“Eventually you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is.” – Gary Zukav, author of Seat of the Soul
I have been experiencing what the medical community calls Parkinson’s Disease since 2003. I was diagnosed in 2008. Taking charge of my condition has led to an enormous amount of learning which I would like to share with everyone! Although, I haven’t yet fully recovered, the reason I’m writing this now rather than waiting for my complete recovery is because I don’t know how long this will take and I strongly believe this information can help those seeking a solution whether you are taking medication or not. The bottom line is, I believe what I am doing is working and I am confident that this protocol will lead to my recovery.
Before beginning, I must say that I think it is critical that we focus our energy and attention on recovering our health, rather than curing parkinson’s disease. I say this for two reasons. Firstly, what we are experiencing is not a disease, per se. Parkinson’s Disease is just a name used to label a set of symptoms. In actuality, what we are experiencing is a neurotransmitter and hormone imbalance due to our body being out of homeostasis. For me, this is an important distinction because it helps to eliminate fear. Quite frankly, I don’t have much confidence in my ability to cure a disease, but I am confident that I can do the things necessary to return my body to homeostasis and restore my health. I do use the term ‘parkinson’s disease,’ but this is to help people who are searching for information and who have been told that they have this condition.
Secondly, what we put our focus on [according to the law of attraction] is what we create, so by focusing our efforts on restoring our health rather than curing a disease, we’re more likely to achieve success. Better to move toward something positive [good health], than away from something negative [a disease]. The latter creates fear, while the former creates optimism.
In my 17 years of living with this condition I’ve learned a great deal about diet, detoxification, the role of fear, remapping the brain, the value of meditation, qigong and spiritual consciousness, important ingredients in the healing process. I believe the protocol I have developed, while an evolving process, includes all the necessary steps to return the body to homeostasis and experience full recovery. Here’s what I’ll be covering in this article:
- Why I Developed Parkinson’s
- Why I Chose to Take Charge of my Health
- The Symptoms I Experience
- Homeostasis is the Key
- 12 Step Recovery Protocol
- Understanding and Attitude
- Minimize Stress
- Releasing Unresolved Emotional Pain
- Overcoming Anger and Fear
- Remap the Brain
- Spiritual Practice
- CBD Oil
- What I’ve Learned From My Experience
- Ideal Daily Protocol
- Getting Relief From Symptoms
- Managing My Thoughts
- Setting Goals
- Things I Avoid, Things I Recommend and a Few Last Words
- Turn the Situation in Your Favour
- Resource Guide
If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to read Healing Parkinson’s Disease … My Journey with PD! It chronicles my experience from the beginning.
1. Why I Developed Parkinson’s
It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has — Hippocrates
The medical community admits to not knowing what causes our neurotransmitters to get so far out of balance that we develop a chronic health condition such as parkinson’s. They focus entirely on a dopamine deficiency with no explanation of the cause. They speculate that it may be connected with heavy metal toxins and overexposure to pesticides and chemicals. They also claim that there may be a hereditary factor. The natural health community believes that the underlying cause of all disease is a leaky gut, weakened immune system, an acidic body, inflammation and a clogged up lymphatic system. I fully agree with the natural health folks and while I can’t say with 100% certainty, I’m pretty sure I know what led me to develop this challenging health condition.
To begin with, in the years leading up to the appearance of the first symptoms I was very unhappy in my marriage and very unhappy with my job. Both of these situations created a lot of stress. I felt trapped and powerless, unable to get out of either situation and there is no doubt in my mind that this was the final straw in the breakdown of my internal chemistry.
I believe though, that the seeds of my health condition were sown years earlier. In 1990, we were in a serious automobile accident. I was driving my daughter to a birthday party with a carload of kids when we were rear-ended by a pickup truck traveling in excess of 80 kilometers per hour. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. My one year old son, who was sitting directly behind me, had his leg broken, and the girl sitting next to him [a family friend] experienced fairly serious damage to her ankle, otherwise, the kids were okay. I had an instant, pounding headache and a bad case of whiplash, which hasn’t fully healed to this day.
Shortly after this accident, I began developing food sensitivities to just about everything. On two occasions, I was sick for two days after eating a piece of cake. I also started reacting to milk, bread, nuts, processed meats and many other foods. The trauma of this car accident seemed to mess up my metabolism and likely my central nervous system.
Clearly, in my mind anyway, this incident played a major role in my developing a neurotransmitter imbalance, but I think the actual cause goes back even further to when I was in university.
In December, 1976, I experienced a sudden neurological breakdown … what was later described as a ‘brain fog.’ It may have been triggered by a panic attack. I can still remember the moment it happened. I was driving back to university after a weekend of partying and heavy drinking, this, following several weeks of intense studying and high stress. It also occurred at a time when I was eating poorly and not taking good care of myself.
There were actually six factors, I believe, that led to me developing the brain fog [which I wrote about in an earlier blog]:
- excessive drinking
- high stress
- poor diet
- two severe head injuries [I had two major concussions when I was a teenager]
- several traumatic experiences in the years leading up to it [including the loss of two close friends]
- the loss of two lifelong dreams (becoming a veterinarian and a pro hockey player).
Interestingly, I did a lot of research and found out that brain fog is a symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I have, or have had, all of the classic symptoms of CFS (I couldn’t tell you the last time I woke up feeling good). I also learned that CFS is connected to an imbalance or deficiency of neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly, dopamine. Ironically, what the medical community calls parkinson’s is also connected to a deficiency of dopamine.
In addition to these major events in my life, I think five other factors played a role in my developing this neurotransmitter imbalance:
- Chronic excessive busyness
I would say that much of my life has been characterized by fear. My brothers and I were raised in a culture of fear: if you misbehave you’re going to get spanked, if you get in trouble at school you’re going to get spanked, if you get the strap at school you’re going to get it twice as hard at home, wait until your father gets home because you’re going to get spanked. It wasn’t that our parents were abusive, it was just how kids were raised in those days. We also had to deal with a neighborhood bully for six years.
I was afraid of confrontation, afraid of disappointing people, afraid of upsetting people, afraid to stand up for myself [unless I got angry first], afraid of being humiliated, afraid of failing, afraid of getting injured, and worst of all, I was afraid people would find out how scared I was.
Yes, my life has definitely been characterized by fear. It has also been characterized by chronic excessive busyness and an obsessive personality. For as long as I can remember, I have had an extremely busy and easily distracted mind. I am constantly multi-tasking and I find it difficult to relax and even more difficult to meditate.
As I wrote about in an earlier blog comparing my experience with that of Michael J Fox, I believe a number of personality traits are a factor:
- I have a sweet tooth (which I’ve always associated, energetically speaking, with trying to fill a happiness void)
- I am a busy-aholic (I have a need to keep busy with work and other activities)
- I am always looking for my next success/accomplishment (another addiction, stemming possibly from a fear of not being good enough)
- I have a need to please
- I have a lot of anger
According to American neurosurgeon, Russell Blaylock, author of Excitotoxins, food excitotoxins, especially aspartame and MSG, really mess up our neurochemistry. Both of Blaylock’s parents were diagnosed with parkinson’s, hence his interest. I used to drink a lot of aspartame sweetened pop [soda] and eat a lot of foods with added MSG. Add this to prolonged stress, a lifetime of fear, head injuries, poor diet and emotional trauma, and it makes a compelling case.
I also believe that destiny has played a role. As I wrote in an earlier blog, I believe everything, including illness, has a purpose. I believe the reason I developed a very challenging neurotransmitter imbalance is twofold. First, it has helped me understand the debilitating role of fear in my life so that I could release it and live in peace, love and joy. Second, I believe I was meant to find a way to overcome it and use this knowledge to help others [why else would I have discovered the joy of blogging?].
So as you can see, it seems there were a number of factors involved in my developing this condition and I suspect this is the case for everyone. Your factors may not be identical to mine, but likely there will be some overlap. At the very least, hopefully my experience helps you identify the contributing factors in your life so that you can address them accordingly and begin the recovery process.
2. Why I Chose to take Charge of my Recovery
The moment I found out I had a neurotransmitter imbalance [actually, I was told I had Parkinson’s] I made the decision to take charge of my recovery and to do it without taking medication. Initially, I was confident I could recover simply by addressing the underlying emotional root cause. Why not, I healed migraine headaches that were afflicting me at a rate of three to four times a week with this strategy. I have since learned that this is not enough. Fixing the physical body by returning it to homeostasis is also an important part of the process with neurotransmitter imbalances.
Initially, I took a totally holistic approach and there are several reasons why I did so. First, the only solution allopathic medicine offers involves medication and I am fundamentally opposed to using medication to treat chronic health conditions. Medications only suppress symptoms, they don’t heal. They also come with side-effects and Parkinson’s medications can have nasty side effects, including anxiety, depression and hallucinations. [I still shudder every time I think about a drug I’ve seen advertised on TV that suppresses your craving to smoke, but can cause you to have suicidal thoughts.]
Medications are also very toxic to the body. They acidify the body, which is the exact opposite of what the body needs to stay healthy. It needs to be alkaline. So the less time we are on medication, the better. What is more, Parkinson’s medications don’t slow the progression of the condition and their efficacy diminishes over time.
Medication can also improve your quality of life and as I discovered in December 2018, this is an extremely important consideration. Used on a short-term basis to overcome a crisis or on a longer-term basis as a complementary protocol, careful use of medication can greatly improve quality of life.
The second reason I chose to do this holistically is because I believe that any condition can be healed once the underlying emotional root cause has been healed, toxicity and nutritional deficiencies have been addressed and structural damage to the body has been corrected. I have healed many acute and chronic conditions over the years and I felt confident that I could heal myself again [I still do].
The third reason I chose the holistic approach is because I believe the body is capable of healing itself. It wants to be in homeostasis [normal health]. If we give the body and spirit what it needs … pure, fresh oxygen, water & food, plus, sunshine, exercise and rest … and free it from stress, it will return to homeostasis, and thus heal itself and stay healthy.
The next reason I chose to heal myself holistically is because I feel it is important to know exactly what’s going on with my body. When I try something new [a change in diet, a new exercise, a new healing technique], I want to know how it affects my body and how it affects the symptoms I’m experiencing. For example, I wanted to know how bouncing a ball while walking would affect my ability to walk without shuffling. Similarly, I wanted to know how a fruitarian diet versus a ketogenic diet would affect me. I have since learned this can be accomplished even while taking medication.
The final reason I chose to do this holistically is because I wanted to be in charge of my healing. Initially I believed that by taking medication, I would’ve been putting my neurologist in charge and I didn’t want to do that. That would have left me feeling vulnerable and powerless, and I believe that when it comes to healing yourself, you need to feel empowered. I have sinced learned that this not necessarily the case. Even though I am taking medication, I am still very much in charge of my recovery.
So, for ten years following diagnosis and seventeen years in total, I lived with this condition without medication. Then this past December, I found myself in the hospital unable to move my legs. In the hospital, I had several discussions with my doctor after which, I decided to give medication a try. Within a few days, I regained some mobility and by the time I left the hospital a week later I was able to go home and shovel snow.
Several factors contributed to me ending up in a hospital, but it was mostly worry. I worried myself into immobility. I am still taking medication [a modest amount of 500 mg of levodopa per day by comparison] and I now realize that part of my recovery journey will involve coming off medication [as it will be for millions of others].
I used to believe it came down to a choice, allopathic (pills) or natural (diet and lifestyle), but I now know it is not quite that simple. Medication, used minimally, with common sense, can be a component of the recovery protocol. I still do not see them as a long-term solution, but I do see them as an element of the recovery process, much the same as any other supplement I may be taking, such as magnesium, which I take to alleviate constipation. Quality of life is an important part of the recovery process and sometimes, medication can, on a short-term basis, improve our quality of life! I used to advocate that, nowhere does it say that the cause of any disease is a lack of prescription medication and that if it’s not part of the cause, it can’t be part of the solution. While I still believe it is not part of the solution, I do believe it can be an important part of the recovery process particularly as it relates to quality of life!
I think humanity is on the precipice. We either change the way we live or we risk extinction. We simply cannot continue to live the way we are and expect life to go on. We cannot continue to toxify ourselves and expect to fix it with a pill. In the long run, if we want to eradicate illness, we need to live more holistically!
A final word on medications: I think for the vast majority of people who are experiencing this condition, there is no need to take medication, especially not in the beginning. If you take action immediately, detoxify yourself, eat healthy foods, exercise, address the underlying emotional root cause [including releasing fear], do whatever you can to eliminate stress in your life and practice the modalities and techniques that will give you relief from your symptoms [like Body Stress Relief and grounding], you can live quite comfortably without taking medication, and thus, not have to deal with their potential side-effects.
3. The Symptoms I Experience
At this point in my experience, I have or had pretty much every symptom associated with this PD condition. I have listed all the symptoms below. The number in brackets represents on a scale of 1 to 10 the severity of the symptom.
- Loss of balance 
- Freezing 
- Loss of use of my left hand  – oddly, I can still tie my shoe laces
- Slowness of movement  – has greatly improved since going on medication.
- Trembling  – only an issue when I’m feeling stressed. Bodywork [chiropractic] helps immensely.
- Shuffle walking 
- Stooped posture  – requires constant awareness to stand straight
- Constipation  Mega dosing vitamin C and magnesium supplementation eliminates it
- Tightness in the throat  – Chiropractic helps immensely
- Impaired handwriting  – Has improved since going on medication
- Softening of the voice 
- Skin rash 
- Leg cramps  – Only first thing in the morning before getting out of bed
- Fatigue 
- Muscle strength 
- Difficulty standing up and rolling over in bed  – has improved immensely since going on medication
- Weight loss  – I am 30 lbs underweight
- Lightheadedness 
- Irritability 
- Drooling  – Has almost been completely eliminated since going on medication
- Cognitive dysfunction/brain fog 
- Loss of libido 
- Apathy 
- Anxiety 
- Panic attacks  – has happened on two occasions
4. Homeostasis is the Key
Homeostasis is the innate tendency of the body to seek and maintain a condition of balance or equilibrium within its internal environment, even when faced with external changes. In other words, it wants to be in a normal state. For example, the body always wants to be at a temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. When body temperature rises above 98.6, it sweats in order to cool down. When it falls below 98.6, the body shivers in order to generate heat. The human body truly is a miracle!
The key to recovery from disease is returning the body to homeostasis! This means healing the gut [according to Hippocrates, the source of all disease], alkalining the body [ensuring a pH level between 7.0 and 7.4], strengthening the immune system, ridding the body of inflammation and unclogging the lymphatic system. This in turn means eliminating mental, emotional, physical, dietary and spiritual [energetic] stress.
