shoulder width apart, one foot ahead of the other], then I switch feet as fast as I can [like the Muhammad Ali shuffle].
I walk around the house as if I’m doing the waltz. This helps me overcome shuffle walking.
I practice standing or sitting with my back straight, shoulders square, head up and eyes up. This helps offset my natural inclination to slouch.
I meditate first thing every morning. I mostly meditate on my breath and for about half the meditation, I meditate on “I am love.”
At least once a day, I sit in silent solitude, letting my thoughts meander as I enjoy the quiet. I especially enjoy sitting down at the lake.
Throughout the day, I practice bringing my attention into the present moment, focusing on my breath or looking around and observing, as I consciously relax every muscle in my body.
I place my attention on the invisible energy that is my true essence. Eckhart Tolle refers to this as inner body awareness. A simple way to experience this is to hold your hands in front of your midsection as if you’re holding a basketball and feel the energy in the palms of your hands [it feels like static electricity]. Then lift one hand up while lowering the other hand, then alternate, while continuing to feel the energy.
Another way to experience this is to close your eyes and bring your attention to a specific part of your body, and feel the subtle energy vibration.
I spend time each day walking or sitting in nature, including sitting down at the lake. In the Tao Te Ching, considered one of the most important works in human history, Lao-tsu, makes many references to both the healing power of nature and the example it sets on how to live a blissful life!
According to Misa Hopkins, author of The Root of All Healing, spending time in nature helps to balance our circadian rhythms, which in turn helps to stimulate the balanced production of hormones and neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin.
For me, nothing is more relaxing, refreshing, rejuvenating and healing than spending time in nature.
Every day, I recite the following affirmation to reinforce my divine [loving] spiritual nature and my true purpose:
The universal energetic intelligence, which is divine love, wishes to expand itself. It wishes to expand love in the universe, through experience; through my experience and the experience of every other entity in the universe. We are the vessels for the expression and expansion of love. The best way for me to contribute to this expansion of love is to fully surrender to the will and wisdom of the universal energetic intelligence and to enact my true divine spiritual nature by living in love, by being kind, generous, compassionate, forgiving and grateful, and by living in spiritual consciousness. And I can do this, because I choose to celebrate life. I choose to honor and enjoy the journey, and I choose to embrace the adventure. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have been given to participate in the flow of life and contribute to the expansion of love in the universe! Hallelujah!
Every day, I recite a spiritual version I created of the 23rd Psalm. I feel that it directly connects me with the universal energetic intelligence:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Spirit makes me lie down in green pastures leads me beside still waters. Spirit restores my soul leads me down a path of spiritual awakening for my highest good! Spirit helps me to feel good about myself! Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of impermanence, I shall fear no darkness, for thou art with me. Thy love and compassion they comfort me. You help me to accept and let go of my past, and you help me to live in the present moment! My life is filled with abundance! Surely peace, love, joy, abundance and bliss will be with me all the rest of my days and I will dwell in spiritual consciousness forever! Namaste!
Every day, I read a passage from a spiritual book or watch a spiritual video on YouTube. My two favourite books are, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life by Wayne Dyer.
I talk to the universal energetic intelligence [God] as if I am talking to a friend…only when I am by myself of course. I don’t want people to think I’ve lost it. I carry on a conversation, ask for advice and give thanks. Also, rather than say things like, “it’s a beautiful day,” I say, “you are a beautiful day.” This is a way of acknowledging my oneness with all that exists!
Every day, I look for moments when I can feel the divine loving presence of the universal energetic intelligence, such as, when I interact with nature, when I observe a sunset or when I think of my children. Such moments, take me out of the fight flight or freeze state and put me in a state of love!
I envision myself in the future, fully recovered, doing the things I’m not able to do now, like playing the guitar and swimming. I also see myself talking to people about my experience!
Tapping is from Emotional Freedom Technique [EFT]. I tap the karate chop part of one hand with the fingers of my other hand while repeating a positive affirmation, such as, “I love and accept myself exactly as I am!” Tapping the karate chop part of the hand, which is an energy meridian point, sends a signal to the brain reinforcing the affirmation.
I do emotional energy clearing using the mantra I created almost 20 years ago. Here’s an example:
Thank you Spirit and thank you Higher Self for severing and dissolving the synapses and neural pathways, neutralizing the energetic frequency and healing and releasing from my body and my being, all of the fear, anger and detrimental thoughts and beliefs, and all of the shame, grief, guilt, resentment, bitterness and unresolved emotional energy at the root of the fight or flight state I am in right now. And I thank you for this healing and I thank you for increasing the effectiveness of this by 100 times or more! Hallelujah!
I put music on and dance to it.
I put music on and sing to it, or I sing without music [a cappella].
I watch funny videos [I especially love Rick Mercer]. I also practice laughter yoga [throw my arms up in the air and belly-laugh].
American pastor, Joel Osteen, says, whatever we say after “I am” is sure to find us. So, throughout the day, I repeat affirmations that begin with, “I am.” For example, “I am happy,” “I am divine love.”
Throughout the day, I recite the things I love. “I love my children.” “I love swimming.” “I love going for a walk.” “I love watching deer.”
I am proud:
Once a day, I stand in front of the mirror and list two or three things that I’m proud of myself for.
Once a day, I stand in front of the mirror and list two or three things that I forgive myself for.
Last thing at night or first thing in the morning, I list 3 to 5 things that I am grateful for. According to Shawn Achor, this is one of the keys to happiness.
Blogging puts me in a joyful state, so every day, I do something related to blogging.
Writing also puts me in a joyful state, so every day, I do some writing. [Presently, I am working on the third instalment of The History Teacher trilogy].
I am learning to speak Estonian [Mari is Estonian]. Learning something new, like a new language, stimulates me mentally and puts me in a positive, joyful state.
One of my objectives each day is to remain in a state of tranquility, without letting anger overcome me. I developed an addiction to anger because it helps me overcome fear. But this is a very destructive way to overcome fear, so if I can remain tranquil all day, it will go a long way towards helping me recover my health, so I give myself a check mark.