This is the key, because when you get right down to it, chronic stress, in the form of negative thoughts [the language of the brain … “I’m going to fail!”] and negative emotions [the language of the body … anxiety/tension], is at the root of all disease and the behaviours that help create it [like eating unhealthy foods]. So we need to put the body in a state of calm in order to facilitate it’s return homeostasis!
This understanding, plus trial and more trial is what guided me to developing a 10-step recovery protocol.
5. 10-Step Recovery Protocol
While I developed this protocol out of my experience with a neurological condition, it applies to any health condition because the objective is to return the body to homeostasis. As I said earlier, this means healing the gut, restoring the immune system, alkalining the body, eliminating inflammation and unclogging the lymphatic system. Once this is accomplished, whatever is out of sync, for example, a neurotransmitter imbalance, will be restored.
The protocol includes:
- Understanding and attitude
- Eliminating stress
- Releasing unresolved emotional pain
- Letting go of anger and fear
- Remapping the brain
- Spiritual practice
- CBD Oil
While the foundation of my protocol is built on attitude, diet, exercise, stress elimination and spiritual practice, my daily regimen centres around meditation, qigong, walking/cycling, breath work, spending time in nature, bodywork and spiritual practice. I also highly value blogging, writing and learning something new [a new language … Estonian]. These are the key elements that help me to manage the symptoms I experience, particularly anxiety, and that will eventually lead me to recovery.
6. Understanding and Attitude
“If you say you can or you can’t, you are right either way”
― Henry Ford
Understanding and a winning attitude, in my experience, are the two most important factors in recovering from any health condition. If you believe you can recover, take ownership of your situation and take the right steps, you will. But if you follow conventional thinking [that Parkinson’s is a progressive, degenerative, incurable disease], and leave it up to your neurologist, then in all probability, you won’t recover. You will simply spend the rest of your life managing your symptoms.
There are three things that are essential to understand. First, that it is possible to recover your health. People will tell you that parkinson’s is incurable. But this is simply not true! There are recorded cases of people who have recovered! Second, the key to recovery is to return the body to homeostasis! Third, the spiritual journey is more important than the physical journey! Once you understand these three things, then it’s all about having the right attitude!
For me, a winning attitude is about:
- Believing I can recover
- Having an optimistic view of the future
- Taking it seriously from the beginning
- Changing my perspective … it’s not a disease, my body is out of balance [specifically, I have a neurotransmitter imbalance]
- Understanding that my condition [parkinson’s] has a purpose
- Thinking of it as experiencing, rather than suffering
- Filling my life with love
Believing I can recover:
From the moment I was diagnosed, I believed I could recover. This belief was predicated on the truth that if the body can recover from a cut or a broken bone, then it is capable of recovering from anything. The body wants to be in homeostasis. We just have to give it what it needs to recover.
Initially, my recovery strategy was mostly based on healing unresolved emotional pain and eating healthy foods. I used this same strategy to overcome migraine headaches. But over time and through experience and research, I learned that there is much more to healing a neurotransmitter imbalance than what I was doing.
I learned that I needed to detox my body, correct structural damage to my body and get really strict with my diet. I also learned about muscle memory and how it could be used to my advantage. Most importantly, I learned about the role fear plays in the development and progression of neurological conditions.
Even with everything I’ve learned, I have to admit there have been times when my attitude and confidence wavered. After all, except for Mari, I was pretty much in this on my own. I wasn’t aware of anyone who had recovered their health. Then I learned about Bianca Molle, Howard Shifke, David Thompson and John Coleman. All four, and others [as I’ve learned through Robert Rodgers book, Road to Recovery from Parkinson’s Disease], have made full recoveries doing pretty much the same thing as me.
Now I had proof that recovery was possible, and so I have complete confidence that I will fully recover.
Have an optimistic view of the future:
I see myself playing the guitar again. I also see myself standing in front of an audience talking about what I did to recover my health. And I see myself living to a ripe old age, playing with my grandchildren.
It is essential to have an optimistic view of the future. Victor Frankl cited this in his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, as one of the key reasons why he and others survived the concentration camps during WWII.
An optimistic outlook gives us faith and faith is extraordinarily powerful. It also helps eliminate stress, which in turn helps alkaline the body, and this is essential for healing.
Take it seriously from the beginning:
If there is one thing that I could change about my experience, I would have taken my situation more seriously from the beginning. It took me two and a half years to see a neurologist and another five years to get really serious about my recovery. I didn’t take it seriously because I lived in blissful ignorance. I confidently thought I could heal myself, without really knowing what I was up against. I thought Parkinson’s simply involved trembling. I had no idea of all the potential symptoms until I started experiencing them and watching them get progressively worse.
I don’t beat myself up for not doing more sooner. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have learned what I’ve learned if I hadn’t experienced it first hand. But if I had to do it all over again, I would have taken action immediately.
Change of perspective … it’s not a disease, the body is out of balance:
In September, 2013, I learned about Robert Morse through a blog reader. Morse is a naturopathic doctor from Florida whose philosophy is that we shouldn’t look at any illness [including Parkinson’s] as a disease, especially, an incurable disease. Rather, when we are experiencing any sort of health symptoms, it is simply an indicator that our body is out of balance. It is not in homeostasis. It has become acidic and full of inflammation. Our gut is unhealthy, our immune system is weak and our lymphatic system is clogged up. And these conditions are all treatable … naturally … and once treated [it may take a while], the body will return to homeostasis and the symptoms will go away.
Morse’s philosophy made perfect sense to me. It is a very empowering perspective and again, it gave me more confidence that I would recover.
Parkinson’s has a purpose:
I believe all of our experiences serve a purpose. In the case of physical illness, it’s about our bodies trying to tell us that something is out of balance and we need to make some changes in our life. Perhaps we need to change our diet or our lifestyle or our thoughts.
For me personally, experiencing this neurotransmitter imbalance has been about learning and helping others understand the workings of the body, how it becomes unwell and how to make it well again. It has also provided me with an opportunity to let go of fear, anger and victimhood … and what could be better than that.
It is also meant to guide me to spiritual consciousness and self love [more on this in the section on Spiritual Practice].
I believe Parkinson’s [and all disease for that matter] also serves a purpose for mankind. It’s meant to help us change the way we live: to eat healthier foods and to make peace, love [kindness] and joy our priority.
Think of it as experiencing, rather than suffering:
All too often, Parkinson’s is described as a ‘disease’ we ‘suffer from,’ but the truth is, it is simply a condition [characterized by specific symptoms] we are ‘experiencing.’ Suffering is something that occurs in the mind when we judge an experience as bad. [If you’re not sure about this, take me to the opera and observe all the smiling faces of the people around me who are enjoying the experience. Then look at my expression!]
The moment we say we’re suffering, we put ourselves in a position of helplessness and victimhood. But when we take the judgment out of it and say ‘we are experiencing,’ we put ourselves in charge and that changes the experience entirely. The moment you believe you are in charge of the situation is the moment you know you can recover. So I believe, this ‘suffering’ versus ‘experiencing’ differentiation is an extremely important one.
Fill My Life With Love:
I do my best to fill my life with love. I made a list of things I love and recite it out loud regularly. I do my best to see myself and the world through loving, kind, compassionate eyes. I do what I love. Adopting an attitude of love is one of the best things I have done for myself.
A positive attitude coupled with a healthy perspective is absolutely critical for the recovery process. Make this your first priority. Read Robert Rodgers‘ and John Coleman’s books. Associate yourself with positive like-minded people and keep in mind something else Victor Frankl said, “We don’t always get to choose our experiences, but we do get to choose our attitude about our experiences.”
7. Diet and Supplements
Now that we’ve addressed Understanding and Attitude it’s time to talk about the second step in my recovery process. Diet! Whatever the outward expression of disease, the internal cause almost always relates to inflammation, leaky gut, acidosis, clogged up lymph system and a weakened immune system and diet plays an integral role in the development and healing of these conditions.
I’ve learned a great deal about healthy eating habits over the last 20 years due to migraine headaches, food sensitivities and more recently, Parkinson’s, and in my experience, homeostasis cannot be achieved without a healthy diet and that means eliminating sugar, junk food, fast food, dairy, wheat, artificial sweeteners, alcohol and the like. Essentially, anything that comes in a package. The human body simply wasn’t created to digest this stuff.
There are a number dietary options that can enhance the detoxification and healing process and the specific diet you choose may depend on your condition, location and personal preference, but to begin with it needs to be natural, and ideally, organic. That means fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and maybe, organic, grass-fed meat and wild caught fish. I say maybe meat and fish because there is no consensus as to whether they are healthy or not for human consumption. What is more, wild caught fish, especially the larger varieties like tuna and swordfish can be high in mercury and thus very toxic.
The same holds true for raw versus cooked foods. There are lots of supporters for both. My personal opinion, I think lightly steamed or sauteed veggies are fine, particularly in colder climates. The same thing with meat, don’t overcook it!
There are a number of diets that have the potential to restore the body to homeostasis:
- Vegetarian (includes some dairy)
- Vegan (excludes anything derived from an animal)
- Paleo (caveman diet)
Determining the ideal diet can be a challenging experience. Check out 100 different experts and you’ll get 100 different opinions, each supported by reams of data from various studies. It’s critically important to do your research and go with what feels right for you.
In September of 2013, after learning about Florida Naturopath, Dr Robert Morse, and his Frutarian diet approach to alkalining the body and detoxifying the lymph system, I decided to give it a go. Although I seemed to be detoxing, I lost a lot of weight and I was hungry and cold all the time, so I decided to take a different approach. In November, I transitioned to the Ketogenic diet because of it’s anti-inflammatory potential and because of the reported success it has shown in healing cancer and epilepsy. Also, because the Keto Diet is high in healthy fat, it is also high in healthy cholesterol which, contrary to popular belief, reportedly helps keep the brain healthy while slowing the progress of PD symptoms. What is more, according to Morse, cholesterol, helps neutralize acids, thus helping to keep the body in an alkaline state.
Between November and May of 2014, I alternated between the Frutarian and Keto diets and a combination of the two and after considerable trial and testing, realized that the high sugar fruit diet [even when combined with fats] was really messing me up [as were certain nuts and seeds, like walnuts … it seems my body is intolerant to certain foods], so I permanently adopted the modified Keto Diet. Soon after this switch I started to feel better.
My current high-fat diet consists of the following:
- Vit C cocktail – half glass of spring water, 2 tspn of Vit C powder, 1 tspn of baking soda, 2 tbsn organic apple cider vinegar [This helps to flush my digestive tract, alkaline my body and minimize the constipation]
- Breakfast: 2-3 cooked eggs with grilled pork fat or free-run bacon, sauerkraut and organic buckwheat pancake [see recipe below]
- Morning smoothie: 2-4 raw eggs [free run], avocado, 4 – 8 tbsp coconut oil, plus various combinations of sunflower seeds, 8 – 10 brazil nuts, tbsp of chia seeds, sprinkle of cacao, sprinkle of organic coconut flakes, 2 tbsp ground flax seed and dash of baking soda [a great alkaliner]
- Dinner: Cooked buckwheat/quinoa, spinach, broccoli or asparagus or green beans, sauerkraut, wild caught fish or organic meat
- I drink as much natural spring water as I can throughout the day.
- Snacks: I mostly eat seeds, nuts and veggies [I will dip them in hummus]
One of the best things I have done for my diet and health is to add fermented foods, mainly sauerkraut … homemade. Fermented foods add healthy bacteria to the gastrointestinal tract which is essential for optimum gut health and a strong immune system [80% of the immune system … Immunoglobulin A … is situated in the mucosal lining of the GI tract]. The same is true for bone broth soups. They are full of minerals and nutrients and are great for bolstering gut health.
One last word on dairy and wheat (with the possible exception of organic butter … and a bit of cheese). I avoid them because of the way they’re created and processed. They’re highly toxic and acidify the body. According to Dr Morse, they also clog up the lymph system. If you need more convincing to eliminate these foods, please read Kevin Trudeau’s book, Natural Cures.
I have taken a lot of different supplements, however, with the exception of Vita C, magnesium [which keeps me from becoming constipated] and the two adrenal supports that helped me overcome a panic attack crisis, I can’t quantify the benefits or say unequivocally that any other supplement helped me in the recovery process. Having said that, here are the supplements that I would recommend because of their health benefits:
- Magnesium malate [300 mg at breakfast] – eliminate constipation
- Magnesium citrate [300 mg at dinner] – eliminate constipation
- Natural Factors Stress Relax Serenity Formula [2 capsules before bed] – adrenal support, helps minimize anxiety
- Vit C [1000 mg] – strengthens immune system
- Vit D3 [4000 iu] – strengthens immune system and helps minimize leg cramps
- Vit B12 – helps in healthy regulation of the nervous system, reducing depression, stress, and brain shrinkage and helps maintain a healthy digestive system
- Vit E [400 iu] – helps eliminate skin rash
- Multi vitamin – for general health, especially on the Keto Diet which may lack certain nutrients
- CoQ10 – reportedly helps with blood flow and brain health
- Omega 3 – important for brain function and healing neurological conditions
- Kidney support – important for keeping lymph flowing and removing metabolic waste
- Iodine – strengthens the thyroid gland which is involved in all metabolic function
As for specific brands, I really like Natural Factors. Otherwise, ask your naturopath or health food store for a good recommendation.
There’s no doubt in my mind that a natural, high-fat diet has helped me and I plan to continue on this diet until my recovery is complete.
Buckwheat pancake recipe:
- 1 cup organic buckwheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of vita C powder
- Sprinkle of sea salt
- Sprinkle coconut flakes
- Sprinkle of sunflower seeds
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of organic olive oil
- Water to desired thickness
Mix all the items together and fry in a frying pan with organic coconut oil. Serve with organic sunflower butter.
My body is my temple” ~ Tom Hanks, Academy Award winning actor
Based on my experience and research, I have come to the conclusion that healing a health condition is largely a matter of detoxification. Having said that, I must admit that I’m no expert on the topic, at least not as it relates to dietary detoxification. I don’t fully understand the science of it, so this is going to be more of a lay perspective on the subject. While I’ve had no formal training in detoxification, I can tell you that it is an important part of healing and must be maintained until recovery is complete. No matter what condition you are trying to heal, be it physical, mental or emotional, detoxification is critical.
One of the things you need to know going in, is that detoxification will cause physical and emotional distress. You can expect to go through emotional highs and lows and physical unpleasantness. You are going to be releasing mucous, inflammation, heavy metals, parasites, unhealthy bacteria, as well as fear, anger and other unresolved emotional pain. You may experience physical illness, diarrhea, headaches, muscle and joint pain and a temporary worsening of your symptoms. You will also likely experience anger from time to time and you may also at times, want to cry. Certainly this has been my experience. But have faith. This is part of the process and it will be an indicator that you are healing.
In order to heal effectively you need to detoxify on four levels:
- Your thoughts
- Your emotions
- Your body
- Your Chi
In this section, I will focus on detoxifying the physical body. I will discuss detoxifying thoughts and Chi in the section on eliminating stress and I will discuss detoxifying emotions in the section on releasing unresolved emotional pain.
Detoxify our body: Physical detoxification is accomplished through:
Diet is extremely important. You simply won’t heal if you are eating unhealthy foods. The detoxification diet means eating foods that are as close to the way mother nature made them as possible, which means, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, grass fed meats and wild caught fish. It also means no processed foods, no fast foods, no junk foods, no alcohol, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no dairy, no grains, etc. Any foods you eat on the ‘no’ list will simply slow or stop the detoxification process because they will acidify your body and add more toxins to your system.
Whether you choose the fruitarian diet, vegetarian diet, ketogenic diet [high fat, low carbs], gaps diet, paleo diet or a diet that involves fasting, the key is to eat foods that will eliminate heavy metals and other toxins, heal the gut, alkaline the body, eliminate inflammation and unclog the lymphatic system. After a great deal of trial and testing, I chose the ketogenic diet.
Let me say a word or two about fasting. I believe fasting is an important part of the dietary detoxification process. You need to give the body rest time in order to more effectively remove toxins. Personally, I don’t believe you need to fast for an entire day, week or even longer. I have done 24 hour fasts and I didn’t enjoy it. In my experience, fasting for up to 18 hours a day is sufficient. This means, say, eating heavily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM then drinking water, lemon water if you prefer, for the balance of the day. I believe fasting is important because it helps the body in its endeavour to reach homeostasis [its natural healthy state].
The human body was designed to do two things: digest natural foods and be in homeostasis. When it is full of toxins, it is out of homeostasis and the body’s natural response is to return to homeostasis. In order to do this, it needs time, but if you are constantly eating, the body has to devote its time to digesting food, rather than eliminating toxins. Fasting, particularly with lemon water or apple cider vinegar, which alkalines the body, allows the body to focus on eliminating the toxins. Thus, fasting for up to 18 hours a day 3 to 7 days a week will certainly help speed up the detoxification process.
Sweating helps to eliminate heavy metals from the body through the skin. The best way to sweat is to exercise or sauna.
Colonics involves cleansing the colon. I had two colonic treatments and it made quite a difference in my bowel movements. I would highly recommend it!
Water and exercise are two other important elements of detoxing. Fluids help flush toxins out of the body, while exercise speeds up metabolism. If you would like to see a simple, yet effective, explanation of detoxification, check out this video.
You might also want to try bentonite clay. I took it for six months and while I didn’t notice any measureable effect, it is a known detoxifier and immune system booster.
As I said at the outset, detoxification is an essential part of healing illness and restoring the body to good health [homeostasis]. Any one of us can do it, but it takes commitment. It’s not easy and it will test you. If you’ve never done it before I would highly recommend seeing a qualified natural health practitioner first. Otherwise, the simplest way to get started is to simply eat healthy foods and exercise [sweat].
People are now beginning to understand the importance of exercise in restoring health, particularly as it relates to neurological conditions, like parkinson’s. Indeed, exercise benefits us in many ways. Not only does it strengthen muscles and vitalize cardiovascular health, it stimulates and strengthens all of the internal body systems, including the immune system.
Norman Doidge, author of The Brain’s Way of Healing, claims that exercise stimulates the glial cells which make up 85% of brain tissue. He says glial cells produce glial-derived neurotrophic factor [GDNF], which functions like a growth promoting fertilizer in the brain. Among other things, it helps neurons to wire and rewire the brain, promotes the release of endorphins, including, dopamine, and helps the nervous system recover from injury. In other words, it is absolutely essential for brain health.
In The Brain’s Way of Healing, Doidge profiles South African, John Pepper, who was diagnosed with parkinson’s in 1968. Now in his eighties, Pepper is still going strong and has no visible PD symptoms, which he credits to a vigorous exercise program. The basis of his exercise routine is conscious walking. He thinks about every step he takes [similar to counting while walking which I wrote about] and when he does so, he walks normally. He applies the same process to everything he does, and by doing so, believes he is retraining his brain.
Exercise walking: A few years ago I learned about exercise walking. This involves doing different exercises, like bouncing a ball, while walking. I learned about it from a fellow I encountered while walking one day. After giving it a try, I discovered that when I exercise walk three symptoms that I typically experience go away. These symptoms include loss of control in my left leg, clenching and tension in my left hand and shuffle walking. This discovery has made walking far more enjoyable. Now when I walk, I bounce a ball or twirl a martial arts bostaff or walk with walking polls.
Other forms of exercise are equally effective. For example, CBS Sunday Morning profiled a boxing program that was created specifically for people experiencing the symptoms of parkinson’s. It includes exercises to offset stiffness, loss of balance, loss of dexterity and trembling. Participants in the program have seen improvements in their condition.
Other exercises I would highly recommend include cycling, martial arts, Tai Chi, Qigong, yoga, any organized sport [like baseball], golf, tennis, cross country and downhill skiing and dancing. In fact, there is a dance program created specifically for people with Parkinson’s.
I exercise almost every day and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to teach martial arts. I think it has a lot to do with why I’m doing relatively well [the last time I saw my neurologist, he said I’m doing very well considering how long I have been experiencing symptoms]. To keep myself on track, I created an excel spreadsheet, listing all of the exercises I do in the left hand column and 1 to 31 along the top [representing the days of the month]. The exercises include:
- Walking [an hour a day]
- Pushups [15-20, 1-3 times a day]
- Stomach crunches [40-50, 1-3 times a day]
- Wall sits [60 seconds, 1-3 times a day]
- Jumping jacks [helps stimulate the lymphatic system]
- Balance exercises
- Speed exercises [mostly karate blocks, strikes and kicks]
- Knee raises [helps counteract freezing]
A word on walking. When I walk, I do my best to focus on it completely. I count steps and concentrate on lengthening my stride and placing my foot down heel to toe. And I keep my back straight, head up and shoulders square. I also periodically do boxing punches. As I step forward with my right foot I will throw a punch with my right hand. Then take a few steps and throw a punch with my left hand. Similarly, I will lunge forward with my left foot and throw a jab-cross combination, then do the same thing with the right side. I walk normally when I do these things and the punching helps counter slowness of movement. Every time I find myself shuffle-walking, I stop and restart.
Each day, as I complete each exercise I put a checkmark on the spreadsheet. I figure the more checkmarks I enter the sooner I will recover my health.
Gentle exercise seems to work best for me. I don’t overdo it and I don’t exhaust myself. I find that aggressive exercise worsens my symptoms.
I would describe my exercise level as light. While I do a lot, I no longer do intense workouts. I don’t enjoy it and I don’t feel good when I do it! Besides, Dr. Morse, the Florida naturopath who recommends the frutarian diet says that intense exercise creates lactic acid build up which further stresses cellular metabolism [which is already impaired due to a clogged up lymph system, which is at the root of all disease]. For more information, see my post on correcting body chemistry. I do enough to keep the body limber and the blood flowing. While I’m walking and stretching, I also practice living in the moment by bringing my attention to my breath and looking around and observing.
Joyful exercise is very helpful in eliminating stress. Eliminating stress means that the body stops producing the stressor hormones, such as, adrenaline and cortisol, and instead, produces the feel good hormones and neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that will alleviate symptoms and initiate recovery.
Muscle memory: Another important aspect of exercising involves muscle memory. I discovered this fascinating concept through a friend who told me about an interview she had seen with Michael J Fox. During the interview, Fox spoke about muscle memory. He said that when he plays hockey, he has no symptoms. His body remembers what to do and for some reason, the symptoms he typically experiences go silent.
I used to play baseball, so I thought I would give it a try. So I grabbed my baseball glove and a rubber ball and went across the street where I tossed the ball against the wall of a school and started shagging grounders. Much to my amazement, I was able to throw the ball, move back and forth and pick up the ball as it bounced towards me as if nothing was wrong. It was a thing of beauty!
Intrigued, I did some on-line research, but couldn’t find the interview with MJF, nor could I find any information on similar experiences. I did find a description of muscle memory on Wikipedia … “When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task [through the creation of specific neuro-pathways … my words], eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice, such as riding a bicycle, typing on a keyboard, typing in a PIN, playing a melody or phrase on a musical instrument, martial arts, or performing different algorithms for a Rubik’s cube.”
I also found a chat room from a few years ago where people experiencing Parkinson’s spoke about muscle memory from the perspective of retraining muscles to perform activities, like walking. They spoke about having to consciously think about walking properly, even going so far is to exaggerate the movements in order to walk without shuffling.
This got me to thinking about a few things:
- Although I have lost the use of my left hand for most activities [I’m not able to type with it or fret my guitar], I can tie my shoes up like there is nothing wrong with it
- I shuffle walk, but I run normally
- I sometimes have difficulty moving my feet and legs [for example, when I’m standing at the counter in the kitchen and try to turn to my left, sometimes it feels like my left foot is frozen to the floor] and yet I can do knee raises and karate kicks with both legs as if there’s nothing wrong with me
- when I toss a ball back and forth between my hands, my balance is fine [otherwise, I’m like a cork in a rough sea]
- I can swing a golf club normally
While this is very puzzling, it is also very encouraging! If the body can run normally, if it can do karate kicks, if it can tie up shoes and if it can play a sport just like the good old days, it gives me great hope that it is capable of doing anything. So now, I’m on a mission to retrain my body [or perhaps, to help it remember how to function normally] by doing big, exaggerated, aggressive movements [more on this in the section on Remapping the Brain].
Here are some of the things I do:
- Force myself to walk normally taking long strides and placing my foot down heel-to-toe
- Knee raises while I walk
- Arm raises while clenching and unclenching my fists [do it as fast as possible]
- Go up the stairs two at a time
- Come down the stairs with a bounce [ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump]
- Perform various dance steps
I’m also practicing my karate kicks, strikes and blocks with more zest and enthusiasm. The idea is to show my body that I’m in charge and at the same time, stimulate the brain cells that produce dopamine and serotonin.
While I may not understand the physiology of what I am doing [it may be that when the brain uses the neuro-pathways it has created for certain activities, the fear-based fight/flight response at the root of PD symptoms is temporarily suppressed], I know it’s helping and it’s giving my confidence and my spirit a huge lift. I also believe that it’s helping me to recover!
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of joyful exercise. Like laughter and a healthy diet, it is essential for healing!
Early in 1993, I was midway through my karate training on my way to earning a black belt. As much as I loved the training, my body was a mess. Every one of my joints was in pain and a back injury I sustained in 1986 doing yard work had flared up on me. I had reached the point where I had to do something or I was going to have to put my training on hold.
That’s when my brother referred me to Jan, a gifted massage therapist with a gift of gab and fascinating metaphysical abilities. I saw Jan for 13 years and credit her in large part with helping me to achieve my Black Belt, run a marathon and initiate my spiritual awakening. Indeed, I enjoyed our conversations about spirituality and the truths of life as much as I did the massage.
In 2008, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and by April of 2010 I was experiencing constant trembling in my left arm and hand and my right wrist had just started trembling. A friend referred me to Elizan, a brilliant Body Stress Relief therapist originally from South Africa where the therapy was developed.
BSR involves using pressure points in various patterns along the spine in order to relieve muscle tension so that the skeletal system can return to normal and nerve impulses can flow properly. It’s an awesome therapy. Within six months of seeing Elizan the trembling I was experiencing had diminished by about 75% and that’s where it remains today.
Bodywork is essential for healing. It accomplishes four things:
- Releases stress
- Corrects damage to the skeletal system
- Releases blockages in the flow of nerve impulses
- Helps release unresolved emotional energy from cell tissue
In addition to reducing trembling, BSR has helped relieve tension in my back, pain in my shoulders and tightness in my throat.
After moving to Manitoulin Island, I started seeing a chiropractor. I did so mainly because my jaw was out of joint [commonly referred to as temporomandibular joint or TMJ] and my spine is curved [commonly referred to as scoliosis].
I have read that TMJ is connected to parkinson’s, but quite frankly, I didn’t understand the connection, other than the root cause of each condition [fear and head trauma] is similar.
The chiropractor told me that curvature of the spine impairs the flow of messages from the brain to the muscles, and therefore, exacerbates the symptoms of neurological conditions. As for my jaw being out of alignment, this apparently is an indicator of a blockage in the neck, which also impairs the flow of messages from brain to muscle.
My jaw is now considerably better. I am able to open and close it more freely. What is even more remarkable, is that during the initial consultation and assessment, I was trembling more than usual [as I usually do in these situations], but during the treatment, my muscles stopped trembling completely!
At one point during the treatment, while I was lying on the table, the chiropractor asked me to roll my shoulders up and back, but I couldn’t do it. After she gave me an adjustment, I was able to roll them quite easily. This blew me away!
The chiropractor gave me a few exercises to practice every day, including shrugging the shoulders, rolling the shoulders, turning my head from side to side and up and down and opening and closing my jaw. She also urged me to practice proper posture, particularly when I’m sitting.
In January 2018, I began doing Bowen therapy. It is best described as pressure point massage intended to release stress and emotional memory from the muscle facia. I was interested in the therapy because John Coleman, the naturopath from Australia, who fully recovered from PD, included Bowen therapy as part of his protocol. I had twice monthly sessions until October when I decided to discontinue the therapy. After each session, I would feel good for a couple of days then go through a period of intense symptoms and emotional upheaval. And it got more intense with each session. I anticipated a breakthrough at some point but it never came, so I discontinued the sessions. Shortly after that, I went into a six week period of intense anxiety and panic culminating in my being admitted to hospital for a week. Whether the Bowen therapy was the cause of it, I will never know.
Although Bowen therapy didn’t give me the results I had hoped for, overall, I don’t know where I would be without bodywork.
Massage therapy, chiropractic and BSR have played an important role in my life, but there are several other very effective forms of bodywork including:
- Craniosacral therapy
If you’re not currently doing bodywork, I suggest you start as soon as possible. You might have to try two or three different therapies in order to find the therapy and therapist that works best for you.
11. Minimize Stress
According to Howard Shifke, the American lawyer who fully recovered from parkinson’s, the cause of this neurological condition is stress and fear. Furthermore, he says that it is an electrical issue not a chemical issue. That is to say, the body’s inability to produce dopamine is not because of the death of neurons [brain cells] in the substantia nigra portion of the brain. Rather, it is because the body is in a chronic state of fight or flight, and therefore, in a chronic state of producing adrenaline and cortisol. As a result, it has shut down the production of dopamine and serotonin [the feel good neurotransmitters].
Generally speaking, stress, which initiates the fight-flight response, is the result of an unwillingness to accept the present circumstances, an unwillingness to let go of the past [holding on to emotional pain] and fear of the future. It is also the result of having an overly busy mind.
To minimize stress we can begin by detoxifying our thoughts. Negative thought patterns create chronic stress which suppresses the immune system, acidifies the body and destroys gut health. The good news is that negative thoughts are perhaps the easiest thing to detoxify. We just have to stop thinking them and there are several things that can done to accomplish this.
The most effective way to eliminate faulty thoughts is to be like the Buddha [or Eckhart Tolle] and simply live in the present moment. The first time I experienced consciously living in the present moment [I was out for my morning walk] I felt euphoric. The trees looked like they were in 3D. Colours were more intense. It was awesome [and I’m sure it released lots of endorphins]!
Whenever you find yourself immersed in negative thoughts, simply focus on your breathing. Try it now. Take a deep breath and bring your attention completely to that breath, feeling the air flow in and out of your nose through your nostrils. Make a noise as you inhale and exhale. Practice this all the time, even when you’re not trying to stop a negative thought pattern.
Another technique to help you stay in the present moment involves looking around at things and smiling. Again, give it a try. Just look around the room observing things without adding any mental commentary. Notice while you’re doing it that you’re not thinking about anything. It’s awesome!
Another important thing we can do to eliminate stress is practice meditation. I realized after experiencing the crisis I went through in the latter part of 2018 that I had worried myself into that state and that if I wanted to prevent it from happening in the future I needed to make better use of my mind, because the best medication I have at my disposal is my mind. And a great way to train the mind is to meditate, every day.
In order to become a good meditator, I needed to better understand it, because like many other people, I thought I couldn’t meditate. So I did a lot of research and I discovered two important things. First, the goal of meditation is not to clear the mind [this is actually impossible], rather, it is to focus the mind, typically on the breath or a mantra. I also learned that the success of meditation is being aware of when your mind has wandered into thoughts and to gently bring it back into focusing on the breath or mantra, and to do this over and over and over again. [Please check out the blog I posted on meditation]
Studies have shown that when the mind is in a meditative state, it immediately begins producing dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins. I have learned from my own personal experience that after I meditate, my gait is much more fluid.
It is also important to immerse yourself in positive, joyful activities, conversations, TV shows and movies, and it is advisable to stop watching and reading the news. Most of it is bad news that stresses us unnecessarily, makes us unhappy and has no direct affect on our lives. Avoid being around negative people as much as you can.
Next, never criticize yourself or others. Remember, we’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve learned. Nobody is perfect [although, it sure would be nice if we all were!], so be encouraging!
Lastly, make the language you use work for you. Joel Osteen, minister of the largest Protestant church in the United States, says that whatever you say after “I am,” will come and find you. If you say, “I have a disease,” sickness will find you. Whereas, if you say, “I am well,” wellness will find you. Since hearing this, I have been repeating on a daily basis, “I am recovering. My body is healing. My body is healthy a strong.”
Other things we can do to minimize stress include:
- Spend time in silent solitude
- Spend time in nature
- Spend time grounding
- Practice yoga or qigong
- Quit your job
- Do things you love
In the early part of 2016, despite my best efforts not to, I went through a very stressful time. I was retiring and selling my karate club. I was moving to a new town. My father’s health was failing. And my financial future was very uncertain. I also attended two funerals. Despite my best efforts to live in acceptance, trust and faith, I felt very stressed.
During this time, my symptoms were very intense! My balance was way off and I experienced more intense freezing. In trying to understand what was going on, I realized that I had triggered unresolved grief and guilt, It was very intense and I was quite concerned for my well being. To put it in Eckhart Tolle’s terms, I had triggered the ‘pain body.’
Tolle claims that we all have a pain body and we activate it through present experiences and thoughts [stress]. He contends that the best way to dissolve it is to simply observe it objectively, without judging it or attaching to it. By not falling victim to it, we weaken its energy field and eventually, it dissolves. Spiritual catalyst, Teal Swan, recommends a similar approach. She suggests, that rather than running away from the feelings, we turn around and walk right back into them. Not in a defiant sort of way, but rather with an attitude of acceptance and compassion. Further, Swan suggests that we bring our attention to what we want [tranquility and happiness] rather than what we’re trying to avoid [fear, anger, guilt and grief].
I was also reminded during this time of how important it is to focus on creating joy in the present moment [in each and every present moment], and of equal importance, to dream big. To thank God for helping me to recover my health so that I can help others recover theirs. In other words, focus my attention on the positive [on what I want] rather than the turmoil I’m in the midst of.
One last thing! I cannot emphasize enough the importance of laughter in the recovery process! Laughter helps to release feel good endorphins in the brain which counteracts stress. It helps to bring the body into homeostasis. I watch a lot of comedy videos on Youtube, especially Rick Mercer and Stephen Colbert. I immerse myself in comedy as much as I can.
Detoxify our Chi: Chi is the life force energy that flows in and around our bodies. A strong chi is essential to good health. Poor diet, unresolved emotional pain, stress, negative thoughts and unhappiness can all weaken our Chi. Detoxifying our thoughts, emotions and bodies will certainly help to strengthen our Chi as will exercises like yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong [any activity that brings you joy and peace of mind will strength your chi]. Having a positive outlook will also help.
12. Dissolve Unresolved Emotional Pain
At the root of all physical disease is unresolved emotional pain (grief, shame, guilt, bitterness, resentment, etc.) and this must be healed and released in order to heal the physical body. It is perhaps the most difficult challenge we face on our journey through life. It affects us on so many levels: our health, our finances, our careers and our relationships.
We have all experienced some form of emotional pain at some point in our life from being abused, criticized, left out, harshly punished, abandoned, teased, bullied, embarrassed, humiliated, witnessing a tragedy, losing a friend or family member, and many other forms of mistreatment and trauma. When we have a traumatic experience that affects us on an emotional level and when we don’t let go of those emotions, for example, by talking about the experience and how it made us feel with someone with a compassionate ear, the memories of that experience and the associated emotions are stored in our limbic brain and cell memory. These ‘hidden’ emotions create chronic stress which eventually leads to illness.
Undoing this damage [certainly in my experience] is not an simple task. Actually, before you can begin to undo it, you first need to be aware of it. I became aware of the role of unresolved emotional pain only after being referred to a One Brain Therapy therapist by the massage therapist I was seeing. And that was over 25 years ago! I’ve been at this for a long time, which is why I’m very comforted by the line from novel, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, by Richard Bach … “How can you tell when you no longer have [healing] work to do? When you are no longer here!”
Emotional healing is a five-step process: awareness, acceptance, forgiveness, expression and reprogramming.
Awareness means understanding that we are spiritual beings on spiritual journeys, here in physical form, participating in the flow of life in order to achieve spiritual growth. It means knowing that we’re here to become conscious of who we really are and why we’re really here on the planet through experience.
Acceptance means understanding that challenges and unpleasant experiences are part of the process. Shit happens! People will treat us inappropriately. We will do things we wish we hadn’t done. Indeed, it is these unpleasant experiences that quite often cause us to pause and ask why, and go in search of the answer.
Forgiveness involves forgiving those who damaged us, be they parents, siblings, schoolyard bullies, friends, relatives, teachers or whomever. We forgive based on the knowledge that those who damaged us were not living consciously and did not feel good about themselves. And we forgive based on the knowledge that we had agreements on a soul level with those who damaged us or hurt us in the manner in which they did. And we forgive based on the awareness that the unpleasant experience we had with this person was a necessary part of our spiritual growth. Without it, we wouldn’t be the person we are today!
The same holds true for ourselves. If we hurt others, we need to forgive ourselves for the pain we caused, for the exact same reason we forgive others. If possible, we can also apologize to those we mistreated.
Always remember this, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, because it frees you from anger, bitterness, guilt and hatred. Forgiveness is made possible when we remember that people are doing the best they can with what they’ve learned and that people, including ourselves, mistreat others because they don’t feel good about themselves
Expression involves talking about our experiences and expressing how we feel, objectively, without falling into victimhood. It might also mean screaming into a pillow or punching a pillow. It could also mean speaking directly with the person[s] who hurt us.
We reprogram by using positive affirmations and self talk to create new neural pathways in the brain. This step is critically important because emotions are created by thoughts and in order to help dissolve the emotion, we need to replace the negative thought with something positive. Positive thoughts are repeated over and over until a new neural pathway is firmly in place in the brain and the synapse connecting the neural pathway for the old thought is dissolved.
Emotional healing can also be accomplished through:
- Counseling with a qualified therapist
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Sadness in the Heart:
An important aspect of healing unresolved emotional pain has to do with addressing sadness in the heart. If you were raised with harsh punishment, criticism, abuse, neglect, abandonment or unrealistic expectations, chances are very good that there will be sadness in your heart. This can mean grief, bitterness and anger, and just like fear, it can sabotage your best intentions and cause you to become sick.
When the heart [home of unconscious beliefs] and mind [home of conscious thoughts] are in conflict, the heart always wins. If fear is in your heart, then fear will dominate your life. The same is true with sadness.
There is nothing a child needs or craves more than his or her parents’ love and acceptance. A child will even resort to negative behaviour in order to get the attention they seek. A child deprived of this love, or worse still, shown anger, hatred, fear and violence will, as Gary Chapman wrote in the Five Love Languages, feel a sense of betrayal and grow up with an empty love tank. As a result, the child may resort to all sorts of negative, addictive and sometimes violent behavior in order to seek retribution and fill the void.
If sadness is in your heart from growing up feeling unloved, unwanted, unaccepted and or unappreciated, chances are your love tank is empty and you are feeling unlovable, and this belief will trump any conscious efforts you undertake to feel good about yourself or improve your situation.
Sadness in your heart isn’t only the result of being mistreated by your parents. It could also be due to the loss of a close friend or family member, a marriage or family breakup, being bullied or the end of a relationship.
You can tell if there is sadness in your heart by examining the circumstances of your life. If you are experiencing a chronic illness, serious relationship issues, financial issues or unhappiness with your career, chances are, sadness in your heart is at the root of it.
You can begin to change this experience when you acknowledge the sadness and choose to treat yourself and others with compassion and forgiveness. When you know that everyone [including you and your parents] is doing the best they can with what they’ve learned [if you are taught unkindness, this is what you give back to the world]. then you can view them with compassion. Similarly, if you know that people mistreat others because they don’t feel good about themselves, then you can forgive. So this is not about placing blame. Blame keeps us stuck in victimhood, whereas, forgiveness empowers us.
I was able to forgive [and stop hating] the neighbourhood bully in the town where I grew up after I found out that he was beaten regularly by his abusive, alcoholic father.
In addition to practicing compassion and forgiveness, it might be helpful to release the sadness using my healing prayer [or some other effective technique]:
” Thank you [God I Am] for severing and dissolving the synapses and neural pathways, neutralizing the energetic frequency, healing and releasing from my body and my being, all of the fear, anger and detrimental beliefs and all of the grief and unresolved emotional energy at the root of the sadness in my heart, and I thank you [God] for this healing and I thank you for increasing the effectiveness of this healing by 100 times or more.”
Healing a dis-ease is made possible when we let go of emotional pain and heal the sadness in our heart. It opens us to acceptance and love and expedites our recovery!
13. Letting go of Anger and Fear
“The only thing we have to fear is…fear itself.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
The biggest challenge for me on my journey is not having a neurological condition or coping with the symptoms that characterize the condition. Rather, it has been overcoming fear!
My life took a dramatic turn on March 27, 2014 and hit rock bottom on April 4, when I started experiencing panic attacks. That’s when I discovered that fear is at the root of PD. If you’d like, you can read more about this in a blog I wrote.
Prior to March 27, I had spent two and a half years healing anger thinking it was at the root of my condition. After all, Deepak Chopra says that anger is an inflammatory emotion and Parkinson’s is an inflammatory condition, so healing anger made sense to me. Little did I know that healing anger was only meant to get me to what was underneath it … fear!
Anger and fear are part of our innate fight, flight, freeze or collapse response to a perceived threat. They are necessary for our survival and in that respect, they are a good thing. But they also create stress and they become detrimental to our health when we fail to release them and when we live in a constant state of anger and fear. In other words, when we live in a state of constant stress.
Robert Rodgers, author of Road to Recovery from Parkinson’s Disease, agrees that chronic fear-induced stress is at the root of PD. Rodgers says stress causes the body to produce an over abundance of the stress hormones [adrenaline, cortisol, aldosterone and testosterone] that are naturally secreted when it is in survival mode. All kinds of things happen within the body when it is overrun with stress hormones, but the most damaging [as it relates to Parkinson’s] is that the parts of the brain that produce dopamine, serotonin, melatonin and other calming neurotransmitters shut down and eventually lose their ability to produce them.
Chronic fear stems from a lack of faith and trust due to what we learned growing up. According to Eckhart Tolle, fear happens when we are stuck in ego … that is, when we are mired in the negative thinking of our egoic mind. [Apparently, weak adrenal glands are also a factor in the manifestation of anxiety, but for now, we’re going to focus on the fear aspect of it.]
I thought I had faith and trust. I believe very strongly in the higher power known as God [the universal-energetic-intelligence that is everything that exists]. My belief is that God is in everything … that God IS everything! This you would think would imply faith and trust. Apparently, not so! [I’m not attempting to be hard on myself. I’m simply explaining my perspective.]
Around the time of the panic attacks, I watched an episode of Joel Osteen. Osteen is an American preacher and televangelist, and the Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, the largest Protestant church in the United States. The sermon that day, sychronistically enough, was about overcoming fear through empowerment, and the key to empowerment according Osteen is to recognize the divine power within us.
This simple perspective triggered an epiphany: God’s power lies within me [it truly does] and this power can be used to transcend fear because God is pure love and love trumps fear. I realized I could use this awareness to cultivate faith and trust because God wants me to succeed.
Overcoming fear has been my biggest challenge because it has dominated so much of my life, but as Osteen said, ” Act powerful until you feel powerful, because God always has your back.”
Even armed with this awareness, I continued to experience fear over the next two years [most of it triggered by hidden detrimental beliefs … more on this later] leading to more necessary understanding and insights.
A key insight is that I came into this life to immerse myself in fear in order to truly know it, so that I could learn how to overcome and so I could learn its true purpose, which is to guide us to spiritual consciousness and self love.
A critical understanding is that fear is just a feeling created by a thought and in that respect, it is no different than happiness. It just doesn’t feel as good.
Even with what I was learning, I continued to experience fear every day, so I continued to research. One of my favorite sources of understanding is Eckhart Tolle. Tolle says another way to define the cause of fear is ‘identification with form’. This means three things. First, it means taking any situation and thinking it is a problem, or worse still, thinking something bad is going to happen and we’re not going to be okay. Second, it means we think we’re going to lose something, like losing our life, our money, our job, a relationship, respect and so on. Third, it means we think bad thoughts about ourselves, and worse still, we believe them to be true. Like when we believe we are a bad person, or we believe we are a failure, or we believe we are a coward and so on.
Regardless of the root cause of the fear … a health condition, identification with form or lack of trust and faith … it can be overcome. The understandings and insights that came to me eventually taught me the necessary steps to overcome fear because the key to recovering my health is to eliminate fear-induced stress as much as possible and stimulate the brain to produce the calming neurotransmitters. The good news is that both are possible. Here is what to do:
First and foremost, remember that fear is just a feeling, created by our conscious and unconscious thoughts. By changing our thoughts we can change our feelings and thus, change our experience.
Second, you can teach yourself to live in the present moment, without thought. Focus on your breath. Observe your surroundings. Fear occurs when we think something bad is going to happen, in the future. When we live in the present moment, we eliminate these thoughts.
Third, you can teach yourself that there really is no such thing as a problem. What we think is a problem, is really just a situation that we need to deal with in the moment that it arises. In the meantime, we can focus our attention on planning to deal with it effectively in the event that it does happen.
Fourth, we can remind ourselves that for every situation we face, there is always, always a solution. We just need to figure it out!
Fifth, we can ask ourselves, can I say with 100% certainty that what I’m afraid of is going to happen [the answer of course, is no] and if it did happen, would I be okay? Could I go on living? [I would certainly do my best] We can never say anything will happen with 100% certainty because there is always the possibility that it won’t, but we can say with 100% certainty that we will do our best to deal with it and that we will always go on living.
Sixth, we can trust that whatever we are experiencing is part of our life journey, and no matter what happens, as long as we have the ability to make a choice, we will always, always be okay! On a soul level we chose this journey; the more difficult path. We are in charge!
Seventh, we can teach ourselves that life is just one big adventure and challenging situations are part of the adventure!
Eighth, we can remind ourselves that fear is just an experience. It is just a part of life, like everything else! It really is as simple as that!
Ninth, we need to know that fear has a purpose, and that is to guide us to self love. It is hard to feel good about yourself when you’re scared all the time. This motivates us to find a way to live fearlessly, and when we live fearlessly, we feel good about ourselves! We love ourselves!
Tenth, we come from the same energy that Jesus did and we can live fearlessly just like he did. The power that was in Jesus [and the Buddha and Lao-tzu and Mohommed and Nelson Mandela] is in us!
Eleventh, you can remind yourself [and this you can be certain of] that you came into this life to experience fear, to immerse yourself in it in order to truly understand it, perhaps to help others overcome it, because we are not meant to live in fear. We’re meant to live in love and compassion!
Twelfth, live without judgement. It is not our responsibility or our purpose to judge or label our experiences. It is not our purpose to consider experiences as good or bad, successful or a failure or any other such judgment. More importantly, it is not our responsibility or purpose to judge ourselves or others in a similar fashion. We are not meant to think of ourselves as good or bad, failures, losers, cowards, rich, poor or any similar positive or negative label. We are simply meant to experience, learn and evolve. Our purpose is to do the best we can and participate willingly and joyfully in the flow of life.
Thirteenth, according to meditation teacher, Sam Harris, the body responds identically to both fear and excitement, so if you find yourself in a state of fear, place your attention on something that excites you. For example, I say, I am excited to send love to the universe and I am excited to develop an awesome meditation practice and I am excited to develop an awesome qigong practice, etc. In fact, we can preempt fear and anxiety by periodically saying out loud what excites us throughout the day.
There will always be situations that will cause you to feel fear. Remember, fear is meant to warn us of danger. It is meant to keep us safe! It’s part of the experience! The challenge is not to hold onto it, judge it as bad or personalize it by thinking there is something wrong with us. We need to let it go!
And if you really want to get good at mastering and letting go of fear, just remember that we’re not just human beings. Rather, we are divine spiritual beings having a human experience. As a divine spiritual being, we can be the witness to the thought that causes us to feel fear, so that we don’t attach to it or hold onto it. We can be God’s eyes! We can be the conscious observer of the feeling with conscious awareness that the feeling is being created by a thought. And fear, like happiness, is just part of the experience. It’s neither good nor bad. It just is!
Something else that has helped immensely is imagining what Jesus might say about fear. I think he would tell us that it is not our purpose to:
- Be perfect in any way
- Avoid our fears
- Please others, particularly when it compromises our values
- Dominate or be better than others
- Tell others how to live their life
- Compromise ourselves
- Worry about the future or stay stuck in the past
- Hold on to emotional pain
- Win at all costs
- Be rich, famous and or powerful
- Be fearless at all times
- Allow our sense of lovability, worthiness, adequacy and empowerment to be determined by whether we are loved, wanted, accepted or appreciated by others
- Stay stuck in fear, especially the fear of death
Jesus would tell us fear is not inherit in our nature. It is something we are taught. He would tell us that our true purpose is to experience, learn and evolve. It is to do our best in the present moment. It is to act with integrity. It is to understand and honour our values. It is to forgive and let go of the past. It is to let go of our emotional pain. It is to practice acceptance, trust and faith. It is to be good stewards of the planet and our natural resources. It is to be kind. It is to enact our innate self love. It is to become spiritually conscience.
One other thing. Fear is quite often masked by anger. We feel angry for two reasons. First, being afraid all the time can cause us to feel like a coward which causes us to feel angry with ourselves. Second, feeling afraid is a really unpleasant feeling. It makes us feel powerless. Whereas, anger makes us feel powerful [it’s a false sense of power] which is a much better feeling.
Oh! One last thing! When the experience you are having that is causing you to feel fear is over, throw your hands up in the air, smile and yell, HALLELUJAH! This will help you let go similar to a duck vigourously flapping its wings after an altercation with another duck!
Hidden Fears … Faulty Beliefs:
The biggest single challenge I’ve faced on my journey to recover my health is overcoming the hidden [unconscious] detrimental beliefs, which when triggered, put me in a state of fear that leaves me experiencing extremely intense symptoms. It has been happening almost on a daily basis.
According to spiritual catalyst Teal Swan these beliefs are created by repeated thoughts, mostly from childhood during our key formative years.
“Fred, you’re a bad boy.”
“Mom says I’m a bad boy!”
“Fred, you’re a bad boy.”
“Dad says I’m a bad boy!”
“Fred, you’re a bad boy.”
“Teacher says I’m a bad boy!”
“Fred, you’re a bad boy.”
“Mrs. so and so next door says I’m a bad boy!”
“Hey, I’m a bad boy!”
If you hear something often enough, you eventually believe it. And when the ‘bad’ boy never hears that he is loved, he also draws the conclusion [belief] that he is not loved and by extension, he is not lovable.
Alex Lloyd, author of The Healing Code, says that whenever the head [conscious mind] and heart [unconscious mind] are in conflict, the heart always wins. In other words, no matter what you are trying to accomplish, whatever you believe unconsciously [hopefully, it is positive] will win out.
The challenge with hidden detrimental beliefs is that they affect your life in a negative way without you knowing why things are going wrong. In my case, they are constantly intensifying the symptoms I experience. I don’t mind telling you, it’s overwhelming at times.
So, what to do about these hidden beliefs, particularly given that most of the time, I don’t know which hidden beliefs or the thoughts that triggered them, are at the root of the symptoms I’m experiencing?
Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth, suggests dissolving the pain-body [the unresolved emotional pain we have accumulated over our lifetime], the home of our fears. This is accomplished by practicing living in the present moment and practicing inner body awareness in order to live consciously, rather than in ego. He also suggests ‘observing’ the experience without judging it.
Teal Swan suggests a multi-step process including reframing the evidence you have been using to support the belief. In my case, rather than believing I’m a bad boy, I could say that I was simply a boy who was acting out because I didn’t feel good about myself because I didn’t have a loving relationship with my parents.
Joel Osteen says don’t feed feelings of the flesh. In other words, don’t give in to our ego-based fears. Instead, feed the spirit by living in peace, love and joy!
American neuroscientist and chiropractor, Dr. Joe Dispenza, says that the thoughts that create fear also create neural pathways in the brain and these pathways can exist for our entire lifetime. He says, simply put, that the way to dissolve them is to stop using them [stop thinking the thoughts] and create new pathways through positive affirmations and learning new things.
So, if we put all this together, the way to dissolve these hidden detrimental fears/beliefs is to feed the spirit by continually practicing living consciously by doing the following:
- Practice inner body awareness [place your attention on the energetic vibration within your body] and living in the present moment
- Practice positive self talk in order to create new neural pathways
- Reframe any negative beliefs we have about ourselves [more on this in the section on Remapping]
- Practice acceptance, that in our lives, especially during childhood, we had unpleasant experiences and we were mistreated by others, including our parents, because they were living unconsciously and didn’t feel good about themselves. And these experiences are simply part of the flow of life, they are part of our life journey
- Do the things we can to feel good about ourselves: be kind, be grateful, be forgiving, be compassionate, be helpful, act with integrity and focus on doing our best
- Practice loving compassion. Each day pick one or more persons and send them loving compassion, by saying, “May you be happy! May you be healthy! May you be content! Etc.!”
I also like to practice my healing prayer. I find it helpful and I believe it works [see below]. I hope you find this helpful.
Healing prayer: Thank you spirit and thank you higher self for severing and dissolving the synapses and neural pathways, neutralizing the energetic frequency, healing and releasing from my body and from my being, all of the fear, anger and unresolved emotional energy, and all of the detrimental thoughts, that are at the root of the belief I hold that I’m a bad boy and that I deserve to suffer and be punished. And I thank you for this healing and I thank you for increasing effectiveness of this healing by 100 times or more.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” This kingdom is the empowerment that comes comes from living in faith and trust. It is also the peace of mind that comes from surrendering to the experience.
I can’t imagine a better or more powerful feeling than living without fear!
14. Remap the brain
Remapping the brain! It’s what the book, The Brain’s Way of Healing, by Norman Doidge, is all about. Dr. Joe Dispenza discusses it at length in his book, You are the Placebo. Both authors take the position that any neurological condition can be overcome by creating new synapses and neural pathways in the brain by retraining the mind and body through positive thought and joyful, conscious exercise. Dispenza, an American neuroscientist and chiropractor, who was featured in the movie What the Bleep, explains very well in this TED Talks video the process of thought in the creation of new healing neural pathways.
A year ago, I discovered that when I count while walking, my walking improved immensely. Then a few weeks ago, it occurred to me that I could retrain my body to walk normally all the time by resetting my gait any time I found myself shuffle-walking. I’ve been doing so ever since and my walking has improved significantly.
Shortly after that, I theorized that I could stand normally [with proper balance] by correcting the communication pathways between the balance detection centers [in the eyes, inner ears and soles of the feet], and the muscles in my back and legs that are responsible for balance. So I started retraining my mind and body by constantly reminding myself to keep my back street, shoulders square, chin up, eyes up and feet shoulder-width apart, the essentials of good balance. I also remind myself to take big steps when I move. Since beginning this retraining process, my balance has improved considerably.
Then I theorized that I could retrain myself to live fearlessly by retraining my mind through an inner dialogue. In essence, I would teach myself what I would have wanted to learn as a child. So I have begun the retraining process where I ask myself [my inner child] a series of questions [I explain this in detail in a blog] intended to demonstrate that I actually have nothing to fear.
Next up, trembling! I considered how I could retrain myself to stop trembling. But how do you teach yourself to do this? Then I remembered a few things. First, my body doesn’t tremble when I’m sleeping. Nor does it tremble just before bedtime or when I first wake up in the morning. It also doesn’t tremble when I’m in or around water, touching a tree, laughing, exercising or playing golf. I experience trembling when I’m in a worrying/fearful/stressed/agitated state, but I am fine when I’m in a restful/relaxed/happy/doing state.
Hence, the solution! In order to stop trembling I need to remap my brain by retraining my mind and body to be in a joyful/tranquil state…all the time. And I can do this through meditation, sitting in silent solitude, laughing, involving myself in joyful activities, spending time in nature, literally hugging a tree and doing what I love. [Perhaps this is the whole point of this condition…to guide us to this way of living.]
In essence, what I’m intending to do, is train my mind and body to be in a loving/tranquil/joyful state all of the time in order to first, eliminate symptoms, and second, completely recover. I am accomplishing this by creating new synapses and neural pathways, and thus, remapping my brain!
If this retraining/remapping process sounds rather simple, it is, but what I have learned so far, is that it is a full-time endeavour. It requires constant diligence and ongoing dialogue. However, I know it is possible because I already figured out a long time ago that I could offset slowness of movement by doing speed exercises and I could overcome voice softening by yelling. I just didn’t think of it in terms remapping the brain.
Add brain remapping to a healthy diet, detoxification, joyful exercise and bodywork, and I now have my recovery protocol.
15. Spiritual Practice
This journey with a neurological condition has been as much about spiritual awakening as it has been about recovering my health. Embarking on this journey was a long time coming in my life but it actually began before I started developing the symptoms of parkinson’s.
Growing up in the tiny hamlet of Bala, Ontario, Canada, our parents sent my brothers and me to church every Sunday [they never joined us … hmmm!], first to Sunday school and then to regular church. I don’t recall being particularly enthralled with the experience, but we did learn about God. We were told that God was an all powerful being who lived outside of us, up in heaven, and that this God would judge us, condemn us and persecute us if we sinned. Again, I don’t recall what I thought of this notion, but I do know that it didn’t inspire me to behave.
At some point during my teenage years, I stopped believing in God. I don’t exactly recall why. It wasn’t an epiphany or major event in my life. Perhaps I just became disillusioned with what was going on the planet that time [the Vietnam War, student protests, the Watergate scandal, to name a few significant events] or perhaps it was just because I was so bloody angry with life.
I remained an atheist until I started seeing Jan, the massage therapist I was referred to in 1993. Jan talked about a different sort of God. This God she said was all around us, not just up in heaven. I have to admit, that at first I didn’t quite get it, and then one day it struck me; God isn’t just all around us. God is in us. God IS us. God is everything. God is like a lake. A lake is the sum total of all the water droplets in the lake. Similarly, God is the sum total of everything that exists; you, me, all the plants, all the trees, all the birds and everything else that exists in the universe.
And so began my spiritual journey, a journey [transformation] that has seen me through a corporate downsizing, a failed business venture, a marriage breakup and now, a significant health challenge.
Aside from Jan, my most influential spiritual teacher has been Eckhart Tolle. Through his books, The Power of Now and A New Earth, and many hours of watching his Youtube videos, I have learned many spiritual principles, including living in the present moment, accepting the present circumstances and understanding the purpose of life, which is to become conscious of who we really are and why we’re really here on the planet.
I’ve had many insights and epiphanies along the way. Some of the more meaningful ones include:
- The understanding that we are not just our bodies, or our thoughts, or our feelings. Rather, we are the conscious observer of our bodies, thoughts, feelings and life itself.
- The purpose of fear is to guide us to self love
- We don’t have to do anything to actualize self love. We don’t need someone to love us or spend time in front of a mirror repeating loving affirmations. All we need to do is be aware of and in knowledge our innate divine loving spiritual nature.
- A way to overcome fear is to live in acceptance, trust and faith. Acceptance that we are here to experience as part of the flow of life. Trust that our life is unfolding the way it is meant to. And faith that no matter what happens we will be okay.
Some other meaningful teachings that have helped me on this journey include:
- The awareness that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience
- The awareness that we all live in Oneness with the universal-energetic-intelligence [God], participating in the flow of life
- The awareness that reincarnation exists
- The awareness that life has a purpose, which is to become conscious of who we really are and why we are really here on the planet
- The awareness that the secondary purpose of life is to let go of fear, anger and unresolved emotional pain
- The awareness that our suffering stems from our destructive thoughts which are the product of our egoic mind, which is separate from our true spiritual essence
- The awareness that the power of God lies within all of us
- The importance of living in the present moment
- The importance of accepting the present circumstances
- The importance of non-judgment
- The awareness that everything, including life itself, is impermanent
- The awareness that the single most important thing for our health and happiness is feeling good about ourselves
- The awareness that we could end all suffering on the planet simply by being kind to one another
An important aspect of my spiritual awakening is the awareness that everything has a purpose. Nothing exists or happens randomly and that includes disease. Parkinson’s I believe, has a purpose for me individually and for humankind as a whole. For humankind, it is one of many phenomenon meant to inspire us to change the way we live; to live more healthy and compassionately. For me personally, it is about learning how to heal this condition through an understanding of homeostasis, while becoming spiritually conscious.
The spiritual aspect of my protocol has been more of a quest than a practice. Having said that, there are a few things I do. First, I practice what Eckhart Tolle calls inner awareness. I focusing my attention on a specific part of my body and the feeling of aliveness that exists there. I usually feel a tingling sensation. This is the ‘God-energy’ that permeates all matter.
Here are some other things I practice:
- Spending time in nature
- Focusing on my breath
- Being kind, grateful, forgiving, generous, compassionate, etc.
- Asking myself, ‘What would someone who is spiritually conscious do in this situation?’
- Read: Every day I read a verse from Wayne Dyer’s book, Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life Living the Wisdom of the Tao [Dyer’s interpretation of Lao-tzu’s, the Tao Te Ching]
Having a spiritual perspective on life has helped me deal more positively with my health. It has helped me understand and release the anger and fear that are at the root of my condition, and more importantly, the destructive thoughts that are at the root of the anger and fear. It has helped me to be more loving, kind and understanding; to be more tolerant and compassionate. It has reduced stress and given my body the conditions it needs to heal. It has transformed my life!
I see the world differently. I no longer judge people. My priorities have changed. I’m no longer focused on money and things. Rather, I’m focused on helping people and bringing awareness to the things we need to do in order to sustain human life on this planet.
One benefit of my new found outlook is trust. I trust that my life is unfolding the way it is meant to and no matter what happens, I’ll be okay. With this comes a sense of peace and what could be better than that!
Another benefit is the way I see my condition. I do not consider myself to be battling parkinson’s. Nor do I think of myself as suffering from a disease. What you fight, fights back! When you believe you are suffering from something, you put yourself in victimhood! I’m not fighting with anything and I’m certainly not suffering!
The language I prefer to use and the perspective I choose to have is about experiencing. I think of myself as experiencing a neurological condition that has a purpose. This way of looking at my situation is empowering!
A third benefit has to do with forgiveness. Forgiveness is freedom from suffering. When you forgive, you let go of anger, bitterness, resentment and hatred, so it is a way of letting go of emotional pain. This experience has taught me that forgiveness is easy when you remember two things. First, that people mistreat others because they are not spiritually conscious and because they don’t feel good about themselves. Second, everyone is doing the best they can with what they’ve learned. If someone grows up being mistreated, then that is what they give to the world.
A fourth benefit is gratitude. Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, and Eckhart Tolle, say that gratitude is one of the keys to being happy. And happiness is essential to my recovery because it is impossible to feel fear when I’m feeling happy. It also causes my brain to produce dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters that are necessary to eliminate my symptoms. So expressing gratitude is like taking medicine … happiness medicine! This experience has taught me that true gratitude isn’t just words. It is a state of being. It is a feeling of genuine appreciation for everything in my life.
16. CBD Oil
I first tried CBD oil in 2017 but found no benefit from it most likely because I wasn’t using the right brand or formula for me. The products I tried left me feeling anxious, panicky and waking up in the morning feeling like I was hungover.
After the crisis in 2018 that led me to being admitted to hospital, Mari insisted that I try it again. She was convinced that it would help me. So I experimented with a few brands and formulas and found that CanniMed 1:20 [1 mg THC and 20 mg CBD per 1 ml of oil] worked best. Presently, I am taking 4 ml per day, which amounts to 80 mg of CBD. CanniMed is a Canadian product.
I take 1 ml four times a day: first thing in the morning when I wake up, lunch time, dinner time and bedtime.
I also take 2 ml of Mari’s homemade oil [6 mg of THC and 8 mg of CBD per ml of oil].
CBD oil is known to lessen anxiety and eliminate inflammation and while I can’t quantify its effect on me, I believe this combination is working well for me by contributing to the improvement in my health and the improvement in the symptoms I experience.
I will admit that I am taking medication with great reluctance and in fact, the primary reason, if not the only reason, I’m taking it is because I ended up in the hospital completely immobile after an extended period of intense worry and anxiety. I experienced the symptoms of PD for seventeen years free of medication including ten years after diagnosis and my goal was to recover my health without ever taking medication. Having said all this, I must admit that while medication has not helped with all the symptoms I experience, it has helped immensely to improve my quality of life and as of yet, has not caused any side-effects.
Before heading down the medication path, I urge you to examine and test every alternative, because once you begin taking medication, it is very difficult to get off it. I only did so after the quality of my life became seriously impaired. And if you do choose to take medication, do not hand over responsibility for your health to your doctor or neurologist. Take responsibility. Do your research. Know what you’re getting into and don’t allow yourself to be bullied into taking medication, particularly multiple medications. Even though I am taking medication, I’m doing my best to minimize it with all the other things that are part of my protocol.
I am presently only taking levodopa-carbidopa [Sinemet]. I take five tablets a day [500 mg levodopa and 125 mg of carbidopa. I take two tablets at 9 AM, 1 1/2 tablets at 3 PM and 1 1/2 tablets at 10 PM. This combination is working well for me and over time, I plan to reduce the amount I am taking very slowly.
In the meantime, I do not feel defeated and having to take medication. Rather, I look at it as the same as taking any other supplement, such as taking magnesium to alleviate constipation.
I support anyone who chooses to manage this condition without medication and I urge you to do so as long as you are happy with your quality of life.
18. What I’ve Learned From My Experience
No discussion about the steps I’ve taken in order to begin recovering from Parkinson’s would be complete without a review of what I’ve learned during the process.
I have learned about:
- the role of back tension in the development of chronic health issues
- the interactive relationships between all the systems of the body, including the Central Nervous System, Endocrine System, Digestive System and Immune System [IS]
- the role of the Immune System and that 80% of the IS (Immunoglobulin A) is in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract
- leaky gut and that it involves the destruction of healthy gut flora and the mucosal lining of the GI tract
- the role of the lymphatic system in removing metabolic wastes from our cells and keeping the body healthy
- the role of inflammation in the development of disease and the role the IS plays in eliminating inflammation
- how to restore health by detoxing the body … restoring gut health, strengthening the IS, alkalining the body, eliminating inflammation and unclogging the lymph system
- the role of fear in the development of Parkinson’s. In fact, in many ways, Parkinson’s is fear. Since coming face to face with fear, my focus has changed from recovering from Parkinson’s to releasing fear, because it more than anything else is at the root of the condition. Fear, that is, chronic fear, causes the body to be in a constant state of fight-flight-freeze, which puts the body in a constant state of stress. This constant state of stress leads to a chronic release of the stress hormones, adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine, which in turn causes the part of the brain that produces dopamine, serotonin and other calming neurotransmitters to shut down, thus leading to the development of the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
- muscle memory and that certain exercises or activities, such as playing baseball, can be performed as if the body didn’t have Parkinson’s. This awareness has helped me overcome immobility, a very debilitating symptom. In researching muscle memory I also learned about the creation of neural pathways in the brain, such as what happens when you learn to ride a bicycle, which has helped me create specific exercises to stimulate and retrain my brain.
- the wonderful healing potential of qigong
- various techniques to offset specific symptoms
- that a number of people have recovered their health, including Bianca Molle, David Thompson, Howard Shifke and John Coleman
- that healing a chronic health condition is much like walking a labyrinth. [A labyrinth is a single circular path that winds its way back and forth in a specific pattern towards the center. There is one way in and out.] There is no straight line from beginning to end. Rather it is a circular journey with lots of twists and turns and changes of direction that sometimes lead you very close to your goal and sometimes take you away from it. When I first discovered that I had Parkinson’s I thought I could heal myself simply by healing the root emotional cause of the condition. I soon discovered that it would not be that simple and that I had to address other issues like gut health, the immune system, the lymphatic system and removing inflammation. Again, at this point I thought I had all the information I needed to heal myself, but then I learned about the role of fear. Another hurdle to overcome. Several times over the years, I thought I was close to healing myself only to discover a new challenge, taking me in a new direction. Understanding labyrinths has been immensely important in understanding the journey I’m on.
- I have learned how to be an effective meditator.
I believe that every experience has a purpose and part of that purpose is to teach us something, perhaps so we can assist others, and always so we can find our spiritual center. We all participants in the flow of life, living in oneness with eachother and the universal-energetic-intelligence, and everything we learn affects the whole. I believe that I and others [because I’m not the only who has learned this stuff] were meant to discover a different way of recovering our health in order to show everyone that it’s possible, and more importantly, to show everyone that we don’t have to get sick in the first place. It is indeed possible for humankind to live in wellness.
19. My Ideal Daily Protocol
I have come to the conclusion that if I [or anybody else for that matter] could get away from life for a year or two [go live in an ashram], I could recover my health. In an ashram, I could devote my entire time each day to healing. The folks who have recovered their health, including John Coleman, David Thompson, Bianca Molle and Howard Shifke, did just that. They quit their jobs and focused on their health.
Yes indeed, a retreat would be the ideal setting for healing. It would allow me to get away from the day to day stresses of life that seem to keep triggering the thoughts that are putting me in a constant state of fight-flight-freeze. As Homer Simpson would say, “Stupid fight-flight-freeze!” It would allow me to step out of this chronic state.
It would also be ideal to have a spiritual teacher to talk to about the experiences in my life that I need to resolve. This would be a time of introspection, a time to delve into the unconscious, detrimental beliefs that are at the root of the health condition I’m experiencing.
At my getaway place, my daily routine would look like the following:
- Meditation [5 to 20 minutes]
- Walk [20 minutes to an hour]
- Stretches [5 to 10 minutes]
- Laughter break [5 minutes]
- Qigong [30 minutes]
- Speed exercises [30 minutes]
- What am I scared of practice [15 to 30 minutes]
- Laughter break [5 minutes]
- Meditation [5 to 20 minutes]
- Exercises [30 minutes]
- Qigong/yoga [45 minutes]
- Reading/journaling [1 hour]
- Sit in silent solitude [30 minutes]
- Laughter break [5 minutes]
- Walk or Qigong or light exercise [1 hour]
- Blog/write or leisure activity [1 hour]
- Laughter break [5 minutes]
- Bedtime prayer
I would drink plenty of water throughout the day and I would do these activities outdoors as much as possible. I would also make each day a spiritual practice by practicing living in the present moment and focusing on my energetic connection and oneness with all that is.
As for my diet, check out my current daily diet.
My ideal would be to do this five or six days a week. On the seventh day, I would plan to take it easy, do some shopping and have a bodywork session [Body Stress Relief or Chiropractic or Osteopathy or Reiki or massage].
I think sustaining this routine would take discipline and determination, but given the alternative, I would do it!
Practice any form of meditation that resonates with you. My personal preference is to focus on my breath and count from 10 down to one with each exhale. I do this five times.
Start with a comfortable pace and a comfortable length of time. If you can only do 5 minutes to start, that is fine, but build it up to 1 hour of fast walking/cycling. Practice conscious walking [focusing on form … Lengthen the stride, place foot down heel to toe and swing the arms]
I highly recommend taking laughter breaks. I already do this as part of my daily routine. It usually involves watching videos on youtube. My favorite is Rick Mercer and I also enjoy Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Just for Laughs Gags. You can also practice laughter yoga or just simply sit and smile for several minutes.
Qigong was an important part Bianca Molle and Howard Shifke’s recovery protocols, so I highly recommend it. I really like doing the Zhineng program and Lee Holden’s routines.
The purpose of these exercises is to counteract slowness and movement, loss of balance and loss of dexterity. My protocol would include boxing punches, boxing footwork, karate blocks, kicks and strikes, knee raises and exploding hands [shooting my hands out in the air while opening up the fingers as fast as possible]. While you’re doing the exercises count the repetitions and yell as loud as you can as much as you can because it will help keep your voice strong. It will also help you to let go of fear.
What I’m scared of practice:
In your daily journal, write down the question, “What am I most scared of right now?” And without lifting your pen from paper, record the first answer that pops into your head. Then ask the question, “Why does this scare me so much?” Record the answer.
In response to this fear, repeat the following prayer: “Thank you Spirit and thank you higher self for severing and dissolving the synapses and neural pathways, neutralizing the energetic frequency, healing and releasing from my body and from my being, all of the fear, anger, shame and unresolved emotional energy and all of the detrimental thoughts that need to be healed, dissolved and released in order for me to feel tranquil, poised, self assured in self loving in this moment particularly as it relates to [the fear you just wrote down], and I thank you for this healing and I thank you for increasing the effectiveness of this healing by 100 times or more.”
Jumping jacks, push-ups, stomach crunches, wall sits, lunges, footwork, skipping and other exercises that help develop cardiovascular, strength, speed, balance, coordination and flexibility.
Sit in silent solitude:
Find a quiet spot, ideally outside, and sit quietly, bare feet on the ground [for grounding], and listen to the sounds, in order to clear the mind and be in a state of tranquility.
You could also use this time to practice loving compassion by visualizing someone and repeating the following: May you be happy! May you be healthy! May you live in peace, love, joy, abundance and bliss! May you be content!
You could also use this time to list your core values. For instance, I value family, friendship, community, kindness, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, gratitude, simplicity, order, nature, conservation, spirituality, creativity, exercise, optimism, perseverance and good health.
You can also use this time to list the things that excite you. For example, I am excited about sending love out to the universe, developing an awesome meditation practice, developing an awesome qigong practice, learning to speak Estonian, learning to count to ten in various languages and spending time with my family.
Every night before turning out the lights I offer a manifesting/gratitude prayer similar to the following: “Thank you Spirit and thank you higher self for immersing me in love and light. Thank you for the light that shines on me filling me up with divine goodness and compassion, forgiveness and gratitude, understanding and abundance. Thank you for immersing my home in divine light. Thank you for immersing my children in divine light. Thank you for immersing over Mari and her children in divine light. Thank you for immersing my siblings and their families in divine light. Thank you for helping me to live in spiritual consciousness. Thank you for helping me to feel tranquil, poised, self assured and self loving. Thank you for helping me to return my body to homeostasis and recover my health. Thank you for the light that shines on me filling the up with happiness, kindness, courage, confidence and self love. And thank you for bringing me a good night’s sleep. Namaste!”
Perhaps this is all part of God’s grand plan. To motivate us to change our focus from money, power, fame and materiality, to that of spirituality, kindness, good health and environmentalism, by saddling us with an array of health conditions that motivates us to do so. Makes a lot of sense!
20. Getting Relief from Symptoms
The primary goal of anyone experiencing Parkinson’s is getting relief from symptoms. Be it trembling, tension, clenching, loss of balance, anxiety, constipation or any other symptom, we want relief, however temporary it may be! It’s why people take medication … not to slow or cure the disease … to get relief from the symptoms.
I feel very blessed in that trembling is not a big issue for me. My biggest challenges are anxiety, constipation, the impaired use of my left hand, freezing and loss of balance, but while I’m in the process of recovering I’ve learned how to deal with them [I just lean against things and use my right hand a lot more]!
Here are the things I do to manage and minimize the symptoms I’m experiencing:
- Practice qigong
- Get a good night’s sleep [7-8 hours]
- Eliminate sugars, fruit, coffee and alcohol
- Practice muscle memory exercises
- Lay on my back
- Spend time in nature
- Spend time in or near water
- Focus on my breath while relaxing my muscles
- Put my hands on a tree
- Lay on my back
- Practice grounding [sit with my bare feet on the ground]
- Exercise walking
- Counting while walking
- Conscious walking [focus on each step]
Loss of balance:
- Practice Qigong
- Flip a ball or stand on one foot
- Retrain my body [tell myself verbally to stand with my back strain, shoulders square, head up and eyes up]
- Practice balance exercise [such as standing on one foot]
- Bend my knees quickly before taking a step
- Tell myself verbally to take a big step
- Practice speed exercises [karate strikes]
Slowness of movement:
- Practice speed exercises [karate strikes and exploding hands]
- Yell while doing the movement
- Focus on my breath
- Take magnesium and Vit C
- Take an adrenal supplement
- Recite the things I am excited about [such as sending love out to the universe, developing an awesome meditation practice and learning a new language]
Loss of use of my left hand [clenching]:
- Practice exploding hands [throw my fists up in the air, while shooting my fingers out as fast as I can [while yelling, ‘Hallelujah!’]
Getting out of a chair:
- Slap my thighs and yell, ‘Up’
- Bend forward and lower my hands towards the floor
Moving around and getting in and out of bed:
- Strengthen the core muscles with push-ups and stomach crunches
- Take a magnesium supplement [See section seven on diet and supplements]
Softening of the voice:
- Practice yelling
- Print with capital letters
Difficulty typing due to clenching in left hand:
- Use speech recognition software
BSR is a bodywork modality that uses pressure points in various patterns along the spine to relieve muscle tension so that nerve impulses can flow freely. After I started going for BSR treatments the trembling in my arms diminished by about 75% and it has remained this way. There has been no increase in the trembling I experience and it has not spread to other parts of my body.
Sleeping: I noticed a few years ago that when I woke up in the morning I was not experiencing any trembling. According to Robert Rodgers, author of Road to Recovery from Parkinson’s Disease, this happens because during times of rest the body and brain shut down the fight or flight response, which in turn shuts down production of the stressor hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This allows the brain to produce the calming hormones and neurotransmitters, like adrenaline, serotonin and melotonin.
Laying on my back: when I lay on my back there is little or no trembling. I suspect this is the case for two reasons. First, laying on my back takes the pressure off my spine allowing nerve impulses to flow more freely. Second, similar to sleeping, I suspect that lying on my back is a signal to my brain to shut down the fight or flight response, thereby eliminating stress and the stressor hormones, allowing my body to produce calming hormones and neurotransmitters.
Spending time in nature: The powerful energies of the forest help to balance our circadian rhythms, which in turn, helps to balance the production of hormones and neurotransmitters in our body.
Spending time near water: when I’m in, on or near water I experience almost no trembling. I suspect this is happening for the same reasons that I experience relief when I’m sleeping or lying on my back. In other words, I’m in a calm state of mind, so the body shuts down the fight or flight response, allowing my brain to produce more dopamine.
Exercise walking: when I go for my morning walk, I bounce a ball, twirl a karate bostaff or do some other activity. When I do this, three symptoms that I typically experience go away. This includes clenching in my left hand, loss of control in my left leg and shuffle walking.
Practice Qigong: when I practice Qigong I experience virtually no symptoms of any kind.
Flip a ball or stand on one foot: when I attempt to stand in one place, it doesn’t take long before I lose my balance. But if I flip a ball back and forth between my left hand and my right hand or stand on one foot, my balance is fine. I have no idea why this is the case, but it works. It also works if I simply swing my arms back and forth.
Practice muscle memory exercises: when I do certain exercises that are intended to teach or remind the body to move normally, I experience no symptoms. This includes exercises such as doing karate exercises, playing golf, riding a bike, playing a sport you played as a child, bouncing a ball off a wall and retrieving it, taking two steps at a time when I’m going up the stairs, throwing my arms up in the air as fast as I can and doing knee raises. Again, I don’t quite understand the physiology of it, but it works.
Eliminate sugars, fruit, coffee and alcohol: all of these things exacerbate my symptoms, so I have eliminated them from my diet.
Take a magnesium supplement: doing this keeps my bowel movements regular, thus eliminating constipation.
Speech recognition software: using SRS helps me get around the issue of the loss of use of my left hand, although I have to admit, that using SRS can sometimes be a frustrating experience.
Because I made the choice not to take medications, I’ve had to get creative in finding ways to minimize the symptoms I experience. It has been an awesome learning experience and it has given me enormous piece of mind, as well as the confidence that I can recover my health.
21. Managing My Thoughts
Perhaps, the most challenging part of my journey and the key to my recovery is dealing with my thoughts. Quite often I find myself in the midst of a seemingly random negative thought pattern which intensifies my symptoms. In 2014 and again in 2018 I was admittedly very mired in negative thoughts, dwelling on the progression of the ever worsening symptoms I was experiencing. It got to the point where I started having panic attacks on both occasions. Thankfully, I put that behind me, although I still continue to experience negative thoughts.
Negative thoughts are very destructive. They cause stress and stress works against us when we’re recovering our health. Stress acidifies the body and contributes to poor gut health, a weakened immune system, inflammation and a clogged up lymphatic system, all the things we need to rectify in order to return the body to homeostasis. So it’s important to deal with them effectively.
There are days when I wake up and my mind is filled with creative ideas. Other days, it is awash in negativity. Something has been bothering me perhaps that I don’t feel comfortable talking about. Sometimes, it’s just random negative thoughts. Sometimes I’m fussing over those damn Toronto Blue Jays, blowing another baseball game! Just kidding! Thankfully I don’t take baseball seriously anymore! Try as I might to bring my mind to the present moment or think about something more positive, I constantly find it leaping cleverly back into the dark zone.
Why is this the case?
Well, according to research, negative thoughts are quite normal. The human mind processes thousands of thoughts over the course of a day and for most people, the vast majority of these thoughts are negative. Perhaps this is due to the negative energies that are floating around in the universe. Negative energies are like a patch of oil on water. They float around contaminating everything and the larger the patch the more they contaminate. Aside from negative energies, there are a few other factors at play:
- the false beliefs of the egoic mind
- unresolved emotional pain
- unexpressed opinions and feelings
- being around negative people
The egoic mind, according to Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth, is simply our conditioned negative thinking, resulting from our life experiences [or how we interpreted our life experiences]. Our experiences may have taught us to feel like a victim. They may have taught us to believe that money is the root of all evil, that we are inferior or inadequate or a coward, that we are unlovable, that God is evil or that the world is a dangerous place. We could have learned any number of false, debilitating beliefs and these beliefs shape our thoughts.
Unresolved emotional pain, or the pain body as Eckert Tolle describes it, also affects our thought patterns. If we are holding on to shame, guilt, bitterness, etc., our thoughts are bound to be negative. In section 12, we discussed how to let go of unresolved emotional pain.
Living in fear also effects how we think. If we are afraid to be alone or afraid of being without money or afraid of being hurt or afraid of being humiliated, etc., it is bound to affect our thinking. But here’s the thing, as we discussed in section 13, fear itself is just faulty thoughts and there are a number of ways to overcome them.
When you have unexpressed opinions and feelings, chances are, you will be dwelling on them, fussing over them, and it likely will not be in a positive way. The simple solution here [well it’s simple to say it] is to express yourself, which may mean having to overcome your fears [see previous paragraph].
Spending time around negative people, particularly your parents when you were growing up, can greatly influence your thinking. My parents, God bless them, were very negative and critical, and I often find myself doing the same thing.
I have become very diligent about keeping my thoughts positive. But they can be sneaky rascals. I could be working away at the computer, perhaps typing a blog, and the next thing I know there are negative thoughts flowing happily through my mind [they’re happy, I’m not!].
So how do we go about eliminating negative thoughts or the very least minimizing their destructiveness and our preoccupation with them. First, it is important to remember that they are normal and you can choose to observe them without judging them or yourself or taking them seriously. They’re just thoughts. They’re not real!
Second, choose to live in the present moment. Focus on your breath or look around and observe. With practice, I have gotten to the point where I can stop my body from trembling by taking deep slow breaths and relaxing my muscles. When you live in the present moment there is no thinking. There is simply experience! Negative thoughts will continue to find their way into your mind and in order to minimize this you can be diligent in focusing on your breath while taking steps to dissolve the ego and let go of emotional pain and fear. And this takes work. It takes commitment and it may take professional help.
It is also important to speak your mind, especially to those negative nellies who like to spend so much time in negativity. When you speak your mind you don’t hold on to things. You don’t hold on to anger or bitterness. You let go of frustration. And this helps to keep your thoughts positive. You may also have to distance yourself from the negative people in your life.
I also find it helpful when I catch myself dwelling on the negative thought to repeat an uplifting mantra and I have two of them. I find them to be very effective in putting me in a positive frame of mind, and thus, an improvement in the symptoms I’m experiencing!The first is a spiritual version of the twenty-third Psalm which I created in the second is a divine love mantra:
Twenty-third Psalm [spiritual version]: the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Spirit makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters. Spirit 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 understand, accept and let go of my past, and in so doing, you help me to forgive. You also 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 and enthusiasm forever!
Divine love mantra: the universal-energetic-intelligence, which is pure divine love, wishes to expand itself 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 divine love. And the best thing I can do to contribute to this expansion of love is to fully surrender to the will and wisdom of the universal-energetic-intelligence, acknowledge my true essence, which is divine love, live in love by being kind, compassionate, generous, forgiving and grateful, and live in the present moment. And I can do all of this because I live in spiritual consciousness, and, I choose to celebrate life. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have been given to participate in the flow-of-life and contribute to the expansion of divine love!
Negative thoughts will most certainly sabotage your best efforts to recover your health, so it is really important to minimize them as best you can and at the very least, not take them seriously.
I have talked about prayer a lot in these posts because I believe it has played a significant role in the beginnings of my recovery. I have used prayer to address my physical symptoms, release anger and fear and keep my spirits soaring.
I believe very strongly in the power of prayer! Not because I’m religious (because I’m not). Rather, because I believe there is a higher source of wisdom at the helm of the flow of life and this wisdom wants to help us on our journey. So it behooves us to tap into it!
The idea to use prayer as a way to heal came to me in 2000 while I was training to run a marathon. Perhaps the inspiration of a mind trying to keep from being bored during long weekend runs. More likely though, simple divine guidance! You see, I had learned how to do emotional release healing through One Brain Therapy, but I had found it to be a slow process and fairly traumatic on those I had been counseling. So I had been thinking about a more efficient technique and while I was running the technique came to me, intuited as a prayer. I started using it and got great healing results. A few years later, after watching the movie, The Secret, I began using prayer to manifest the things I wanted and so began my use of prayer as a way of improving my life!
I have three types of prayers:
- Protection from dark energies
I say all prayers as if I’ve already received what I am praying for, in other words, as a way of expressing gratitude. I do this by beginning each prayer with, “Thank you Spirit [or God I Am] for bringing me …” I got this idea from the book Conversations With God I by Neale Donald Walsch. By stating it this way I’m thanking the universe for what I want as if I’ve already received it, so the universe obliges. Also, by saying ‘God I Am,’ I am acknowledging my oneness with God and the universe.
“Thank you God I am for severing and dissolving the synapses and neural pathways, neutralizing the energetic frequency, healing and releasing from my heart, my body and my being, all of the fear, anger and unresolved emotional energy that is at the root of whatever I am experiencing (for example, the symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as, trembling, loss of mobility and or loss of balance), and I thank you God I Am for this healing and I thank you for increasing the effectiveness of this healing by 100 times or more.”
The prayer I use to manifest the people or things I need to assist me in the recovery process goes like this: “Thank you God I Am for bringing me whatever it is that I need to recover from Parkinson’s.” For example, I might say, “Thank you God I Am for bringing me the information I need to understand why I don’t experience any trembling while I’m sleeping.”
I have learned that when I do not receive what I’m praying for it is either because I am not ready for it yet, or I have a faulty belief that is blocking me from receiving it, or it is simply not meant to be. The challenge can be understanding the reason why I am not manifesting what I’m praying to manifest. Usually, it is a faulty belief.
Dark energy protection prayer:
I started praying for protection from dark energies in 2012 after listening to a podcast on dark energies by Caroline Myss. Myss, a noted spiritual teacher and author of Sacred Contracts, claims that dark energies exist and that they interfere with our lives and our healing efforts. After listening to the podcast, I created my own prayer.
The dark energy prayer I use goes like this:
“Thank you God I Am for immersing me in love and light. Thank you for the light that shines on me filling me up with divine goodness and compassion, forgiveness and gratitude, understanding and abundance. Thank you for hovering over me and protecting me. Thank you for hovering over my home and protecting my home. Thank you for helping me to release fear, anger and unresolved emotional energy and for returning my body to homeostasis. Thank you for the light that shines on me filling me up with happiness, kindness, courage, confidence and self love. Thank you! Namaste!”
I also give thanks to God for protecting other people and things, such as my children, my girlfriend and her family, my brothers and their families, my vehicle and even this blog.
Spiritual Prayer — Psalm 23:
I use the same spiritual version of Psalm 23 that I mentioned in the previous section when I’m having difficulty falling asleep and when I want to change my thought patterns or lift my spirits.
Twenty-third Psalm [spiritual version]: the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Spirit makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters. Spirit 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 understand, accept and let go of my past, and in so doing, you help me to forgive. You also 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 and enthusiasm forever!
Mantras and Affirmations:
Our thoughts create our reality. Therefore, it stands to reason that positive thoughts will create a positive reality. Affirmations are positive thoughts or positive statements that are meant to help us bring positive change into our lives. A mantra [a Sanskrit word] by definition is a sacred utterance [positive statement], used primarily during meditation. Simply put, a mantra is an affirmation that is repeated over and over. The intention of mantras and affirmations is to create new neural pathways and act as a trigger to stimulate an energetic shift with respect to our health, relationships, finances or career. In this respect, their intention is similar to praying, except we’re not directly asking for divine assistance.
I use affirmations/mantras for encouragement, particularly in those moments when I’m struggling, to keep me in a positive frame of mind and to bring more loving energy into my life. Here are some examples:
- I’m doing my best and that means I’m doing great.
- I’m filled with love and happiness.
- I am recovering. My body is healing. My body is healthy and strong.
- Positive thoughts Fred!
- I love going for morning walks. I love writing. I love swimming. I love … etc.
- The power of God lies within me.
- Love is happiness and happiness is love. Love is kindness and kindness is love. Love is forgiveness and forgiveness is love. Love is gratitude and gratitude is love. Etc.
If an affirmation isn’t giving you your desired results, it is likely that there is an unconscious belief sabotaging your efforts [likely the unconscious belief or thought that is creating the undesired reality you are trying to change]. If this is the case, you will need to identify and let go of the belief. I use my healing prayer to accomplish this. Meditation is also very effective. Rest assured, the universe wants for you what it is in your highest good. God has your back. You just have to clear your own ‘unconscious’ resistance to what you want.
Prayer, mantras and affirmations connect us with divine creativity and healing potential of the universe. They can enrich your life and they can help you heal.
23. Setting Goals
All my life I have been a goal setter. As a kid growing up I had two very ambitious goals. I wanted to be an NHL hockey player and I wanted to be a veterinarian. While I didn’t realize either one of these goals I did manage to accomplish a secondary goal which was to earn a university degree. I also had plenty of wonderful hockey experiences including playing in the All-Ontario Jr. C semi-final series in 1973 and being invited to play for the University of Guelph intercollegiate team in 1975.
As a teenager, I also had two goals. The first was to learn how to play the guitar, which I accomplished, although it was many years later. My second goal it seemed was to drink myself into oblivion. I was well on my way to accomplishing it when I got sidelined [thankfully] by a sensitivity to alcohol.
As an adult, I’ve set, and accomplished, many goals. I wanted to own a nice home [did it]. I wanted to climb the corporate ladder [did it … became a vice president with the company I worked for]. Wanted to earn a black belt in karate [did it … even opened my own dojo]. Wanted to run a marathon [did it]. Wanted to learn how to play the guitar [did it]. Wanted to learn how to play the mandolin [did it]. Wanted to do a good job of raising my children [did it…I believe].
I don’t know what made me become a goal setter. It wasn’t something I was taught. I don’t recall us talking about it growing up. It was just something I did and it has worked well for me, especially now. It has helped me, for the most part, cope effectively with Parkinson’s!
Here are my present goals and I can tell you with confidence that I intend to accomplish them all:
- Fully recover my health [It’s a work in progress]
- Communicate my experience through this blog [doing it]
- Write a book about my experience [you’re reading it]
- Become a fulltime author [I’ve already written four books]
- Speak to people professionally about my experience
- Speak to people professionally about spiritual consciousness, the purpose of life, self love and the importance of feeling good about yourself
- Sing again [doing it]
- Swim again [doing it]
- Play the guitar and mandolin again
- Eat cheese curds [doing it…thanks to magnesium]
- Live on a lake [did it!]
- Drive long distance
When you’re living with a chronic health condition, setting goals, in my experience, is critically important. It keeps you in a positive frame of mind. It keeps you optimistic and it gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It helps keep you from developing anxiety and depression and more importantly, it helps to alkaline your body which is essential for recovering your health.
Goal setting activates the universe. When the universe knows what you want it brings you the people and things you need to be successful. It creates synchronicities. It brings you insights.
If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to set goals for yourself. They can be simple goals and it is important that you believe that you can accomplish them. Start with the goal of learning everything you can about overcoming Parkinson’s [you can accomplish this simply by reading everything I’ve posted on this blog]. You might also have a goal of getting off medication [many people I have connected with have this goal]. You can accomplish this goal too. Again, everything I’m doing is all you need to do to be successful!
Victor Frankl, concentration camp survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, said that one of the key factors in his and others’ surviving the camps was having an optimistic view of the future. This meant setting goals.
Goal setting will greatly improve your chances of success and will help you feel better on a day to day basis. It has certainly helped me!
24. Things I Avoid, Things I Recommend and a Few Last Words
I hope by now after reading this article you realize that it’s possible to recover from this supposedly incurable disease. There are a lot of things we can do! The notion that PD is incurable is the misguided belief of western allopathic medicine because a pill hasn’t been found to cure it. As evidenced by David Thompson, Bianca Molle, John Coleman, Howard Shifke and others however, it is definitely possible to fully recover. It’s just not going to happen with a pill … nor will any disease ever be cured in this manner!
In order to recover your health, you need to return your body to homeostasis and this takes work, knowledge, sacrifices and trust. Once the body is in homeostasis, disease goes away. Accomplishing this, involves alkalining the body, restoring gut health, strengthening the immune system, eliminating inflammation and unclogging the lymphatic system. Fatigued endocrine system glands, particularly the adrenals and thyroid, and certain organs like the liver and kidneys, must also be strengthened. This is made possible through supplementation, detoxification and eliminating stress.
Detoxification is accomplished mainly through diet and herbal remedies, as well as exercise and sweating. The body’s pH must be restored to an alkaline state [between 7.0 and 7.4] and trapped metabolic wastes, heavy metal toxins, inflammation, molds, parasites and unhealthy bacteria must be eliminated. This is where the sacrifice comes in. I’ve had to give up many of the foods that I really like, including chocolate, pizza, bananas, wine and the occasional cold beer in order to detox my body. I’m hoping to be able to eat some of these foods again, but certainly not in the amounts I used to.
Stress is eliminated by minimizing negative thoughts, living in the present moment, being happy and grateful, forgiving and releasing fear, anger, faulty beliefs and unresolved emotional pain. And this is where the work comes in. Learning how to manage your thoughts, staying in the present moment and doing release work is just that, work! But in my experience healing can’t be done without it. Negative thoughts cause stress, as does fretting about the past and worrying about the future. Holding on to fear, anger, faulty beliefs and unresolved emotional pain keeps the body in a state of chronic stress leading to an overabundance of stress hormones [adrenaline, cortisol, etc.] eventually causing the part of the brain that produces dopamine and serotonin to shut down. Living in gratitude and happiness on the other will literally change your brain chemistry by restoring the production of the feel good neurotransmitters and hormones.
Recovering from Parkinson’s with or without medication involves trust. In the beginning I didn’t know how I could do it, I just believed that I could. And until recently, I didn’t know of anybody who had accomplished what I was trying to accomplish, but now I do. Initially, I took a natural approach, and it seemed to be working for a period of time. I found creative ways to minimize the symptoms I experience. But that all changed in 2018, partially due to my response to Bowen therapy, which I still don’t fully understand, and partially due to my own excessive worrying. Now I’m taking medication as part of my protocol which continues to emphasize a holistic approach.
I’ve had to do a lot of research, but this is where knowledge comes in. While I have learned some things that have scared the bejeepers out of me, each thing I’ve learned has given me more confidence and brought me closer to success.
I’ve also learned through trial and testing what works and what doesn’t and what to avoid and what to incorporate into my healing program. In some instances, because of the combination of factors that causes Parkinson’s, it took me awhile to figure things out [like the ideal diet … which for me is a high fat, low carb diet], but by being persistent it has paid off. So let’s begin by looking at the things I avoid. This includes:
- Toxic foods [sugar, wheat and other grains, dairy, fast foods, junk foods, etc.]
- Foods that exacerbate my symptoms [fruit, alcohol, coffee]
- Municipal tap water
- Getting cold [when I’m cold, my symptoms are really bad]
- Being upset or stressed [this too exacerbates my symptoms]
- The news [TV & newspapers]
- Violent movies
- Negative people
- Strenuous exercise [tends to exacerbate my symptoms]
- Non-natural shampoo, deodorant, etc.
And here are the things I recommend because I believe they are helping me to recover as well as giving me relief from the symptoms I experience:
- Ketogenic diet
- Magnesium supplements
- Adrenal supplement
- Iodine [for the thyroid]
- Vit D3
- Vit B12
- Meditation/sitting in silence
- Exercise walking
- Martial arts
- Being around water
- Spending time in nature
- Spending a few minutes in the sun every day
- Muscle memory exercises
- Spiritual practice
There’s no doubt in my mind that it is possible to recover from any disease. All that is required is time, a good attitude and the right approach. Get started immediately. Do your research. Talk to people. Read books. You can do it!
25. Turn the Situation in Your Favour
There is a scene in the delightfully slick television series, Suits, where Mike Ross says to his mentor, Harvey Specter, “If someone sticks a gun in your face, open your coat and show him the bomb strapped to your chest!” In other words, turn a negative situation into one that is in your favour, and in so doing, put yourself in a position of power!
This is a great attitude to have when dealing with a neurotransmitter imbalance [Parkinson’s] or any other chronic health condition. It has certainly helped me out enormously!
Here are some of the things I’ve done to turn the situation in my favour:
- I take charge of my recovery protocol including taking medication. My doctor has many other patients, so she has little time for me or understanding my needs. Besides, as deceased ex-Beatle, George Harrison, once said, “Doctors study disease, they don’t study health.” They don’t have a good understanding of diet or detoxification or healing emotional pain or dissolving fear, the essentials of true healing. And I like what Howard Shifke, the American lawyer who fully recovered from Parkinson’s, had to say about this subject. He said, “For 200 years the medical community has been treating Parkinson’s with medication and they haven’t cured one person, so why would I want to follow their protocol?”
- I don’t think of myself as having Parkinson’s Disease. Rather, I think of it as what it actually is, a neurotransmitter imbalance. Moreover, I simply think of myself as having an experience. The idea of dealing with a disease is vague and intimidating. Whereas, the notion of addressing a neurotransmitter imbalance is more specific and scientific. It requires a specific protocol for returning the body to homeostasis, which is something I can accomplish.
- I never considered my condition incurable. If the body is capable of healing a cut or broken bone, then it is capable of healing anything, including a neurotransmitter imbalance. It just needs the right nutrients and conditions to do so. What is more, I have learned of at least four people who have fully recovered from this same condition. Clearly, it is possible to recover!
- I do a lot of research and testing. The medical community, which includes the neurologist I used to see, has hung its hat on the theory that Parkinson’s is a result of a dopamine deficiency [dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain] due to the premature death of the brain cells that produce it. And they use drugs to treat it. Through research, I have learned that the brain cells don’t actually die, they just stop producing dopamine [and other neurotransmitters] due to inactivity, and under the right conditions [elimination of stress] they will begin producing it again. This knowledge has given me confidence that my protocol is the right approach. God bless the Internet!
- I write this blog. Writing this blog has allowed me to connect with countless people from around the world who have shared their stories, their ideas and their successes. It has also enabled me to help others, which has been invaluable to my confidence and state of mind. Again, God bless the Internet!
- I turned fear into my ally. When I started experiencing panic attacks, I learned that fear [panic attacks] is the result of false beliefs [negative thoughts], but rather than go on medication, which would have only suppressed the emotions, I chose to focus on thinking more positively. including making a list of all the positive things that have happened in my life as a result of this condition, such as living a healthier lifestyle. It also led me to learning about remapping the brain. In other words, rather than letting fear work against me, I made it work for me!
There is another reason to want to take charge of your journey. In Paulo Coelho’s best-selling novel, The Alchemist, a young shepherd boy learns that when you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it. But in order for you to accomplish your goal, you must take responsibility for it. If you relinquish control to others, you will be at the mercy of their decisions and their goals.
I sometimes feel like the sailor who has no control over the ocean, only how he sails it! It hasn’t been easy and although I have had many difficult days, many strong winds and choppy seas to contend with, I have always felt like I was in charge of two things [at least to the extent that Creator leashes or unleashes the nautical storms on me]: the decisions I make and my attitude. And like the protagonist in The Alchemist, clearly I feel like the universe has been conspiring to help me achieve my goal. But in order for this to happen I needed to take ownership of my journey. I needed to open my jacket and show Mr. Parkinson the bomb strapped to my chest.
I wish you godspeed on your journey!
24. Recommended Resources
The following is a list of books, web sites and videos that have been invaluable to me on my journey to recover from the symptoms of a neurotransmitter imbalance [Parkinson’s Disease]:
Eckhart Tolle … A New Earth [A book about becoming spiritually conscious. In my opinion, the most important book ever written!]
Bianca Molle … Reboot and Rejoice [an autobiographical book about recovery]
Robert Rodgers … Road to Recovery from Parkinson’s Disease [a book about recovery]
John Coleman … Stop Parkin’ Start Livin’ [an autobiographical book about recovery]
Norman Doidge … The Brain’s Way of Healing [a book about rewiring the brain]
Dr Joe Dispenza … You are the Placebo [a book about rewiring the brain]
Alex Lloyd … The Healing Code [a book about how to heal and release unresolved emotional energy from life’s experiences]
Julia Ross … The Mood Cure [a book about how to correct neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain]
Leonard A Wisneski and Lucy Anderson … The Scientific Basis of Integrative Medicine [an easy to understand book about the physiology of the body]
Howard Shifke … fightingparkinsonsdrugfree.com [an autobiographical website about recovery]
Janice Walton-Hadlock … pdrecovery.org [a website about recovery]
Shawn Achor … a video of Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, a book about how to create more happiness in your life.
Teal Swan … a video by Teal Swan, a spiritual catalyst who helps enable people to become well by increasing their vibrational frequency through happiness and changing erroneous beliefs.
Qigong video … A video about understanding Qigong
I am the proud and jubilant author of four books:
- The History Teacher
- The History Teacher 2.0
- The History Teacher: Adventure in Estonia
- The Christmas ChoiceThe Christmas Choice